I have been struggling to respond to the letter from Sara Sunstein in the last issue ("Mailbox," Feb. 25). Her comments that local companies such as Eel River Beef, Mad River Brewing and Cypress Grove Chevre should not grow beyond Humboldt County struck me as both naïve and shortsighted. Sunstein obviously has never been a business owner, especially in a small market such as this. Almost any company located here in Humboldt must bring some part of their product from outside the area, whether it is components or packaging. These are dollars that leave the area, never to return. Companies that sell products outside the county bring some of that money back into the county and help to keep our economy running.
Companies that do not grow eventually die, as expenses such as rent, insurance and components typically go up, and employees are usually unhappy when they do not get regular raises or cannot earn a living wage. Our area is rural and sparsely populated. So if the business is limited to selling only in Humboldt County, as Sunstein suggests, a company like Jessicurl or Fire & Light would quickly meet the available needs of the locals. Then, since there would be no new customers in the county, a company would be forced to cut payroll and eventually go out of business. A good recipe for disaster, in my opinion.
I feel very strongly that we should do our best to support our local businesses and especially those who have the ability to grow outside the county and thereby bring money and jobs into our little slice of heaven.
Mark Ritz, Kinetic Koffee, Arcata
Sweet Spot: Mark Ritz wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.