Our waves matter. Water drips through stone.

I had this thought in the shower: We are all waves in a rising tide. What we accomplish on our own is significant, but it’s because we are part of the whole that we have impact. We don’t have to last forever to matter. We are part of something.

I believe in small business. I have to. What other point is there to trying? You could argue that big business has its place, but I find personal relationships, small town charm and an authentic sense of community absolutely essential to a future run by people rather than corporations. If we want our children to know independent business, we need to value it now.

Today, as I take the Boutique’s information off of my website, I’m super thinky. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that it’s okay if those small businesses I love, including a shop I created, don’t stick around for 50 years. It’s okay if they’re only here for a year or five, if they don’t stay in one spot, if they morph into something new, if they move far away or close down completely.

There’s no happily ever after where you’ve made it and that’s where you stay until the end of time. Life isn’t a straight line. It’s a constant change; a constant finding of where you’re happiest and where the world needs you to be the most. And people being happy matters. People being healthy matters. And sometimes you’re not in charge of what happens to you, and you have to roll with that punch and find a new way to get where you’re going.

I’m not encouraging folks to stop fighting the good fight. Tim Havens of Falls Farm & Garden told my Microenterprise Assistance Class: The first rule in business is — Stay in business! I think of that all the time. I think of the dedication that it takes to stay in business and have staying power. Of the times that Mark Frost has marveled that the Chronicle is chugging along, defying odds in the journalism industry, for example. It takes sacrifice, dedication and hard work, for certain. I see it in the businesses that survive long-term. I admire them. I want to be one of them. I’m in it for the long haul and can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

I believe in Glens Falls. I’ve had daydreams of moving elsewhere; to Florida where it’s sunny in February and people still need websites. But there’s something about here. I love the history, I love the community, I love the arts. I feel like I matter here. My believing in Glens Falls whether I have a retail store or not, and my working to further the successes of small businesses — it’s part of a good push; a wave that shapes things. Water that is stronger than stone. I have to believe that it matters.

I console myself in the thought that The Advokate Boutique mattered, even if it was only in that space for a year and has an uncertain future. It made a few bucks for artists and it was a cool assortment of things. It didn’t close for lack of success. It played a role. Bits of it are sure to resurface, if not the intact entity — and that’s yet to be seen.

While I’m incredibly sad to dismantle the Advokate Boutique and office at the Shirt Factory and it’s a major (MAJOR) hassle to move (Poor Cory!), I’m looking at downtown spaces, fixing back up the home office and enjoying the moment of uncertainty. I’m still in business making websites, doing PR, design work and marketing. I’m following the first rule of business and staying in business. And the Boutique mattered. It’s part of the story.

In a time of change, every direction is a possibility. And each of the roads stretching out ahead of me seem promising. And I know: My wave is part of a rising tide. We’re making positive change together, here.

Your heart is that water
Your art is that water
You are that water
Now flow

— Andrea Gibson

Kate Austin-Avon

Kate Austin-Avon is the owner and founder of Advokate, LLC. She lives in Glens Falls, New York, with her husband Cory (Vice President of Advokate!) and their three children.