Local Commentary

Editorial: Restaurant Week In the Little City

The City of Falls Church’s annual Restaurant Week is upon us again, as any even cursory look at this week’s edition of the News-Press will inform you.

It has been an up-and-down year for eateries in the Little City. Some have closed, even some fan favorites; others have done very well. Actually, that’s a relative term. Anyone who hasn’t folded has done well, we could say, knowing from our own small business experience that outward appearances don’t always tell the whole story.

For as many small businesses as there are here, of all kinds, the story seems to be more of struggle than not. Nothing in what’s happened to the banking business since the reforms following the Great Recession has made it any easier for struggling small businesses to get ahead of the curve. It’s still the case that the only people who can borrow money are those who don’t need it.

Unfortunately, whichever political party is in power doesn’t want any spotlights thrown on such conditions, because they want to maintain the too often false impression that small businesses are doing just fine. We don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, either, especially now that interest rates are starting back up again and the specter of protectionism is going to destabilize the markets soon.

Businesses themselves, of course, don’t want to give off any hint that they’re in trouble for fear it will drive away customers, and it often does. One restaurateur friend of ours lingered with us late one night all the time assuring us he was doing well. When we finally left, we came back the next day and he was gone for good. He didn’t let on one bit. It was a survival thing.

So, we’re not here to suggest that anyone in Falls Church is, or is not, doing well in their business. But our sources say that membership renewals in our local Chamber of Commerce are down, for whatever that may mean.

We’re just saying that it is important for Falls Church as a community — and we do feel that this is more of a community than most — that we don’t take anything for granted. It matters where money gets spent, especially when the choices are between a good local restaurant, for example, and some corporate chain outfit far beyond the city limits.

As always, a smile and a thumbs up can do wonders for a small businessman, providing the moral edge that keeps them in the game. It can be worth a lot of sacrifice if people feel their efforts are appreciated.

We’re all on this planet for a very short time. Why not take just a little extra step to boost the local businesses, including the restaurants, wherever you are?

Restaurant Week in Falls Church, the creation of News-Press Managing Editor Jody Fellows, offers all of us a special opportunity to spread the love where it matters the most: our home town.