Bootleggers made money during the Great Depression, so who stands to make money now?

Profile picture of the author Corwinnx by Corwinnx Posted: 11/14/2008
I recently asked both of my grandmothers who lived through the Great Depression, "who was making money then?"

Their answer: BOOTLEGGERS.

Since it was prohibition, bootleggers, like any other black market trade, were one business that was making money even during the Great Depression.

Now, I'm not starting this thread to discuss 'illegal trade'

BUT

I beg the question, "What business model do YOU think will thrive in this economy we are in right now?"

Here are some of the ones I've come up with, let's see who can add what to the list...

#1. Thrift Stores
#2. Consignment Shops
#3. ANY type of "Rent To Own Business" from housing right down to furntiure and electronics.
#4. Credit Repair
#5. Education
#6. Business Training Opportunities
#7. Child Care Services.


Who has more ideas to add to the list.. and KEEP IT LEGAL.

Marcus
#bootleggers #depression #great #made #make #money #stands

  • Profile picture of the author Lee MacRae
    Lee MacRae
    I've seen newspaper and television reports on the fact bartering is becoming a big thing again right now. Some local organizations and even websites are putting people together to trade services or product. Go to the doctor...bring a chicken?
  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    Mike Hill
    I have 2 eggs but no chicken...

    Mike Hill
  • Profile picture of the author Writing Warrior
    Writing Warrior
    I think online retailers (who can offer lower prices) will continue to do well since everyone will be looking for cheaper prices.

    I'm not sure about child care services though. On the news the other night there was a story about how the child care providers in my area are suffering because more and more people are pulling their children out of daycare during these rough times.
  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    Dan C. Rinnert
    What about entertainment?

    On the one hand, it seems like that would be the first expense you'd cut out. But, it seems like there was a fair amount of fiction that came out of the 1930's. While unemployment reached a high of 25%, it seems there were still jobs to be found in entertainment. Illustrators drew comic strips, films were still being made--somebody had to be making money at these things.

    Maybe, even when you don't have a lot of money to spend, you still might save a bit for a comic, a book or a weekend movie--something to forget about your troubles for a little while.
  • Profile picture of the author Slippy
    Slippy
    "Illegal Trade"? how about 2 for 1!

    Reefer Poker Online Poker and Community - Got your weed smokers playing with money over card games.

    Haha, just kidding... But gambling has always been big during slow economic times, as has increased purchases of lottery tickets. So going after the gambling/poker market in a country where it is legal, is a green light for me.

    Cheers,
    Nick
  • Profile picture of the author Ken Strong
    Ken Strong
    Pretty much anything being sold to the wealthiest people will continue to do well.
  • Profile picture of the author EcoverGuru
    EcoverGuru
    Originally Posted by Lee MacRae View Post
    I've seen newspaper and television reports on the fact bartering is becoming a big thing again right now. Some local organizations and even websites are putting people together to trade services or product. Go to the doctor...bring a chicken?
    Yea...barter with food :p
    hey...we all need food, and you cant eat your blackberry or iphone ...so i think business in food for sure is the #1
  • Profile picture of the author Dixiebelle
    Dixiebelle
    I feel that the #1 flurishing business for at least the next 2 years, will be any type of training opportunities. I have noticed this past year, tv commercials offering training in every field imaginable - tech schools, colleges with eveing courses, etc.

    With so many companies closing or downsizing, people are losing jobs that they have had for many years, and they don't know how to do anything else. There are people who have been with the same company for 25-30 years, and nearing retirement, who are being laid off so that companies can save having to file for bankruptcy.

    Two businesses that always flurish during hard times is the liquor business and the funeral business. So sad, but it's true.

    Dixie
  • Profile picture of the author LindaC
    LindaC
    During hard times used auto parts businesses stay busy.
  • Profile picture of the author VegasVince
    VegasVince
    Originally Posted by Corwinnx View Post
    I recently asked both of my grandmothers who lived through the Great Depression, "who was making money then?"

    Their answer: BOOTLEGGERS.

    Since it was prohibition, bootleggers, like any other black market trade, were one business that was making money even during the Great Depression.

    Now, I'm not starting this thread to discuss 'illegal trade'

    BUT

    I beg the question, "What business model do YOU think will thrive in this economy we are in right now?"

    Here are some of the ones I've come up with, let's see who can add what to the list...

    #1. Thrift Stores
    #2. Consignment Shops
    #3. ANY type of "Rent To Own Business" from housing right down to furntiure and electronics.
    #4. Credit Repair
    #5. Education
    #6. Business Training Opportunities
    #7. Child Care Services.


    Who has more ideas to add to the list.. and KEEP IT LEGAL.

    Marcus

    The entire depression era "bootlegging era" has turned into a cliche.

    Unfortunately, many people continue to miss the point years later.

    People back then didn't buy booze cuz it was illegal...they bought booze cuz it was something they desperately wanted....legal or illegal...didn't matter.

    IT'S A LITTLE THEORY OF MINE THAT GOES LIKE THIS...SELL STUFF PEOPLE WANT. Cuz those "things" are recession proof.

    But instead...marketers like to watch the news...get slick..and try and out think the market. Why?

    Why not just keep selling what people keep buying...and have been buyin' since the beginning of time? Why fight that trend? Never understood that.

