Progress in tough economic times

An Ely business owner looked out his front door, thought for a moment and said, “You must be having a tough time finding stories for your Progress Edition.”
You’ll find our yearly look at progress in this week’s Ely Echo. It’s far from our largest edition, in fact it might be one of the smallest. But we looked hard, knocked on doors, made phone calls and asked for businesses to let us know if they made improvements, added employees or changed ownership.
We put together 16 pages with stories and photos, not bad for a time when we could nearly write as many stories about businesses and jobs lost.
When you think about that, it makes those who are featured this year a bit more special.  It’s one thing to invest when times are good, it’s a lot tougher when times are tough.
We focus on the facts and don’t address the rumors. There’s plenty of coffee talk every year and this one is no different. We could see some major changes in Ely’s business district this year. When it becomes reality, you can bet you’ll read the details here.
It was 25 years ago that we ran a full page of businesses that had closed and the jobs that were lost.
Our RIP page helped trigger a downtown revitalization project where business owners on Sheridan Street dug into their pockets to help fund major street improvements. The owners then bet on the future.
It was progress then just as we have progress today, albeit at a smaller scale.
We salute all of the business owners in the area who open their doors, find a way to make payroll, provide jobs and pay their taxes to help make our community go.
We admit it was a bit tougher to find stories for our Progress Edition. But we also found business owners who have invested in this tough economy with an eye on a better future. That is progress.