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Street Smarts

All of us at one time or another have lamented a much-loved coffee house, bookshop, or longstanding mom-and-pop hardware store disappearing from view.

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Patrick Smith from Calhan is a nursing assistant and independent contractor

Is there a local, now-gone small business you sorely miss? I'm a gamer. I especially like the game Dungeons & Dragons, so I really miss [Compleat Games & Hobbies], the downtown gamer store that used to be next to Poor Richard's.

Name a common misconception about small businesses. You'll pay more by shopping there.

What makes a small business unique? You see what your money's doing. You feel like you're giving it to your community. Patronizing a big business or corporate chain, you're giving it to the corporation.

Molly Harris from downtown is the manager of a wine bar

Name a local small business you couldn't do without. The Mate Factor in Manitou. They're open late, they serve food that caters to my diet, and I like mate.

Is there another whose departure you mourn? The Chinook Bookstore. They had a great selection and a wonderful staff.

What is it about a small business that makes it unique? The staff has more leeway to interact with customers, and there's more interaction between the owner and employees.

Andrea Palos from the Old North End is a gift-buyer for a retail store

Is there a local small business you couldn't do without? Poor Richard's. It's a catch-all for anything I need, from gifts for friends to coffee in the morning.

Is there a now-departed local business you really miss? Chinook Bookstore. It was a wonderful meeting place with a warm environment and great selection.

Have you ever worked for a small business? I work at one now.

What's nice about it? The human interaction. You get to know regulars on a first-name basis. Plus, you have a chance to get your hands into all aspects of the business.

What's the downside? The pay. There are fewer monetary perks, but more social perks.

Identify a common misconception about small businesses. That they're less worldly and can't offer the variety of unique things that a larger chain can. Sometimes, it's the smaller business that has more connection to the truly unique and interesting.

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