Last summer we bought an old family cabin in northern Minnesota. We knew we had to rehab it. Last fall, we lined up all the contractors and got them lined up. It’s not a big job. The cabin is 625 sq ft. We ran electric to it last fall.
The cabin is near a really small town. Population 1100. When we ran electric, we also ran internet. This spring I called about getting the internet hooked up. I said, “What do I have to do?” They said, “You are on the schedule, and need to get on the list.” I asked, “How do I get on the list?”. “You are on the list.”, they responded.
That’s how small town America works.
A lot of people are unhappy with corporate America these days. I have to tell you, doing this rehab showed me the efficiency of corporate America. We wound up buying a pretty large order from Home Depot. Tatiana in Chicago at store 1920 really helped us out. She got everything together from their network of stores when their store didn’t have it in stock.
We dragged a U-Haul trailer up there. U-Haul experiences are highly dependent on the people who operate them. Don’t go to the U-Haul on Elston in Chicago. Nightmare. Do go to the one on Chicago Avenue. They are awesome.
When we needed to return stuff, the Duluth Home Depot took it back no problem. Home Depot was incredibly convenient for us to deal with. One stop shopping to get almost everything. One stop to return stuff we didn’t need. I also saved a ton of money.
Corporations like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and other big box chains get maligned for destroying the fabric of small towns. I don’t think they destroy small towns as much as they put small inefficient businesses in suburbs out of business. Amazon Prime delivers to our cabin too. There is some competition.
Peter Thiel correctly posited that you want to be involved with a company that goes from 0 to 1, and one that can totally dominate the business it does. Corporations do just that. There is more competition in businesses like Home Depot than there are in businesses like Google, Apple, and Tesla. I am okay with megacorporations as long as regulations and an environment exists that allow for intense competition. Businesses need to be able to startup, and enter and exit markets seamlessly.
People in small town America have to make hay when the sun shines. Right now, there is a lot of building going on in where our small town is. Our carpenter decided to make an economic decision and take another job. I understand why, although it leaves us in a tough spot. We are searching for a carpenter now-or praying for a lot of rain so people start looking for inside work.