Great idea! Really! We can consolidate all the good independent stores who
built the business and hobby in the first place.
But first, Are we going to tear down 30 more acres of forest containing
perhaps a stream, or wetland of natives to build such a store? :-) Or can we
practice wise urban land use by making use of brown-feilds or already
existing properties? Better the developers pay for this than the community,
because letting the development community dictate urban planning is like
letting loggers dictate forest management, or placing Dracula in charge of a
I have had this whole sentiment for years. I ran a small custom aquarium
store for several years, and almost word for word say the same thing.
I will just add that since price seems to be the riving force here as to why
someone shops somewhere...... that buying on price is not everything....
cheaper is not always better, as the typical American consumer, through mass
marketing is duped into believing, with little bouncing ball smiley faces.
>From personal experience in hearing what customers of mine ended up saying -
Often as the big box stores lack service and knowledge there-after the sale,
one spends more money in the long run, by experiencing scenarios you
outlined above about getting frustrated in the hobby, quitting, etc.
The guy who wants to spend the least in the short haul, usually ends up
spending the most in the long haul. Sure, we all want to save some money....
BUT,-in-WHAT price, is the question no one is even thinking when they shop
at such places, so in the case of all this, many people seem to know the
price of everything, and the value of nothing.
For all of us native fish lovers out here we may want to consider this
before choosing to support only the huge guys vs. your independent
retailer. The big boxes are sprawling all over suburban areas further and
further out, so encroaching on our precious water sheds which are home to
the beloved natives. Parking lots + oil from parked cars + removal of
riparian zones + rain = dirty runoff to the nearest stream and a steady
decline in quality collecting areas.
I am not saying the big guys don't have a place in society, but they needn't
be on every corner-in-every crossroad saturating the retail market and
engaging in predatory pricing, until the rest of the stores close, to the
point we have a ghost town, but that big box building-in-the end of the
avenue becomes our only choice. Then, we all have to suit up in that little
apron with the bowtie, and greet people-in-the door, thinking to ourselves,
'Geee whiz! I used to be independent, and able to depend on me for a
Then these kinds of places, in many areas, often get major tax abatements-in-
the cost of the community, under the guise of creating jobs/taxes etc, yet
no one accounts for the jobs or revenue to the community which is lost when
the independents get driven out of business... or for that matter, the money
a community has to shell back out in the way of infrastructure. There are
some fantastic web sites that back this up with a slam-dunk.
Point is, that often this kind of big box store development sucks more out
of the community than brings in, and in the process, a community's
independence is undermined and pretty soon, looks like everyplace else...
choices become limited.
It reminds me of that part of the movie "Super-Size" me where that artist
was talking about how America has franchised itself out and when you drive
through places anymore, it looks like the continuous rolling repeated
background in the Flintstone's cartoon, when Fred was driving his cave car!
I think it was Kent State University who recently did a study around here,
in their urban studies department and found that on average, that for every
$1.00 that these kinds of places brought to the community, $1.25 went back
out to facilitate them. The number could be worse today. Anyway, this was a
great post and being a small business owner, really drove home with me.
That is all. I know many will think this has nothing to do with native fish,
but actually it has a lot to do with them, as dogmatic as I may sound! :-)
This and a host of other reasons is why I try and avoid supporting the
typical big box chains.
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