Saturday, August 15, 2009
Write about Something That has Closed
I walked by this store today, The Original Ornament, and saw the sign. I thought of the many times over the last fifteen or so years I have stopped in for a tiny repair job--a new necklace clasp, a back for an earring, a new strand for beads.
Most of what I bought cost about $1.35 and one of the clerks--usually a tattooed alternative type--did the job for me. I'm not dexterous and can't fix little pieces of wire. Everybody in there was always patient and helpful.
I thought about the time I hired folks from the store for one of my daughter's birthday parties. Each girl got a handful of little silvery and black beads and a coil of wire. They made snaky bracelets.
The store provided work stations and wire cutters and lots and lots of beads.
Here goes another small independent shop with excellent service, I thought.
So many stores have come and gone from this quaint "mall," the first floor of a converted cotton mill--with wooden floors, vast ceilings, and brick walls. The Original Ornament has been a mainstay.
I walked up and down the interior hall, reading shop signs: "20 - 70% off" "40% off." Many of the shops had no customers.
For some reason, I decided to head back by The Original Ornament and take a few photos. I guess I was feeling a bit sentimental.
"Why? The man!" A woman walked by and stopped to read aloud the magic-markered words on the leasing sign, explaining why the place was closing.
"Casey didn't close because of the man" the woman said to me. "She made bad business decisions--doubling the space. She was doing just fine in the smaller space. She owes all her creditors, big time."
I shrugged. Why was this woman railing at me about it? I have no idea who Stacy is. The owner, I guessed.
"Listen hon," she said, "it's all about business decisions--and when you make bad ones, well. I love Stacy. Really, I do. She just owes everybody."
The woman shook her head. "It's all about bad business decisions."
I wanted to say to her: bad business decisions? What about the American auto industry? What about the Walmartization of America? Every one of these stores in this mall is hurting--and probably on the way out. Bad business decisions up and down the aisle? Is that what's happening to all these small shops that offer boutique brands and good service?
I don't think so.
Posted by Carol Henderson at 5:28 PM
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