Milestones: Something to Celebrate

There’s a reason why chambers of commerce, throughout their history, have taken a minute or two at their regular breakfast meetings to recognize their members celebrating important birthdays or key developments in their history.

And that reason is … milestones are certainly worth celebrating.

Indeed, as anyone in business will tell you — and they undoubtedly have — while launching a new venture is anything but easy, staying in business is much, much more difficult.

Especially when we’re talking about staying in business for 100 years or 50 or even 20. All one really needs for perspective is to think about all the businesses and nonprofits that cannot make such claims.
Staying in business for even a decade or two almost always requires perseverance, imagination, some daring, some sacrifice, the ability to look around the proverbial corner, and, yes, luck.

All of the above, and especially that last ingredient can and usually are required because there are myriad things that can keep a company or an institution from reaching some of the milestones being marked on the pages that follow.

Just a partial list includes a serious recession — or two, or three, or four; the lack of a ‘next generation’ to carry things on; developments that seem to come from nowhere — everything from digital photography to the automobile itself (yes, the car destroyed a good number of buggy-whip-manufacturing businesses in Westfield); from those red boxes dispensing videos in the supermarket or pharmacy, to the chain pharmacy itself.
Yes, staying in business is extremely difficult, and that’s why milestones are celebrated.

And while celebrating years and significant developments, companies use such occasions to reflect not only on what has happened, but what can happen moving forward. It is the same reason why the country is stopping to celebrate everything from the moon landing to Woodstock this year.

People are stopping not just to note that 50 years has gone by since those events, but to ponder how those developments have changed the landscape since.
And so it is with milestones being celebrated by companies in this region and on the pages that follow. These institutions are marking not just the passage of time, but how a company like Balise Motor Sales or a ground-breaking development like the Bay Path University Women’s Leadership Conference can change the landscape, literally and also figuratively.

And in many cases, as you’ll see, what allows companies and institutions to survive and thrive for years and decades is not only a willingness to adapt and the ability to adapt, but also a resolve to remain true to the mission and the principles that were there in the beginning.
So it is with BusinessWest magazine, which is celebrating its own milestone — 35 years since it was launched by John Gormally, a man who has become a serial entrepreneur.

There has been considerable change, but what hasn’t changed is the mission of providing comprehensive, reliable, sometimes entertaining business news.
The stories on the pages that follow have similar threads. Many things have changed over the years, but what’s really important is what hasn’t changed.
And that’s a big part of celebrating a milestone.