One of the many trials I have survived this semester is the establishment of my small start up business, which opened in August.  My business, like many other small businesses around the country, has been struggling to make ends meet in these early days.  Part of this is certainly the economy.  But what are the real driving forces here?

I turned to a couple of local businessmen for their opinion of today’s market.

Thomas Whited, one owner of Epic Adventures Comics and Collectibles, told me he went into business when his hobby became more than a hobby.  He sells action figures and other collectibles at Turkey Creek Public Market.  Before the market opened, he sold his merchandise online and at shows.  He works at the market on weekends for enjoyment and to make money for his family.

Whited says that to him, success is a loyal clientele base.

“Sales are steady and it increases ever week, and hopefully it will keep doing the same,” said Whited

Charles Atchley, one of the owners of Turkey Creek Public Market, said “Consumers are buying what they have to have,” when asked what people are buying in this economy. Atchley said shoppers will turn to local businesses for personal service. Atchley says that the local economy is about “on par with the rest of the United States.”

That being said, data on the failure rates of start up businesses is difficult to find.  The internet is clogged with speculation, opinion pieces, and old statistics that are no longer meaningful.  A Google search on the subject is dominated be optimistic blogs dismissing any number you may hear.  The only meaningful data I could find was decades old. posted an article about which states were the least conducive to new small businesses.  They even used percentages to express the amount of excess in failure over the national average.  But the article completely omits the national average itself, and links to no sources.

Tennessee is listed at number 4 in the nation’s most above average states in terms of small business failure.  The rate of start up business failure in Tennessee is 36% over whatever the national average is, and that percentage appears to be a secret kept close to the chest.  This is not a comforting number for small business owners, regardless of the national average.

I think these numbers should be more easily accessible, because this information is pretty important, and I’ve seen people site numbers that run anywhere between 30-90%.