What do Pros Ranch market and going back to the moon have in common? Hint #1: it’s about looking around to see what isn’t happening. We are not going to Juarez or the moon. Right now, both are out of reach. Hint #2: it is about opportunity. Hint #3: it’s about us.
Why do I care about another grocery store coming to town? And why is the media and everyone talking about the “Experience” of grocery shopping? The last time the media covered grocery shopping was when it encouraged men to hit the produce section to see what might develop over the bananas. Today for working Americans, the reality of grocery shopping is get in, get out and get home. That’s the “Experience”. Until Pros Ranch came to town.
Grocery shopping in Juarez was an experience. Not because of the bargains, but because it was fun. I have experienced in Juarez as well as in Asia and Europe, grocery shopping as a contact sport. The shopper is part of the team. People who work in the markets draw you into play immediately. Everyone is involved; they are growing, packaging, selling, or transporting food products. Everyone is part of the supply chain. Grandparents tend fish stalls while watching the grandchildren. There is constant activity, and acres of stalls. Each family has their place, their piece of the market place. Block after block of shoes, dresses, crafts, chile, jewelry and plastic. Young, old, rich, poor, male female, even the family dogs are there. There is growth. First we observed this growth at our Farmer’s Market. Then, the ‘Out of the box’ thinkers, the Provenzano family, saw what was and wasn’t happening in our region and opened the Pros Ranch market. It’s just what we needed, affirmation that smart, professional and opportunistic investment can succeed in Dona Ana County.
The benefits of going against the mainstream are not often discussed until after the success. Operating on the margins requires quick learners. They must focus, grow in increments, build their support systems and constantly look for opportunities. Make mistakes that are small, fix them quickly, and keep moving.
Our economy is recovering at the margins. The mainstream market place is being de-constructed because of its weaknesses. The big banks, the big industries, companies and organizations not able to operate on a smaller scale and take advantage changing consumer conditions will continue to contract.
New Mexico is not California, Texas, New York or Florida. We often operate at the margins. Senators Domenici and Bingaman worked most of their careers to help us capitalize on our strengths. White Sands Missile Range and Los Alamos National Laboratory created world class capability in New Mexico.
NASA White Sands Test Facility has operated successfully at the margins of the space industry since the Apollo program. They had to be efficient and focused. They prevented problems and what you didn’t see is the story of their success.
Now they have another role to play in growing the commercial space industry in our country. They are small, nimble and capable to support our emerging space industry. Our strengths in New Mexico enable us to succeed at operating at the margins, particularly in the space industry. Small contractors, suppliers who are members of the supply chain are critical to the success of the market we are developing here in New Mexico. The spaceport is like an airport because it will operate in the open market. We must have a strong competitive supply chain. Protecting the supply chain and consumers has been a part of our national manufacturing economy for years, and has enabled the automobile industry to recover quickly.
What’s this got to do with not going to the moon? Look around at what is not happening. National competitive advantage in the space industry is being ceded to China. The United States is the only country to carry humans to and from the moon. The space industry market place encompasses living and working off earth. China, for national security reasons, cannot send astronauts to the International Space Station. It has launched the Taintong-1 space lab and has publically stated it will ferry individuals to and from the moon by 2020. They are being forced to operate on the margins. Has our country ceded our national competitive advantage to the Chinese? In the short run, we might keep our friends close and our competitors closer. Small, nimble companies and space programs may outlast large government programs in the long run.