    Booze has...and will... sell in any era..including now. And today it's legal. Booze will sell in boom times and times of utter despair. Often at a higher price in the latter scenario.

    The only difference between today and back then...is the scarcity factor of the depression era...that allowed savvy guys like Joe Kennedy to jack up the price of his home made bottles of Ripple.

    That's called free enterprise. Joe and Capone took the risk...they adjusted their prices accordingly. Capiche.

    Every time the economy goes in the tank everyone comes up with this list of stuff they think people will buy simply cuz the economic climate sucks.

    Truth is...people will buy what they always buy.....whether the stock market is booming or bearing.

    Again..the 7 DEADLY SINS ARE RECESSION PROOF!

    Whether you'se people accept this or not...or whether you'se like it or not...here's the real deal from the streets....

    People will always buy booze...they will always find money to bet on the horse in the 5 th race....they will keep purchasing lotto tickets...and they will continue to buy the magazine with girls of questionable moral fiber inside the pages of same.

    History will easily validate my premise.

    I have learned long ago...it's always better to go with the trend...go with the flow...rather then trying to reinvent it.


    xxx Vegas Vince

    Legend.
  • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
    bgmacaw
    Just a little history note.

    Bootleggers made money during National Prohibition which lasted from 1920 until 1933. The Great Depression lasted roughly from 1929 until 1939 (or 1946 or 1948 by some measures). While there is some overlap, they really represent two different periods, the boom time of the 1920's and the depression of the 1930s. The Great Depression actually put considerable financial strain on organized crime syndicates, such as Al Capone's in Chicago. Many former bootleggers turned to other pursuits, such as robbery. The 'popular' criminals of the 1920's were the bootleggers, but in the 1930's they were the likes of John Dillinger and Bonny and Clyde.

    I think a better representation than the bootlegger would be "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou"'s John Goodman's Bible salesman/con-man character, Big Dan Teague:

    What kind of work you do, Big Dan?

    Sales, Mr McGill, sales! What do I sell? The truth, every blessed word of it. From Genesis down to Revelations. Yes, the word of God, which, let me say,there’s damn good money in during these times of woe and want. People want answers, and Big Dan sells the only book that’s got ‘em. And what do you do, you and your, uh, tongue-tied friend?

    We, uh…We’re adventurers, sir, pursuing an opportunity, but we’re open to others as well.

    I like you. I’m gonna propose you a proposition. You cover my bill for now, get your dinner wrapped picnic-style and we’ll retire to more private environs, where I’ll reveal how to make vast amounts of money in the service of God Almighty.
  • Profile picture of the author nicholasb
    nicholasb
    the movie industry,

    Even during the depression people still went to see movies to escape their lives for a few hours.
  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    SteveJohnson
    Originally Posted by Richard Odell View Post
    Credit repair agencies will be working overtime, as will the insolvency help companies. Debt collection firms will be in seventh heaven, as will the "repro men".
    I read a quote the other day (if it's important, I'll dig up where) from the owner of a debt collection agency that was asked about that very thing. He said (paraphrasing), "People think this should be a great time for us, but it isn't - we're struggling. We have to collect from people who have money or assets. When those dry up, so does our business. Believe it or not, our best business, like everyone else's, is in the boom times. More money out there, the more we can collect."
  • Profile picture of the author Corwinnx
    Corwinnx
    Some good answers in here.

    I had actually thought of bartering, but had forgotten to include it in the list.

    Agreed that people will always buy sex, drugs and rock and roll.

    I also agree that debt collection must be a difficult business to be in right now with people not having money or assets, but I know a repo man and it's boom time for him.

    Great answers everyone.
  • Profile picture of the author The Wanderer
    The Wanderer
    Anything to do with recycling. Vegetable gardening and rabbit and chicken raising. Anything that saves money.
  • Profile picture of the author Corwinnx
    Corwinnx
    Another thought I just had.. not sure if this would or could be a profitable business model... thoughts anyone?

    CO-OPS...

    Babysitting Co-ops
    Business Co-ops (Joint Ventures)
    Cooking Co-ops,

    etc, etc...

    Marcus
  • Profile picture of the author stacyfox
    stacyfox
    Interesting Statistic: 16 of the 30 Companies currently listed on the Dow Jones Industrial were started during recessions.

    Companies started during recessions include General Electric, Disney, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard.

    This is a great time to be starting a business!

    Stacy Fox
  • Profile picture of the author CIIC
    CIIC
    Ahem...

    Lemonade Stands.

  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    travlinguy
    Offer products that provide the simple pleasures.
    tobacco
    liqour
    fast food
    video, cards and board games

    If you anticipate shortages:
    batteries of all types
    memory for computers, cameras, etc.
    light bulbs
    toilet paper
    canned goods
    ammo

    As for info products, offer how-to products designed to help people save money:

    urban gardening
    raising rabbits, chickens, etc. for meat
    canning, juicing, etc.
    how to make or mend your own clothes, shoes, etc.
    wine and beer making
    pottery making
    auto, motorcycle and bike repair
    hydroponics
    delicious foods on a slim budget
    home remedies
    do it yourself pet grooming and care
    home repair
    how to make money during rough times info

    Use your own special skills or hobbies to come up with ideas...
  • Profile picture of the author Corwinnx
    Corwinnx
    travlinguy,
    Great answers. Thanks.

    -Marcus

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