I guess you did lose the bet, Tess. You owe me a beer in St. Louis. Though looking at that map, I should really buy you one for all the extra distance you're covering.
I did actually speak to someone on literal Main Street, in a little town called Princeton, West Virginia. A real nice lady, Gwen Ramey, who owns Sisters Coffee House. She's been there about eleven years, and says business has been pretty steady. But she says the local economy is tough. She's seen several small businesses around her close recently. But her business is debt-free and hanging in there.
I spent today in Pittsburgh, visiting small businesses in the Strip District and hanging out at the city's 250th birthday celebration at Point State Park, at the confluence of Pittsburgh's three rivers.These 18th century reenactors gave me an earful about the rising price of coachwhips. (Okay, not really.)
[See Alexander Heilner's slide show of people expressing their concerns about the economy.]
I did meet one young man who saw an interesting parallel between the financial rescue package Congress just approved and the post-9/11 airline bailout. Back then he worked for Northwest Airlines, and lost his job in spite of the aid. He wondered how much this $700 billion dollar rescue will really do for homeowners and the employees of these banks.
Now I've crossed the border into Youngstown, Ohio, where I'll be looking at how the switch to smaller cars may breathe new life into a former steel town.
Meet me in St. Louis?