Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Big Retail + Small Town=?

I must recommend a great book. Big-Box Swindle: The true cost of Mega-
Retailers and the fight for America's Independent Business by Stacey
Mitchell. Don't be put off by the long name of this short, quick read of a book.
The stories are inspiring and gut wrenching as Ms. Mitchell examines
what happens to local business when big box stores are allowed to move in.

Cut to our local scene... Notice the amazing amount of detail
and lease hold improvement going into the commercial property behind
the Wa-mu at the corner of Highway 9 and Santa Cruz Ave? Think all
that fluff is being added to attract the local mom and pop retailers
think again. I was told Bev MO was "contemplating" a spot here in LG.

All of this and a goldfish. The yearly St.Mary's County Fair is a
favorite of my kids. Anxious anticipation of the "barfing bears" (they
spin round n round till all the 8 year old...you get the idea..)
and the ring toss/win a goldfish. But both of these crowd pleasers
ended up as no shows this year. The bears were on hiatus, and the local
purveyor of the free, finned gift to the ring toss gamer also
gone! OMG, my 6 year old was so upset.. So I got the real scoop on
the fish from someone in the know. Apparently in years past, the
goldfish were donated from the local pet store Critter Corner.
St. Mary's Fair graciously accepted the donation of the ring toss
goldfish, and in turn the lucky winners of said fish headed back to
Critter Corner to purchase all the necessary swag for the new finned family member.
I will cut to the chase, local merchant is happy about making the donation, after
selling $30.00 worth of tank, fish food and pirate ship decoy-decor to
the lucky recipient, the local economy is better off, and the kids have a new hobby until
the fish expires (amazingly around the time of next years' fair) and
the circle starts all over again..the hitch this year with Critter Corner out of biz
Petco was approached for donation of the goldfish. Petco told the
St. Mary's Fair that it was against company policy to donate.

No ring toss means no local kids yanking their parents into the pet store to
plop down the thirty bucks for the new finned family member.
Funny how this micro-economic dilemma comes to bite our town in it's tony behind.

The next time another J Crew, BevMo, Jos E Banks Clothiers or Big-box
of the moment comes knocking on our door, you can almost be sure the
powers that be never won a goldfish from St. Mary's fair. Otherwise
they would realize just how unfair and uninterested corporate stores are
in supporting local organizations no matter what the donation amount.
Our town planners and council should take into account the local
economy of the ring-toss fish, and the ripple effect it has upon the much larger economic pond.

No comments: