Everywhere people from my hometown meet, online and face-to-face, they bemoan the demise of our downtown. They fume at the gall of big chains moving in and destroying our community and harangue each other to shop downtown.
If only the automotive plants hadn't pulled up stakes and left. If only the city did more to make the downtown attractive . . .
If only . . .
The reality is that the plants did pull up stakes and leave. The chain stores are here and they have no intention to leave. Remember how much these commercial endeavours are adding to our community in affordable goods, convenience, charitable donations, tax dollars and employment, especially now when we need it most.
I know the reasons I rarely shop downtown. I am a stickler for good customer service and that is a rare commodity in some of the stores I've visited. There are some VERY notable exceptions to this rule and those are the stores I continue to frequent. Limited store hours are another issue. I have a truck driver husband who is on the road 6 days a week. We like to make large purchasing decisions together. Hard to do downtown when the stores are all closed. Parking can be difficult especially in bad weather. Snow removal is another big issue . . . and I don't blame the city. The responsibility for clear sidewalks and curbs is directly on the store owner or manager.
What do I love about our downtown? There are some amazing stores downtown which do have good hours and excellent customer service. They are supportive of local charities and fundraisers. They show pride in their storefronts, with nice displays and clean sidewalks. They smile and greet you when you walk in the door. I'm not going to name them in this post (mostly because I also didn't name the "bad" guys)but you will see me doing reviews on them over the coming months. If you don't want to wait to read my opinion, why not go visit the stores yourself and tell me what you think of them.