Winter is a tough season in the Berkshires for local businesses. Many of the businesses on North Street in Pittsfield, MA rely on foot traffic and window shoppers for steady income. This past Saturday (04/05/2014), I walked around North Street trying to generate some business of my own by stopping into the local stores to offer my computer services. Unfortunately, it was a rather disappointing venture. There was a common refrain among the shoppe owners - that their businesses were barely surviving. As an up-and-comer to the local business scene, it was hard to listen to the majority of owners and managers tell me their hard-times story: unless they were just telling me this to get me out of their hair - but that's hard to believe since every story had that eerie similarity. It seems that even the main drag of Pittsfield, MA - the heart of the town - is not the ideal locale for a new business such as mine.
SkiyeLab is not particularly a retail business, although I do sell refurbished computers and other electronics. My business relies on the services I offer for income. I fix computers and other electronics as well as build websites, offer consulting for businesses and do networking for home or office businesses. It seems no matter which aspect of business you're in - retail, professional services or both - the town of Pittsfield, MA is a slow-going place for your business to exist; even on what is supposedly the busiest street in the city.
This saddens me greatly. It gives me little hope that my business has a chance in this town - before it has even really started to get off the ground per-se. But, this also inspires me to make my business more unique. If what I offer is like no other place around, that would maybe be enough to bring enough clientele through the doors to not only keep my business afloat, but for it to potentially thrive in a town where most of these other businesses are failing.
Maybe no matter what I do, the business will fail though. Maybe it is the local economy? Maybe it is because the local per-capita income is roughly only $20k/year and that over 15% of the families live below poverty? I don't know for sure of course: this is purely speculation. But I do know what 99% of the business owners I spoke with yesterday told me - and that is "business is tough, especially this time of year."
Anyway, if you do happen to need computer or electronics services and you reside in the Berkshires, you can count on SkiyeLab.