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Making a difference - together

Community editorial panel with Leslie Childs

The world is changing

Seems like I am always saying that as I grow older. Is it just that I have time now to think, or are we really in the midst of a major economic paradigm shift?  Lately, I have come to believe the latter and …Rupert Murdoch, the hugely wealthy Australian media mogul, agrees with me.

In fact he says, “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.” Translated this means that small enterprises that focus on a specific niche, are well positioned to react quickly to economic change and, thus, succeed.  The big cumbersome “big box” operations just can’t react fast enough and as we have seen, they fade away quickly, just like Sears, Toys R’Us, Zellers, Blockbuster, Kodak, Enron.

Murdoch’s words rang true when I read them and here’s where my thoughts took me next. 

If the small and quick now have the economic advantage, how can we, in little Amherst, climb on the bandwagon, get ahead of the trends and so position ourselves into the small, quick world ahead?

Despite the determination of many political leaders to buy into the “bigger is better”, “economies of scale” and “one size fits all” approaches thrust on us recently in education, health care and more, I am starting to see evidence that suggests the pendulum may be swinging back toward platforms that target individuals and niche markets. That’s good news for people like us and communities like Amherst, but we have to grab the opportunity and make it work for us.

In fact, I think it may already be happening here.  Look around downtown. How many new businesses can you count? How many are housed in wonderful heritage buildings, providing them with an atmosphere of comfort, trust, and quality.

Right off the top of my head I can name at least 20 (depending on how you count) new or relatively new businesses in town, many of them in the core area.  Young Amherstonians are putting their hearts and dollars on the line as they take that first step into the world of commerce.  Where do you want to have a coffee meeting or eat a deliciously different lunch?  For me, the answer is clear.  I want people and places that know my name and remember my preferences.

If this your kind of community then it’s important that we support our local entrepreneurs, buy their products and services, and actively encourage others to do the same.

Together we can make a difference.

Did you know - just how special we are?

The Tantramar Marshes were likely first seen by Europeans almost 500 years ago, not even 30 years after Columbus first sighted land in the Caribbean?

A Portuguese ship owner and explorer, Joao Alvares Fagundes (1460-1522), first saw the Bay of Fundy in 1520 and early the next year on March 13, 1521, the Portuguese king gave him the sole right to develop and trade in north eastern North America. Right after that, the shores of Newfoundland, Cape Breton and the Bay of Fundy began to appear on European maps. That gives our area one of the longest histories of European contact in the Western Hemisphere.

Yet, most people, locals and tourists alike, don’t realize just how special Chignecto is.

It was almost 100 years later in 1604, that Champlain made his first expedition into the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy. As a cartographer he was interested in everything he saw and his observations made their way into maps soon after this date.  On a beach near what is now Advocate area, they found an old wooden cross covered with moss. Speculation is that it was left their by Fagundes almost 100 years earlier.

Leslie Childs is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.

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