Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.
They are often overshadowed by larger corporations which enjoy stronger brand recognition but, when it comes to regional economies like ours, small businesses remain the economic base.
They are often family-owned and run by honest toilers who work long hours and pride themselves on the goods and services they offer. They are our neighbours, friends and are often heavily involved in the community.
Ideally everyone willing to put their heart and soul and a large chunk of their capital into a venture would be rewarded for their efforts but it doesn't always work out like that. Profit margins are often tight, especially for small businesses, and any changes in the market can have a big impact.
As reported today, a Tauranga Mad Butcher franchisee has called it quits after years of tough trading.
Wayne and Nita Kelsall's decision to liquidate had been caused by a combination of rising meat prices and aggressive pricing competition from supermarkets.
Tauranga Mad Butcher was situated near a Countdown and a Pak'nSave, while recent months have also seen the opening of a second Pak'nSave in Tauriko and a SuperValue in Pyes Pa, which had fragmented the market even further.
Perhaps it is a sign of the times.
We are now accustomed to getting our groceries from a one-stop shop. Increasingly convenience and price rather than service and quality are the main factors influencing our purchasing decisions.
Shopping is usually done on the way home from work or at the weekends -- a chore to be done in the shortest time possible.
However, it's important that we support local businesses - just as they support the local community in terms of employment and by providing much needed goods and services.