City vs Country, Part 2

Mouse killer

The Calvary has arrived. No mice sightings since this big black & white furry fellow leapt into our home & our hearts, to our rescue. The first night here, he nearly had a mouse. He’s a hungry hunter, just how we like it!

Other than furry rodent killers, I’ve been reflecting on some other attributes to Montrose & small Western towns. The business community in Montrose is unlike any other I’ve come across. People openly stab one another in the back, or try to undercut the competition in a ruthless way.  Just in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve met 2 business-owners who bought or opened a business, and the sellers turned around & re-opened a competitive shop nearby. In one case, it’s literally next door!

In my own dealings, I’ve experienced someone actively try to position themselves (verbally or physically) in between myself & a potential client. I’ve also experienced terrible networking in the sense that I know that word. Business-owners, even in the holistic community, seem to be so desperate & hungry for clients that they aren’t willing to help out other businesses with referrals. The “what goes around comes around” adage seems to be lost in Montrose. There is a Rotary Club, but I haven’t checked it out yet to know how strong it is.

That being said, there have been several people who have tried to help me out. Sadly, they seem to be fewer than the others out for themselves.

One friend suggested several reasons for this: 1) people often came to Montrose to escape the big city pressures of constantly having people “sell” them on something. Building a client base is likely harder than most places for this reason, and sole proprietors are more desperate than ever. 2) People don’t trust you if they don’t know you. In my case, people are still wondering if I’m going to stick around or flitter off to another place again. 3) Certain long-term businesses have their “clique” of cliental, and hold the attitude, if you don’t like their service feel free to drive to Grand Junction, “so there”.

Many of my efforts to get my name out there have been thwarted because of the points just mentioned. It’s been much tougher to get my yoga & reiki efforts going than I expected. Just trying to introduce myself & offer information to people has been misinterpreted & misunderstood. It’s a ridiculously fine line to walk. Somehow, I keep stubbing my toe on this line.

Since I don’t have school-age children, it’s been difficult to get to know people around town. There aren’t many avenues to meet folks. Slowly but surely I’m making friends with other climbers & outdoorsy people. Most of them don’t have disposable incomes for my services.

So, building my business has been slow.  I’m also keenly aware of the competitive attitudes gunning for dollars in Montrose. This is even true, sadly, in the yoga community here! The thought has crossed my mind again & again that maybe I should try to get a contract position where I can work from home, and just avoid the entire business community altogether. There’s simply too much back-stabbing for my tastes.

As hardcore as the corporate business community was, somehow there seemed to be a sense of values and trust built up that could be relied upon. At least, that’s what I was able to build with my customers and partners. What I’ve experienced in the Montrose business community is unlike any other business dealings I’ve known, even in the big cities and the corporate world. I experienced a touch if it back in Chicago, but somehow because there was more population, I was simply able to avoid the studios that were lousy, and work in the studios that were good. There’s not the same amount of studios or population in Montrose, so that philosophy won’t work!

Fit with my mouse-killer machine, I plod along. I try to keep a positive attitude to all I meet, enjoy the outdoors, and let the chips fall where they may. I’m putting less effort into ads & fliers, and more into word-of-mouth. Luckily, I’m well-received in the town next door, Ridgway, and things are picking up for me there.

Don’t let the “charm” of small towns fool you. Sometimes, running a business can be difficult if you are an “outsider” looking for a slower pace of life. Really spend some time in that small town before considering jumping in with both feet. Had I known about Montrose’ business community before I moved here, I may have had second thoughts about staying. That’s not to say it’s all doom & gloom, it’s just much different than I anticipated resulting in building a thriving practice taking much more time than anticipated. So, I’ll have to keep monitoring progress, and see how things unfold.

Best wishes for wherever you land, big city or small town!


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2 Responses to City vs Country, Part 2

  1. Tom Coates says:

    Reminds me of the movie, Arachnophobia, where the new doctor comes to town and the old doctor decides not to retire and front-stabs the new doctor. The nice neighbor lady, becomes the new doctor’s patient and throws a get to know the new doctor party. Then of course, the nice lady gets bitten by a spider and the old doc accuses the new doc of being a loser.

    Moral of the story: Don’t mess with Giant Spiders. Good luck with your mouser! Looks just like my cat, Princess, I had when I was a kid. Don’t let the name fool you. She didn’t mess around with mice. Never brought them around for us to see. Just chomp the head and then the rest. She would bring gophers to the back door to show off. What’s the cat’s name?

    • marissa says:

      Hey Thomas – thanks for checking in! I never saw Arachnophobia because…uhm, I actually have it. Yeah, I’m not afraid of most things, except spiders. It’s totally irrational, all the signs of a true phobia. Nowadays I usually use the vacuum, so it helps me to not get too close. I do smoosh spiders by hand with rolled up magazines or even paper towels (shudder!). But, it takes a lot of mojo or else pure desperation.

      But I appreciate the connection with the front-stabbing doctors! I can relate, sadly…

      The cat’s owner calls the cat Blackmale, but I’ve been calling him BB King, for Big Black King Mouser. Sadly, he has yet to kill a mouse. I’m getting suspicious that he sees this cat & dog free home/neighborhood as a retreat center. Most of the mice are in the downstairs, where my housemate lives, and he’s shy about her & going down there. He’s also shy about going outside. I’m hoping this will fade, and he’ll get more used to his surroundings. It’s barely been a week after all…

      I hope Princess can channel her head-chomping attitude to BB King! My housemate has caught 3 mice in the trap she sets in the air vent just in the last 24 hours. It’s a jungle out here in the country, I tell you!

      PS: Trust me – I will NEVER mess with giant spiders! You can be rest assured of that…I’d probably die of a heart attack from the sight of one!

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