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Today's word on journalism

Friday, March 9, 2007

Cross-disciplinary advice for writers:

"Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end."

--Igor Stravinsky, composer (1882-1971)

Homegrown shops struggle -- and some die -- as Logan shops at the big boxes

By Christy Jensen

February 2, 2007 | LOGAN -- Matt Monson was intent on changing the way citizens of Cache Valley dressed and thought when he opened The Bombshell Exchange in Logan.

Logan residents did to him what they have done to other local stores -- kept shopping at Wal-Mart and other big box stores despite the low prices that the Bombshell Exchange offered to Cache Valley citizens.

"It was heart breaking," said Monson. "There is no reason to mince words, it was heart breaking. I had a lot of passion and myself put into that store. It was like losing a piece of myself to close up, but you have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em."

Local business owners in Logan are starting to worry that the city doesn't care what happens to their businesses.

Jess McWhinnie, owner of The Persian Peacock, said, "The city makes no effort to help the local downtown shops. They don't up keep the buildings; parking is a drag and the parking nazis who ticket people constantly don't make it any easier."

With Wal-Mart offering acres of parking stalls, it is easier for shoppers to go to Wal-Mart than to spend a little more time going to other businesses.

"People are really hypnotized by the big box stores," said Sweet Peas owner Patrice Surely. Surely opened Sweet Pease natural market in March 2006 and has struggled to stay open.

"I manage to make ends meet and that's good enough for me," said Surely.

Surely said, "People don't want to shop here because Wal-Mart and Smith's both have natural organic sections. People don't realize is that their organics aren't always the best quality. I can guarantee that my organic produce is much higher quality. I don't see how Wal-Mart can keep marketing their organics when they keep getting hit with organic violations. I don't shop at Wal-Mart because I don't want their crappy s---."

Sweet Peas and The Persian Peacock aren't the only places that feel the strain from the big boxes. Along with the Bombshell Exchange closing in December, Jenna's clothing store closed recently and the critically acclaimed Painted Table restaurant closed its doors after less than two years in Logan.

Nathan Burch owner of Beyond Piercing studio down town said, "People in Logan need to look to the person who can do the best job rather than the person who can give them everything at once. Biggest problem is that people are just lazy. They don't want to see some one who specializes in something; they want one stop shopping that is convenient."

Burch and McWhinnie have common thoughts on the decline of local businesses. "You don't piss upstream in the river that runs through your yard if you know it goes through your neighbor's yard that lives downstream," said McWhinnie in regards the attitudes of people not caring about what happens to local businesses

McWhinnie has felt pull against local businesses with stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot that have come in.

McWhinnie said, "I use to be able to walk to Ace hardware store to get lights for my store and the people there knew what they were talking about. You don't get that at Lowe's. People who own Local businesses know their stuff."

McWhinnie and Burch agree that you can't always find what you need locally, but using the local community to get what you need first and then shopping at big box stores helps the locals stay in business and helps the economy of Logan as well.


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