From Jim Stalker
If you will remember, in January of this year, I started what I thought was something people, especially my old customers, desired. Many told me they wished I had stayed in business. I had quit because the bottom sort of dropped out of book sales, insurance was too high, as well as taxes, and people just plain were not buying printed books from me.
Buying online, Kindles and Nooks, the big box stores, the malls, all of the above were killing me. It was time to retire.
I stayed retired for about a year and a half and started to look for a part-time job to compensate for tight retirement benefits. Forty years in the book business doesn’t qualify you for much. I was lucky enough to land a part-time, every-other-week position, as the directional supervisor at the compost site. It was a good position working for the city. Still, given to the part-time status, I decided I could start another bookstore.
The result thus far? Business has not been good, not even fair. My wife, Sandy, and I have decided, if business does not improve satisfactorily by January 2018, we will deem our second try as a failure and close shop.
I brought that background to your attention to illustrate to you and the entire community how difficult it has become to maintain the oldest business section. How long has it been since you have driven to the old downtown? There are many closed spaces. The people who are still in business are the real survivors. They have managed to stay open through the big box influx, Kmart and Wal-Mart, and the fringes movement.
Business trending has leaned toward online shopping. Convenience is the word today.
Living in a small town isn’t just about finding a house to live in. There are certain responsibilities that should go along with it. Keeping up the business community is a part of the big picture, not just a piece, but the entire business community. We need to remember our historical background as well as the newer trends. Our downtown is a prime example for old and new businesses just starting out. This is often their first step.
It is our responsibility to help them get a foothold.