PUTNAM POSTING: Is Your Welcome Mat Out?
Jennifer Maher | July 2020
I came across an article recently that noted a concerning statistic. According to the Morning Consult Economic Intelligence: Global Consumer Confidence study, as of June 1, 2020, New York’s consumer confidence index was at 82.5. A significant drop from its first quarter numbers, which were in the 112 range. While many agree that there is a significant correlation between lower consumer confidence and daily per capita COVID-19 cases, there are other obvious factors at play, such as joblessness and increased poverty.
During times of crisis, we need to go deeper to understand the less conspicuous reasons why consumer confidence is low. While these factors cannot be backed by empirical evidence, there are many anecdotal examples that can be attributed to why consumers may not be buying what you’re selling.
The divided political climate that has deepened in the past few months is, in my professional opinion, contributing to declining consumer confidence.
We have witnessed defacement of public properties, including homophobic and racist slurs. What do visitors to our county think of us when they see this? It doesn’t bode well for tourism nor for people looking to relocate here.
While I support freedom of speech in all forms, collectively, we must consider the impact of our words and actions upon others. We want people to join our community, buy our homes, visit our magnificent attractions and spend money in our county.
Everyone is entitled to express or display their political views, opinions and choices, but by the same token, we must respect other views, opinions and choices. If our goal is to reinvigorate our economy, we must put our welcome mat out. A community that is united through its local mom and pop shops and our various Main Street businesses has the power to give the right first impression.