Paul McClure has owned and operated a gas station in Ladoga for more than 50 years.

It sets in a residential neighborhood near the much larger Marathon station on S.R. 234.

McClure's gas station is marked by two gas pumps in front of the store. There is no sign to indicate the brick building behind the pumps contains a few snack items for sale.

If not for the regular stream of customers. You might think someone put the two gas pumps in front of their home as decorations.

But customers bypass modern convenience stores that sell everything from oil to pizza to buy their gas from Paul McClure.

"They come from Roachdale and all over," Paul said.

McClure's gas station was in business for years before he bought it, though few people may remember the previous owner.

We recently celebrated Small Business Saturday in the United States and business doesn't get much smaller than a two-pump gas station operated by the owner.

American Express started Small Business Saturday, an annual event each year, following Black Friday to encourage the maddening crowds to remember to shop small, not only at the Big Box stores like Wally World.

If American Express thinks small business is important you know it's because small business is big business for them and their card holders.

Small Business Saturday was also commemorated by Downtown Party Night in Crawfordsville.

Were you there? If not, you missed a great party with hundreds of people lining Main and Washington streets.

Linda and I have been planning a Saturday trip to Nashville between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We will probably still go but, really, Nashville has nothing to offer that you can't find in downtown Crawfordsville. In fact we have more.

We have the Christmas lights, the decorated windows, the antiques, the handmade items, the jewelry, ladies' clothing and items to decorate your home for the holidays ... I could go on and on.

After eating dinner downtown we spent more an hour walking from store-to-store to see what treasures we could find. We bought a few things and I know Linda has her eye on more that I will undoubtedly be asked to pick up between now and Christmas.

Everyone talks about the Good Old Days but my father-in-law is right -- these are the good old days.

Our homes are much cozier, our cars are more reliable and our neighbors are just as nice as they always were.

Oh sure, there is the drug problem and unemployment is too high, but someday we might find a way to convince people to stop killing themselves with drugs and more people are finding work according to Indiana Workforce Development

If there is less affluence today than a decade ago, maybe we should help one another by remembering to shop small this Christmas. Our locally owned and operated businesses need our dollars every bit as much as the big box stores.

Frank Phillips is a retail advertising account representative for The Paper and has spent 18 years watching and reporting local events in Montgomery County and Central Indiana.