They are "the little engines that could", American small business owners. In fact they are the engines that drive the US economy and the source of the innovation and creativity that have made this country so great. However, their success comes only with tremendous sweat equity. A small business owner is, as the old saying goes, "chief cook and bottle washer," all while walking a financial tight rope without the financial safety net that so many large corporations enjoy. As we've learned over the past month, some corporations are deemed "too big to fail"; enter Uncle Sam. Small businesses don't have that back stop. This was brought home to me yesterday after reporting the story of a fire that destroyed a number of businesses in a Norwalk strip mall. One of those businesses is a Blimpees fast food restaurant. Over the years I've stopped in there to grab a quick lunch. I've always enjoyed my casual conversations with the owner. "Hello Rebecca, the usual?" He remembers I like a tuna and cheddar melt. He's a hard working man, who occassionally brings along his baby boy to follow "Daddy" behind the counter. His wife works there, too. This past summer he told me his store had been robbed. Thugs smashed through the glass door, ripping the cash register right off the counter. Replacing that register alone he told me would be a couple thousand bucks. But he soldiered on, rebuilding and repairing. Now, this week, the fire. From a distance it appears all is lost. And sure there's insurance but that doesn't cover lost time. Back to that tightrope sans net. I hope my friend is able to reopen his shop and that this is not the fatal blow in his pursuit of the American dream. That "little engine that could" powered through its trek; I hope he can too.