Consumers control our economy

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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Nothing happens until someone buys something.

That was the motto for a national retailer where I once worked. Simply put, you can set the stage by buying inventory, hiring employees, turning on the lights, but all that is for naught if a customer does not come into the store to buy something. Once that purchase is made, those dollars can be re-invested to pay for the above-mentioned items.

In turn, manufacturers can produce more of the item requiring them to buy raw material or parts, hire employees, and pay other expenses. It requires transportation to deliver products. This process goes on and on up and down the line, creating jobs, providing for families. This is what we define as our “economy.”

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It is important that each of us understand this during our current challenge. That includes the governor and president. I have no intention of second guessing any decisions that were made in March. We, you and I needed to be hit with the proverbial two by four over the head to understand that this virus was not to be taken lightly. It easily could affect our lives or ones we love.

This was accomplished in March. After a couple of weeks of 24-hour, seven-day-a- week news stories of handwashing, social distancing, ventilators and deaths, most everyone got the message. That was the time that I believe we should have started to prepare of how we could re-ignite our economy.


Some of the businesses that make up the fabric of our communities won’t recover. Already we are starting to hear stories of businesses that will not be re-opening.

In Danville, Abe Kaplan Clothing announced they will go out of business. In Farmville, Ruby Tuesday has packed up, leaving their building empty. Each week that this continues, more and more businesses that make up the fabric of our communities will be lost.

Too frequently, those who do not have a good understanding of business, particularly small business, do not appreciate the relationship between business owners, employees, customers, and their community. Business owners do not want to put their employees and customers at risk. If they are smart enough to have a successful business, they are smart enough to not risk the well-being of the business family. Likewise, if word spreads that a business is not a safe place to spend your dollars, customers will take their dollars elsewhere to shop.

For these reasons, if businesses are informed of how to protect their employees and customers they should be allowed to have a plan as to how they can serve their community.

The decisions that Gov. Ralph Northam has made were made too long out. The reality is that schools needed to be closed, but did that decision to close schools for the year need to be made to keep them closed three months ahead? Couldn’t those closures be extended a couple of weeks at a time? Likewise, what is the logic in closing schools while leaving daycare open? Should we be less concerned by the welfare of younger brothers and sisters as we do their school-age siblings? Did this make things safer or less safe for children and seniors who may have had to provide care for their grandchildren?

This is not the only area where logic and consistency are lost by the governor’s stay-at-home rules. The definition of essential business is somewhat elastic. Our ABC stores with multiple customers coming and going are considered essential while a state park that allows one to get outside to breathe fresh air is not. Stores that carry a wide assortment of merchandise, including clothing, is considered essential while stores that specialize in clothing were not.


One must wonder, are we safer in communities where felons have been released from prison for their safety, where they may prey on innocents? Are our citizens who need surgeries that are deemed non-essential safer or at greater risk if they do not get the medical care at the proper time?


Wisely, the governor did delay municipal elections for two more weeks to May 19. He had wanted to extend until November, but that decision was over-ridden.

Continue to pray.

FRANK RUFF JR. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen., (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.