Small communities adjacent to large urban centres experience both the benefits of modern services and the pain of rapid social change. New means of self-support and the extension of family responsibilities result in the acquisition of urban skills and technical know-how. Small industries develop and residents accumulate some capital goods; but lack of corporate planning prevents their being used for the overall development of the village. Since the farmers eat what they grow, stocks for local stores are purchased outside the village and often at general retail prices. This forces prices up and keeps margins low. In addition, promotion and marketing is necessary to bring in additional businesses or to expand the existing ones. The financial and economic planning required to participate in more aspects of the larger urban economy is unrecognized despite the desire of local people to take part in such expansion.
Until recently, rural businesses have depended upon word-of-mouth advertising, captive audiences and community loyalty to maintain their market. However, greater mobility resulted in customers being diverted to stores in larger communities where attractive sales and broader selections are available. The increasing cost of fuel is now restricting travel and thus reinforcing the 'support your local enterprise' story. This means that local community businesses have the opportunity to revitalize. However, the necessary research, forecasting and management experience are often not available to take advantage of this situation. Although residents may express an interest in and a willingness to support additional services, such as a repair shop or laundromat, lack of hard market data often deters anyone from initiating such businesses. Stores often carry similar lines of merchandise, creating an oversupply of some goods and a shortage of others. Unless small town businesses find the opportunity to explore new marketing techniques, the potential local market and business from passing traffic will remain untapped.