I have a deep interest in small towns. My parents grew up in a small town, I grew up in a small town and we currently live in a small town.
Much has been said about the decline of small town America. There is a sense that, like many things, small towns speak of a bygone era…a less-then-progressive environment…a place of limited opportunities and closed minded philosophies. Yet, for all of these negative views, small towns still remain as viable part of the landscape of Ohio (and our country).
So, what’s really going on here?
Here are the 9 trends, I’ve paraphrased with my perspectives, but please read her insights!
1. Strong farm commodity prices mean strong local economies.
We owe our existence to agriculture and that relationship will remain. As changes occur in the farm industry, so to will those changes occur in small towns.
2. Some places get “just one more” oil boom.
With the advancements in oil discovery and recovery, many places are rediscovering resources long felt expended.
3. Supporting the local economy takes more than “Shop Local.”
Bank local, invest local, save local.
4. Self-employment continues to rise.
What a perfect environment to try something risky. Small towns allow for start ups to occur with minimal risk.
5. Ruralsourcing brings more high-tech to rural areas.
New term? You bet, versus global outsourcing, some companies are looking to rural communities and resources to provide those services.
6. Government cuts hurt.
Arts, literature, tourism, things that commonly were supported by government subsidies now need to be revisited.
7. Online doesn’t mean in front of a computer.
Mobile web, smart phones, the iPad and other devices have allowed for more flexibility in exchanging data, ideas and resources. This is NOT tied to sitting at home.
8. Online reviews make everyone a local.
9. Rural broadband drives business development.
As the spread of web services across the heartland increases, so do opportunities to interact within a regional and global economy.
Let’s keep this conversation going….