This column was submitted to LebTown. Read our submission policy here.
The moment dirt moves on a site, the moment a business is sold to a new owner, Lebanon County changes in small ways. How we react to these changes says a lot about us as residents.
Lebanon County is the second fastest growing county in the state. We need goods, services, and housing to support this growth. Unfortunately, I see a common pattern, usually through social media but sometimes in the murmur of conversations. Someone notices a change in the landscape and the speculation and cynicism begins. “What’s going up? Why are they tearing that down? We don’t want change!”
When a company chooses Lebanon County to open their business, they are hoping Lebanon County will support their investment – their investment in our economy, our job base, our consumer demands, and our housing needs. If we don’t like the business or think it will be a personal benefit to us, we sometimes start the complaints and online bashing.
When a business changes ownership, some are quick to criticize the new management and new procedures – but we forget that these purchases often save a local business from closing. Business owners retire and want to know their legacy will be in good hands. What can we do to support these transitions?
New entrepreneurs are often scrutinized and criticized for minor bumps in the road as they work through their first days of business. Think twice before you share these mishaps on social media. Would it be more constructive to call them and share your thoughts? Before we tear them down, let’s look for ways to lift them up and showcase their strengths.
There is a time to let the old go. What worked 5, 10, or 50 years ago, may not work anymore and it becomes a burden – to financially maintain or in the space it consumes. We can keep the memories, isn’t that all we need?
Change may not be easy, but it can be good and necessary to any community. We need to learn when to question it and when to support it. It is important to remember that at some point in the history of our county your house, your place of business, the places you shop, were all part of the change and economic development required to meet the needs of our growing population.
If you want things to be better, to look better, to function better, let’s support those who see opportunity in Lebanon County. We should be grateful they believe in us.
Karen Groh is president & CEO of the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce.