Monday, August 18, 2014

The Invisible Independent

Today, a new emotion surfaced. One of the many, many layers of the grief/sadness/letting go process perhaps?

Someone came in the store and made a small purchase. He jokingly asked how long the store had been here since "he'd been coming here forever and never noticed it". I mumbled that it had been here for 35 years and then immediately wished I hadn't because then the questions started. Really? Had it always been RIGHT HERE in the same location? Or somewhere else? 35 years....was I sure? Yes. I'm sure.

But he couldn't give it up, and then proceeded to ask how long into the fall/winter months we remain open, and what the off season hours are, etc, etc. Finally I just blurted out look, we are closing in a few months so it doesn't matter, and of course, the next reaction was shock and awe. NO! This store couldn't be closing....why?? All I could do was point at him and shrug. If you can't see something that you don't want to see, what can I do? A chain store with a reassuringly familiar name - now that you'd notice, but the little mom and pops - well, they are not even registering on your radar.

Looking around he observed that many of the items were "different" and I agree; they are. That's because many of them are made in the USA, and some look different because they aren't imported from china. <<Eye roll>> from Mr Clueless, followed by "well that's nice but it's so durn expensive to buy American-made". Actually, I beg to differ; our prices are FAR better than the chain store competitor across the street so it's not really the cost of our products that killed us. It was the apathy towards small, "different" retailers, the ones that are original, unique and offer a non-bland experience. But you can't support what you're afraid of, what you tune out, what you can't SEE. And by labeling me and my shop as over-priced, he just reasoned away any possible thoughts of exploring something new.

#storeclosing #finalgoodbye #momandpopshops #bigboxgiants #independentretailer #struggling #locallyowned #thefinal 90 #afteralltheseyears #finallyclosing #endofanera #communityicon #beloved #local #shop #sayinggoodbye

1 comment:

  1. So true, Andrea, so true. People would come into our former location, one we'd been at since 1926, and exclaim that they had no idea we were there. And also true about changing peoples' perspective in regard to independent retail - we'll ALWAYS be more expensive, even when the exact opposite is true.