Businesses to the Wayside

Store Closeout in San Francisco, California.

Store Closeout in San Francisco, California.

Small businesses fail daily for various reasons, from lack of knowledge and business experience to poor management, planning, and working capital. “Oh my, I’m a great cook; I’m going to open a restaurant.” While we applaud the entrepreneurial spirit, we have all seen what appear to be great business ideas that fail quickly.

However, over the years, there have also been numerous small and large businesses that operated for decades that also failed. These successful businesses were unsuccessful for other reasons, often surprising customers when they closed. Though some companies had the knowledge, experience, dedication, and working capital, other reasons caused their demise, such as poor management, lack of working capital; external shocks such as pandemics, financial crises, and technological, legal, or political changes; and a lack of long-lasting value. These are the stories of just a few.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, July 2023.

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