Economic Value

So you want a shoe store downtown. Not just any shoe store, but one that has a diverse inventory of flats, heels, casual, dress and let’s not forget seasonal shoes – all in your taste, size and your preferred price range.

The same things you would want in a shoe store is applicable to a healthy composition of your commercial district. Diversity increases viability as does complementary businesses within a district. There’s nothing wrong with having a wish list of boutiques that cater to your specific vision but beware you’re not shooting yourself in the foot from failure to value that not in your sights. The practical or frivolous shoes you wouldn’t dare purchase will most likely appeal to someone else.

It’s been a long time since we had a full (to capacity), eclectic and sustainable mix of business in Blissfield. Condemning select merchants or business types operating in our downtown are bullets called bias.

I cringed when I read Marcia Loader’s short-sighted attempt to promote The Hathaway House, mixed in with a little credit where credit was due for a few people who created successful recurring events in Blissfield…then she slammed the Antique and Consignment market, while providing another example why we need to fire our community leaders;

“It is puzzling when a merchant says “our customers/market aren’t local/Blissfield people” Then why are they in business here? The next time someone says that, we should print their name! Sure they want to attract visitors, but the people who live here should be Market Number One!”  

The article was printed in the Advance Wednesday August  4/2010.

I’ve just got to say – Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.

I have never read a news paper that injects so much personal opinion into their publication, including telling their readership how to vote. Let me show you my little list:

  1. Last I looked Marcia, there is no shortage of commercial property available for any other market number one businesses.
  2. I’m sure they thought Blissfield was their number one market at the onset, luckily they didn’t have to rely on local support.
  3. Any profound economic restructuring/revitalization effort is going to take business retention as seriously as goal number one. No marketer or economist would recommend or advocate driving existing business out.
  4. Most importantly, the ability to bring in consumers from outside your area is huge and extremely desirable, increasing new dollar circulation in our community.
  5. Outside consumers they bring in, also patronize other business in the area, contributing to those bottom lines.
  6. Every time someone visits your town is another opportunity to sell/advertise or lure interest for investment (doesn’t matter if its business, personal or pleasure).
  7. Used goods markets are typically the most recession proof in a retail environment.
  8. They’ve got to be doing something right…they’re still here.

What I have come to understand is the 90’s were particularly rough economically for Blissfield when the Antique dealers came to town, bought commercial property dirt cheap and set up shop. At the time, Blissfield appreciated the re-invention and willingly publicized itself as an antique haven destination for antique enthusiasts. The new-found commerce brought outside money into our community and helped fund Blissfield’s operational needs and wants. The dealers success, accompanied by effectively drawing from a wider target market may have prompted others to take a risk and jump into the entrepreneurial arena.

You might want to thank them profusely when you print their names!

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol

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8 Responses to Economic Value

  1. Another Resident says:

    I have read your comments Kay. Free rent to the Main Street Director is a nice
    gester. I think the benefits you will get from free rent will be more than what you would charge for rent. First of all look at all the foot traffic you will have in your store. Second of all all the free advertising the DDA will be doing for you. Every piece of paper will have 122 S. Lane St. on it. Also every event will probally have if you have any questions contact the promotion chair or Main St. director located at 122 S. Lane St. What a great deal for you. So this is where the tax dollars will come in. I personally think the Main St. director should be located at a building paid for or rented by the DDA at a nutural location and not in a business. Don’t get me wrong I think it is great you are opening up a business. I just don’t think a business should mix with politics. I wish you great success because downtown needs more businesses as it is starting to look like a ghost town.

    • Robin says:

      That’s a brilliant point, you also put in a very nice way. Leave it to me to be more succinct or blunt, it’s called getting into bed with government.

  2. keepitpositive says:

    That’s right, Robin. Someone else can get their put across in a nice way, but not that’s not what you’re known for. If there’s a way to put a sharp point on a stick, you’ll find it.

  3. Mary Ann Morrison says:

    Kudos again Robin for your astute observations concerning Ms. Loader’s Aug. 4th article!
    I missed the initial publication, as we were on vacation, but when the column was brought to my attention, I raised more than an eyebrow. I believe this is a partial or miss-quote from me to the Mainstreet delegation. I personally invited the group over to “The Place” since it was becoming very obvious that our ‘tour guides’ were not going to include any true antique/collectible shops on the itinerary. My husband and I had a wonderful conversation with the group and exchanged many positive ideas. During the course of the discussion, I commented that, “We love our local customers, but this business can’t survive without the out-of-town tourist base.”
    We do love our local clientele and know most of them by name. But in the last several weeks we have enjoyed serving customers from Texas, New York, Mississippi, California and even New Zealand. We routinely see regulars from Sylvania, Toledo, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Monroe, Jackson, Maumee, Perrysburg, Swanton, etc., etc., etc.
    Thanks Deb Royal for browsing our store recently. We only wish we could add the newspaper publisher, the rest of the DDA members, and city council to our local customer base.
    Mary Ann Morrison manager, “The Place”

    • Robin says:

      I’m glad you corralled the Main Street delegation for a visit to “The Place”. Thanks for bringing in and being the face of the Village for those visiting from outside our community, I appreciate the PR and advertising. I hope you get a few more local visitors too, better late than never.

  4. Logan says:

    A while back, we had a very hard working individual on the DDA that presented a well-researched study from several businesses in the downtown that verified the large number of out-of-town customers coming to Blissfield. I think that is a good thing, echoing the fact that more dollars brought into town the better. I don”t understand why Ms. Loader spoke like that is a bad thing. We love our local customers, but the local customer base is not large enough to support all the businesses we would like to be successful in town. Was the local clientele enough to keep the pet store or candle store in business? It appeared to a lot of the local businesses that the DDA ignored the above mentioned report. It appears that Ms.Loader is of the same mentality. While talking about the Hathaway House did she happen to ask how many of their customers are local? I wonder how many people that enjoy the dinner train are local people.

    By the way, Ms. Loader, we are here because we love what we do, we’re proud of our stores, we have invested thousands of dollars in our businesses, we support our schools, etc. with the thousands of dollars we pay in taxes, we have successful businesses as proven by the fact we’re still here,and we enjoy out-of-town customers as well as our local people. We are here, and we are staying here, despite of the lack of assistance or encouragement from our local newspaper, the DDA or our Village government.

    • Robin says:

      Ode to the Shopkeeper:

      I see your fight; for all those years prior to my showing up on the battleground. You have not only jumped the usual hurdles of taking the risk, achieving viability and turning a profit, building clientele and strengthening rapport but you also had the foresight to pace success ensuring survival through lean times, to only name a few.

      You have also overcome scores of unexpected abnormal adversity.

      I can only hope readers recognize the incredible fortitude you have demonstrated and the quality of character it projects.

      I am humbled by your strength and endurance.


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