There was a time when there was a corner store that sold an assortment of candy treats and little toys for children. There was a time when dime stores were owned by the elderly gentlemen that lived on the corner of White St. and Main. There was a time when bookstores were full of literature and great history books. There was a time when the whole neighborhood was out trick-or-treating, and Widow Nichols knew each child by their first names. There was a time when a person could own a bookstore, a bakery or a toy store and they could make a living and in the doing, be a part of a community.
But in these days of big business and huge corporations, the small businessperson scratches out (hopefully!) a meager second income on their labors. "Owning" a business is generally a huge gamble unless it's connected to a well-established company- like the franchises that give us the illusion of autonomy. We work and work to keep ourselves going, putting the pennies we scratch together back into the pockets of our "toy" makers-- the automobile industry, the computer/electronic game corporations, the television/entertainment industry-- anything that keeps us from realizing that we no longer have as our goal "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" but are now in the pursuit of individual interests and having more. Not the same thing at all... but we seem to be too numb with me-ism to get that.