Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 18, 2012

Tim Preston: Support for small business, CAT recognition, great guitars, party central: 11/18/12

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — Last week was another wild one and I’m turning this column in late rather than early, still a little worn out from spending too much time on the road in a van to and from Music City. In other words, I’m scrambling through my email and so on trying to put something together in a hurry.

I know a lot of people will be out early to get good deals on Black Friday, and I want to encourage anyone in shopping mode to reserve a bit of energy (and money!) for an even more important retail “holiday” — Small Business Saturday. I’m a huge believer in the importance of small business and even more so when you’re talking about a local operation that runs solely on the horsepower of a lone owner, or a two- or three-person team. Small Business Saturday is the Saturday following Thanksgiving, and it would please me tremendously to hear people support the concept here at home. Ashland and surrounding areas have some truly outstanding and unique shops I’m certain will have great gifts and services unavailable through any “super center,” and in this economy I suspect some are just hanging on for dear life.

And, local small-business owners tend to be highly involved and supportive of the rest of the community.

“Small and independent business owners are among the most generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, schools and virtually every other form of community activity,” said Tom Underwood, president of the National Federation of Independent Business. “Shopping locally is a great way for people to help their friends and neighbors and create jobs and opportunities at home."

I know I have a couple of favorite local small businesses I hope to highlight between now and Christmas. Let me know about the small businesses you consider favorites and I’ll make a point to pass it along.

10 years and counting

The folks at Whayne Supply of Ashland deserve a round of applause for earning Caterpillar’s 5-Star Contamination Control rating for the 10th consecutive year.

“This branch was the first in North America, actually first in the world, to achieve CAT’s 5-Star rating,” reported Jane Maynard. “I am very proud of the men, and three women, who work at our branch. I believe they all should be recognized.”

The local company will celebrate the distinction with an in-house celebration Dec. 6, along with representatives of Caterpillar who will visit just for the occasion.

For more information about Whayne Supply, call (606) 928-3444 or look it up on the Internet.

New at 4 O’Clock Rock

I’m no great guitarist, but I have owned more than my fair share of the six-stringed instrument since I was first motivated to learn how to play after hearing my buddy Larry Penix play “Proud Mary” at Meade Memorial Elementary. Of all of the guitars I’ve owned, the ones with the Ibanez brand on the headstock have been among the most reliable, good looking and great sounding. In fact, my main guitar to this day is a hollow-body Ibanez “Artcore” model, and my collection will always be incomplete until I get an Ibanez PS-10 with a fractured-mirror finish.

So, you might imagine I was a touch excited to learn the guys at one of my favorite music stores, 4 O’Clock Rock, just received two dozen new Ibanez guitars and are awaiting even more to go on display this week. If you are a metal shredder or a total jazz player, they probably have something you’d like to be playing. The guys also have a shipment of new PRS guitars coming in this week.

The shop usually specializes in instruments and accessories geared for professional musicians, although the owner tells me they are now stocking up on “high-quality guitars for beginners,” in anticipation of strong demand in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

And, if you stop by to check out the new instruments, be sure to say “Hello” to the new guy behind the counter, Dave Jaquez, who advises “They call me Texas Dave because my last name is almost impossible to pronounce.”

For more information, visit 4oclockrock.com, stop by the store on Greenup Avenue in Ashland or call (606) 326-0097.

Party all the time

I have a whole stack of notes to follow up on about local businesses, although I did want to pass along at least a little information about a new business opening this week in Ironton.

I had two calls from people at M&M Inflatables stating the company will have a grand opening for a new “party center” in Ironton on Thursday. For more information, visit mandminflatables.com or call (740) 534-1796 or (800) 799-8992.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.