|from the staff|
|Celebrate Small Business
EVERYBODY'S GETTING IN
ON THE ACT
Greater Kansas City Chamber of Fireworks? We were thumbing through issues of Ingram's recently in the course of researching the Will Time Take the Farm feature about Longview Farm, when we stumbled across the ad you see on this page from the June 1997 issue of the magazine.
We had all but forgotten about it. Some kind of Freudian memory-block no doubt. But there it was: Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce President, Pete Levi, boosting a locally owned small business, us, Ingram's.
"We're proud to count Ingram's as one of our 3,000 member businesses in the Chamber," gushed Mr. Levi, and we were proud to be among them.
Less than two years later, as many of you know, (and some of you may be tired of hearing,) the Chamber swallowed its pride in Ingram's and launched a competitive business magazine that was a veritable clone, right down to the advertising rates and the attempt to replicate our subscriber base.
We had resolved to stop talking about this unhappy bit of mischief, but when we stumbled across the ad, and as we approach small business month, we thought it so rich in irony that we just had to share it.
We also thought it might prove a useful warning to the super small, seasonal businesses that we profile in this issue. If the Chamber volunteers to profile your business, be wary. What with business leaders being on vacation and all, summers get a little slow around the Chamber.
We could easily envision Chamber staffers running a seed store or managing a putt-putt golf course or maybe even getting into the fireworks business. Heck, that last industry has a real condensed sales season. It would leave the Chamber lots of time to promote your business when not actively swiping your customers.
Yes, we'll be happy to stop running editorials like this. We don't even ask that the Chamber cease publication. All we ask is that the Chamber execs say, "Hey, guys, we weren't thinking. We're sorry."
Even if not sorry about the ethics of it all, execs at Knight-Ridder might be sorry about the boatload of cash The Star has lost on this venture. One would have to question why they continue to fund such failures, or why the Chamber board would align itself with a less than business-friendly partner like The Kansas City Star.
And, by the way, Pete Levi could have at least selected a better issue to boast about us other than the one recognizing the proposed Power & Light District on the cover. But maybe the Chamber's positioning to become a competitor began long before we heard about it from our former fellow members.
The Staff of Ingram's Magazine
Advocates for Business-Without the Usual Politics