John Street in Kilkenny City
It’s important to remember - amidst all the talk of attracting investment from company superpowers - that small medium enterprises remain the heartbeat of Kilkenny City and the many towns across the county.
The region’s indigenous traders must not be forgotten and should be supported too in their endeavours. These business are the lifeblood of any community and are central to the fabric of each micro-society across Kilkenny.
The owners of these independent stores are the volunteers in sports clubs, the school caretakers or are members of the Tidy Towns committee.
Their efforts, both in their work life and in their personal life, are essential to maintaining a vibrant city and county. The people behind the counters are known to you and they know your name or get to know your name.
They know what you order, they know your friends, your family or your lineage. They talk to you, ask you how the weekend went and this ritualistic interaction could be a bright part of an otherwise glum day for many people.
The local business owners know the cuts of meat you buy and the gift you got for your husband or wife for Christmas. Their services and their engagement is priceless and it is worth more than all the job announcements or marketing strategies and investment pitches in the world.
Of course, we need those too, we need ambition. But part of all those plans must be a determination to continue to aid and abet small and medium enterprises.
They must be factored in - they are too important to be forgotten.
The onus is on us too, the general public in Kilkenny, we must shop local and support family businesses whenever we can.
We must not be afraid to challenge change or question new enterprises or franchises in the hope of holding on to our unique identity or succumbing to change once all sides of the argument are heard.
These debates around the make-up of the county are important, it shows people care.
And that’s a wonderful thing for any community to be able to boast. In doing this, in caring about our town or city, we must also remember the immeasurable value of the existing local business and we must never forget it.