Closings, part 2

Continuing from yesterday…

Doesn’t it strike you that there is something wrong with the fact that we learn that our favorite neighborhood restaurant or bookstore is closing only after it is too late to do anything about it? Shouldn’t we at least be given an option to do something about it?

After all, if a community is anything, it is at the very least a group of people willing to join together in support of a common cause. And what could be a greater common cause than a shared component of our quality of life?

We live in the age of Kickstarter, IndieGogo and Razoo, when it seems perfectly natural for large numbers of people to band together and contribute financially to something they believe in.

So why the expectation that our favorite shop, bistro or purveyor of rare music is expected to simply take it on the chin when their rent goes up? I would have eagerly contributed money to help Gobo through some financial bumps if only I’d been asked.

Of course this is no panacea. Sometimes a place has problems that nobody can help them with. There could be a systematic inability for the business in question to pull in sufficient monthly revenue to cover their expenses. Or the owners may simply not have the requisite skills to properly manage a business. In those situations crowdfunding won’t save them.

But what about the cases when it’s just about getting over a temporary rough patch in cash flow? About keeping the doors open and making payroll until tourist or holiday season? Shouldn’t we, as a community, be able to pitch in and help keep our favorite places afloat?

3 thoughts on “Closings, part 2”

  1. I doubt learning ahead of time would help. So often these closures are at the whims of the real estate market, and there’s nothing stopping it. I remember the heartbreak of hearing from the owner of a classic (and popular!) Italian restaurant in SF was closing. The building’s new owner cut a deal with Chipotle, and that was that.

    The most bizarre case I’ve heard of: We were surprised when the Discovery store at the local mall shut down. The store’s manager said it was quite profitable. Curious, my wife tracked down the owner of the mall and discovered he’d pulled the lease “because my kids have outgrown it” Never mind his “kids” lived at the other end of the state, 400+ miles away.

    This New Yorker story makes the point as well: The only reason the Argosy Bookshop is still in business is because they own the land and the building outright.

  2. I guess it is possible to occasionally change the outcome. Quoting from:

    “Due to the rise of chain bookstores and online shopping, Kepler’s closed its doors on August 31, 2005. The local community held demonstrations to protest the closing. Kepler’s subsequently re-opened in October 2005 with community investments, volunteers and donations.”

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