You've surely heard that Wall Street is a mess. If you don't live under a rock, you have also likely seen plenty of file video on TV of Best Buy stores and Home Depots and Bed, Bath and Blah Blah Blahs telling us how the horrible economy is affecting their bottom line.
Well forget Wall Street for a moment -- take a break from the big box store "woe-is-us" stories. What about the mom-and-pops? Like every other business in America, except apparently for Wal Mart, they have felt the effects of the economic slowdown, err, complete shutdown.
But there is a rebellion afoot.
At O'Doodles Toy Shop in Philadelphia's cozy Chestnut Hill neighborhood, they have made a very conscious decision to fight back the long arm of the bad economy. They're fighting back with good old American craftiness.
When a nearby convenience store shut its doors, O'Doodles bought a fridge and now sells gallons of milk and juice.
Their frequent shopper program usually rewards loyal customers with summertime store credit and sweet sales -- this year, they shuffled it around to make sure loyal customers have an incentive to come in NOW to buy their holiday toys.
Throw in the free gift wrapping and you have a local business that has found new ways to attract new customers -- inventive ways to keep regular customers shopping even when they are scared about their own financial futures.
For now, O'Doodles owner seems to think he can survive in this deep economic valley on his way back to the peak. Of course, it all depends how far off in the distance that peak is.
Unfortunately, every time Americans think we've hit our economic rock bottom, it seems the bottom drops out from under us once again.