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This week I have written about two area businesses for the local newspaper. What I noticed immediately was that employees of both institutions spoke about how good it was to work for their employers.

One was a family owned and controlled bank , First Citizens,which is now the largest family owned bank in the nation. The branch manager told me they have always been all about customer service and sound banking principals. In the days of easy mortgage money and 100% financing, her bank did not follow the trend because it wasn’t sound policy and it wasn’t in the best intersts of the customer.

This bank maintains branches in many small towns and communities and, at least locally, their employees are active in community events. Their facilities are well kept, attractive outside and within. There is definitely a pride of ownership and in doing the right thing.

The second business is a chain of independent living facilities owned by two men in a nearby town. I learned the owners of the Ridge Care facilities often know the residents by name. They visit regularly. Again the facility shows a pride of ownership, of good standards, and of doing the right thing.

Obviously larger corporations can also inspire employees and have a company policy of high standards and customer satisfaction. And small business is not good just because it is small. But I am lucky enough to live in a small community which has many excellent local businesses and within a few miles of a city which also has a large number of local entrepreneurs who are talented, creative and ethical. They are creating and filling niche markets and offering excellent customer service along the way.

I recently did a book reading in Scuppernong which is an independent bookstore with a wine bar and food servce on Elm St in Greensboro. It is owned by a friend and fellow writer who told us that jis venue is hosting 40 different events a month. Talk about being part of the community!

In the age of internet convenience, I believe it is more important than ever to support the local institutions who are doing a good job, supporting our communities and inspiring fierce loyalty in their employees.

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