Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Community service or fur stores?

    I must have missed the rally where throngs of banner-waving Ketchum residents clamored for a new fur store in just the spot where Rich Allen’s F-Stop has resided for 31 years. And, I know I wasn’t present at the conversation where Rich’s landlord informed him that he was tripling the rent.
    “It will be great for the town, great for the business community,” the landlord might have said. “I know you’ve had a tough run these past few years, what with digital photography virtually eliminating film and printing, but just imagine what having two fur stores across the street from one another will do for us—oh, and you too, maybe. Besides, business is business. You understand. We all have to make a living, right?”
    Business is indeed business and if a landlord has a shot at a big profit, how can that possibly stack up against a struggling small-business owner whose store is an institution and has served the community for more than three decades? Or, for that matter, how does it stack up against the sense of community and continuity that people like Rich sustain? There’s always a choice isn’t there?
    But money’s money and, really, who wants to live in a town with only one fur store?
Jon Maksik


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