Risk-takers deserve encouragement, support

Published 7:38 am Friday, July 17, 2009

By Staff
Despite a crushing recession and the economic fallout from it, it is heartening and inspiring to see some people opening new businesses or getting ready to open new businesses.
Doing so these days means taking a leap of faith, but in America it has always been some of those “leapers” who have found their way to economic prosperity. Opening a new business anytime is risky, but especially so for restaurants.
Take Jeff Hunnings, owner of The Mecca, as an example of someone willing to gamble during this lousy economy. He’s preparing to open a new restaurant in the former McQuay Building at the end of South Market Street and next to the Washington waterfront. He knows he’s taking a risk. But it’s a good bet the restaurant will succeed because Hunnings is a hard worker, one who is willing to do what it takes to succeed, including taking a risk.
Instead of talking development, he is developing. The new restaurant will add to the city’s tax base and generate sales-tax revenue for the city.
With the opening of La Bella Pizzeria on West Main Street in downtown Washington, Gary Tomasulo, president of the Historic Downtown Washington Merchants Association, also brings jobs, development and an expanded tax base to the city.
Tomasulo also is taking a risk, betting that area residents and visitors will find his Brooklyn-style pizzeria an appreciated and much-needed addition to the downtown food scene. For 30 months, he sweated in the hot months and shivered in the cold months as he almost single-handedly did the majority of the work needed to convert the building he owns into the pizzeria.
Later this month, Lone Leaf Gallery &Custom Framing, a new business plans to open its doors at the corner of Main and Market streets. A young couple, Meredith and Neil Loughlin, are preparing to begin an enterprise that includes an art gallery, framing, jewelry-making and other art-related services.
So, whether it’s pizza or Picasso, these risk-takers are putting their livelihoods on the line. They deserve a chance to succeed.
The community can help by encouraging them and supporting them.