Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The only indie bookstore in Springfield closed down recently, throwing many people into another cycle of saying that downtown Springfield is dying. I wrote the following in the papers I edit:
The naysayers will be out in droves talking about downtown Springfield, wearing sackcloths, covering themselves in ashes and moaning now that two stores are leaving Tower Square and that that is an indication of how the downtown has slipped.
Let me ask you prophets of doom and gloom, vultures who enjoy the taste of carrion, how many times did you shop downtown? How often do you make the decision to patronize a locally owned business, instead of heading to a mall or big box store?
If we want local business to succeed then we actually have to patronize local businesses. That might take a bit of an effort, but isn't it worth it?
Instead of heading to that uber-mart to buy produce year-round, why don't you go to a farmers market, farm stand or a locally owned supermarket that features local goods? Why not go to a locally owned bookstore oops, too late for Springfield and buy there instead of going to a big box?
The retail environment can't be based solely on national chains. It's not good for us as consumers, as entrepreneurs or employees.
The closing of Edwards Books at Tower Square should be a wake-up call for all of us who actually want small local businesses to prosper.
Is the new vision of this country a third world debtor nation where we import all of our consumer goods from a dictatorship that keeps labor costs cheap? A country where corporate interests have squeezed out independents? A nation that no longer has the opportunities for personal advancement as it once did?
Hey who the hell cares? Right? Let's all find out what Britney is doing! And where in the frickin' world is Matt Lauer?! And what has Oprah just given her audience?!
It's bread and circus time, baby!