We are accustomed, after months of recession, to hearing every bit of positive economic news hedged by cautionary statements that allow for even more bad news. Unemployment claims dipped -- but it will take years to replace lost jobs. Housing prices show signs of recovery -- but thousands of homeowners still face foreclosure. Stock markets have risen more than 60 percent since last year's bottom -- but this bubble may burst.
Against this backdrop, there is some bright news in Cape Girardeau: In 2009, 168 businesses opened and 47 closed, reversing the trend of the previous two years when more businesses closed than opened.
The owners of these new businesses face a maze of factors that will have an impact on their success rate: higher minimum wages, ever-increasing government regulations, finding financial backing to sustain them until they are established enough to make a profit.
There is something to be said for these risk-takers who are finding innovative ways to create and fill new markets. As one owner of a startup business commented: "It's definitely not business as usual."
Keeping these businesses afloat will require a solid customer base. Supporting new businesses is one way of strengthening the community's economic base. Good luck to all these enterprising efforts.