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If the local business climate were a zombie apocalypse...

Anonymous • Jan 31, 2013 at 3:10 PM

The following is a quote from 2009's comedy-horror movie "Zombieland" between the two main male protagonists:

"Columbus: You know there's a place untouched by all this crap?

Tallahassee: Back east, yeah?

Columbus: Yeah. Yeah. You heard the same thing?

Tallahassee: Out west, we hear it's back east. Back east, they hear it's out west. It's all just nonsense..."

Fortunately for us there is no actual zombie outbreak currently going on, but yet is there not a sense of basic survival we are in every day? If not personally, as a business owner small or otherwise? We see the fallen around us, bodily husks or storefronts as this allegory compares. Or we see the animated remains of those supported by artificial means and recognize their unnatural state but perhaps feel sadness for them. Or even anger that while not living why is it that THEY can exist without a care in the world but I, a living survivor, must scrape and suffer just to get by every day.

Fans of survival horror entertainment can easily recognize these feelings as they manifest in the characters they read about or play in games. But they are very real and very visceral parts of our mentality and sentimentality.  Loss, hopelessness, "why even try?" all ring though our being like a clarion call. As a business owner I have had many sleepless nights of worry, tears, and fear for the future of myself and the very world (well, community, but again this is a comparison) I live in. The zombies pounding at the door.

But we are not zombies by nature, we are humans. Survivors. We must be made into zombies by default, not the other way around. Like all you may have heard, read about, played, or seen in a movie or on TV, you can't survive it alone. But not in the sense that there is that haven "out east" that can do it for you. We have to survive together. Usually in a group you see the roles fall into a few categories: the grizzled vet, the brash youth, the doting nurse, the average Joe, the overweight businessman. While of vastly different backgrounds they each strive to survive in the world of darkness around them, lending their wits and talents to the challenges that arise. What happens to the loner? Yeah, usually he's the one that gets (to keep it PG) "defeated."

Staying to the story we are weaving together, we as survivors can't just wait around for rescue. The government we all hope is around will just in time send in troops to quell the shuffling tides, and in some cases it does! But it is a leviathan, slow moving and momentous. Often the proverbial soldiers traipse through long after the last living human fled or turned. Then, perhaps as a loner, if you among thousands and thousands scraped by you could be taken "out west." Would you rather be (we'll use Sandusky's population as an example) 1/26,000 or 10/10 as a dedicated group?

If you like the latter choice, we need to get busy walking ourselves. Fortunately for those who aspire to survive as a business, I've come back from scouting the next hill and have the first few goals for you:

1. There's a group of living that know a lot about "basic survival" as well as general info on the threats we'll face, undead or not. Some of them work for the government so may be able to call in help or supplies. It is called the Small Business Development Center. Additionally there is the Erie County Economic Development Corporation which has the RISE program. I can personally attest having seen these groups in action that they are worth the visit.

2. There are two main survivor support groups, in a way they are rather trustful mercenaries you can "hire" for your group to help get you out east or west. The first is the Erie County Chamber of Commerce. They'll help equip you and give you tools to stay alive. The next is the Sandusky Main Street Association, they will provide you scouting services and maps of the area you are in to make this go from a "Zombieland" to a "Livingland." I can't give you personal advice regarding either unit just yet as I have yet to join.

3. Find other survivors of the zombie outbreak! They are out there, somewhere, and like you want to get through another night. Band together, share your skills or resources if you have any to give or share. Nothing will beat face to face, but if you use Facebook or a website you absolutely must keep it updated and relevant because even then you will be fortunate to get one response to a post sent to 900 people! That last one is personal experience, I can say marketing is tough especially when you are trying to do everything else for your shop.

Please be sure, even if you are an established business, to explore these options! The more of us who participate, the stronger our group of survivors become.





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