I have been disturbed lately to hear about profitable, mom-and-pop businesses closing because there is no one willing to buy them. The circumstances that bother me the most have been businesses that served preppers and others who wish to be part of maintaining important, traditional skills, such as gun manufacturing and quilting.
I have done my share of prepping and know others who do and have, and I have seen thousands upon thousands of dollars spent on items that likely will never be used because they are supplies for a nationwide, grid-down scenario. Most emergencies — and I have been through a major one myself — are household or family financial, and relatively short-term. In my personal experience and that of others i know, these can be managed with a few well-chosen prepping resources and sufficient cash to cover deductibles or short-to-intermediate term job loss.
But what if committed peppers were to spend a larger portion of the dollars “invested” in material goods on starting private schools, or buying profitable local businesses from retirees? What would the benefits be to you, your family and your community? It’s not the typical approach to prepping, but have you done the math? How much have you spent in the last few years on preps? Hundreds? Thousands? How much have you used? And what is happening with what you purchased 5 or 10 years ago? How much have you had to destroy because it is no longer fit to use? In fact, when the last time you inventoried your preps?
I am not saying “don’t prep.” I’m saying, think longer term, and outside your own personal warehousing. For example, private schools using the Charlotte Mason methods and philosophies — which are, in my view, the most prepper friendly of all those currently available — are growing rapidly in number around the U.S. and globally. (You can learn more at everythingcharlottemason.com ) Organizations such as Ambleside International  have an established program for helping start a school. You need some cash and a couple other households to get started, but education is always a concern with those of us in the prepper community. However, you can see how the time and money spent to establish a private school that can run in all conditions creates a long term answer to this need.
So, too, looking for a business for sale that continues an important product or service (or both, in the case of a quilt shop). Consider whether you may have the skills to run it well yourself. What does it take? Well, a few thousand dollars, and knowledge. (The family at one of JWR’s favorite blogs, Paratus Familia , has done this with their successful butcher shop.) But preppers have always been hard workers, so, what’s the big deal? And, again, like the school, you are building something with some staying power that is a benefit to yourself and others in an emergency situation, and establishes you as a vital member of your community.
Here’s a demographic fact: old Boomers fell for the “zero population growth” rhetoric promoted by the mainstream media and churches in the 1960s and 1970s. This means there are not enough Gen Xers to fill the shoes left by retiring and dying Boomers. And, as we all know, Millennials, thanks to their debt loads and a lagging economy early in their adult lives, are behind the typical timeline for home ownership, let alone business ownership. This leaves empty storefronts, and areas lacking in services and products.
So if you are reading this, and have squirreled away a bunch of cash (or were planning to buy a $10,000 generator for “just in case”), then why not consider putting some of it to another good use. Keep what you need for the most common emergencies, then get to work on building something that — no matter what happens — has created a strong, prepper-friendly addition to your personal lives, to the next generation and to your community.