Li Qiang rolled out the dolly with the cartons of product and started restocking the shelves. He thought to himself about this special day. After ten years of work, he would make the final payment on the market to the former owner. With the market paid for, he could start saving for the education of his young children. At least one doctor or lawyer, he thought. The immigrant way, he would work hard. The success of family the reward. There were, however, concerning events on the horizon. Li tried not to think about them as he continued to stock the shelves. Li thought back to how he became owner of Mighty Midget Market.
The area was the only place Li could afford to live when he came to the USA. A backwater corner of the city, poor as dirt, the only scenery the freeway. He went for the first “Help Wanted” sign he found, a run down Seven-Eleven.
Chet the long-time owner was skeptical at first. Li didn’t speak much English, but he blurted out “Li Qiang means very strong in Chinese.” Des…


“Every building has its own soul with the entry on the backside” – Carl City Porter
Backsides of buildings are the most ignored and sometimes avoided parts of the city. The fronts are pretty faces. The backsides are the workings of the city. It is where trains leave, supplies come in, and the work done. They echo the sounds of the city, have its messages scrawled out, and a certain art of their own, only made with the patina of time. They are the backstage of life, but what makes it all possible. All they ask in return is POST NO BILLS…
David Young


“In a big place, you need to subtract things to make it interesting, in a small place you only have to add yourself.” – Richard Hugo, Poet
We had taken a risk traveling to this small town in the low country of South Carolina. But here we were at the elegant Victors behind a unique hotel. The table, with a view of the bar, was set to reveal a wonderful evening. 
I have been an urban dweller most of my life. My camera likes the vivid hustling landscapes of the city. Time and age though change your sense of things. More importantly, you learn to trust those senses more. Now I seek a deeper meaning to my experiences.
The South is about small cities and towns full of great people and deep history. It is there that you really begin to experience life in the South and maybe a different you.
The small towns are picturesque. Some though you want to take in your arms and fix, too many empty storefronts and years of neglect. The results of the huge economic swings and history legacies. Other sma…


To be a small business owner or single practitioner is to experience times of revenue drought or stagnation. Other times business opportunities seem to abound. They suddenly appear like a flock of starling. They delight and excite with an ever-changing pattern of swoops and rising together. Their brilliance seems there for the catching, but just as suddenly they can disappear over the horizon.  Entrepreneurs are always searching for opportunity. So how do you catch the elusive starling? How do you capture a true business opportunity? Large companies have entire departments devoted to evaluating and implementing new opportunities. As a small business owner, its all on your shoulders. The right opportunity can make your business. The wrong one can ruin it. There are excellent articles (see footnotes) on this subject. Here are some of their highlights together with my own experience from working with clients. Passion- The best opportunities are always the ones you have passion for. That …


“When Haywood Earl Whichard showed up at a mall, you knew it was about to fail” – Dan Bell
It seems malls fall into three categories these days, Wealthy Malls, Failing Malls and Failed Malls. 25% of existing malls are projected to fail by 2024. 
I’ve always been interested in failed malls. Maybe it is the ghosts of the life and promise once there. Maybe it is they are often apart from the city. Their empty lots a buffer, giving you time to reflect and wander with a camera. Maybe it’s the challenge of finding beauty and interest among the rubble. Whatever it is, I enjoy the adventure of finding and exploring these places. Some are dangerous and some seem cared for by unseen hands.

Failed malls have attracted an almost cult like host of characters. Porter Blackbird, Brian Florence and Jack Thomas created It lists all the failed malls by state together with their history. ABC News in 2018 did an article on another follower, Dan Bell. He created a series of YouTube videos de…


It was late afternoon aboard the AMTRAK Carolinian hurtling back from Washington DC to Charlotte. Sitting across from me two financial types, with white shirts and ties.  Their laptops humming away. You could almost imagine the figures being moved back and forth in budgets. The usual corporate business chat abounding. About halfway through the trip, their business efforts and ties gave way with a couple of beers. Talk now centered around the company, rumors and their positions. Each kidded the other about their roles in the company.
The guy next to the window said to the other, “Show me your business card, I want to look at your titles.” Both of them pulled out their cards and exchanged them. The window guy turned to the other and said, “CPA, Vice President. Very impressive.” The other guy said, “I see you’re an MBA, Vice President, what do all these other designations mean?” ”I can’t remember.” Both laughed. 
Then the aisle guy looked at the other’s business card again and said, “Yo…


Joe didn’t like cross country flights. Too much time to think, too much time to remember. The promises he once believed in. The long years in the trenches of business. His star rising in the early years with sales success and management positions. Only to fall back again with business downturns, changed ownership and the myriad of other things that happen in the life of a company man. 
It seemed like age happened overnight, the gains and unfolding of problems. You kept putting all the pieces back in order. Now there were just the large accounts he managed to keep through the years. Holding on to them kept you from the door out. He could go on for ever. It was simpler to rub his face with his hand in acceptance of it all. Besides he needed to rescue a client. One with business problems who owed money. 
He remembered many trips back East to NYC, Boston and DC adding major business for the firm. Now he headed for dirty Newark and the remains of this client.
The airport shuttle dropped h…