I don't think anyone is blaming the closure of Real Foods on the protesters, especially not me. I do think the fact that they didn't finish the work they had planned and won't give the space out to other renters has been influenced by the fact that people got involved, started marches, opposed permits for renovations, etc. without considering what a huge anchor store like Real Foods could do to the neighborhood if they boarded up their doors for over 5 years. Why they are continuing to be stubborn and not even feign a reopening plan is beyond all of us.
It's definite that laying off their workers was brash and shouldn't be condoned but you have to take multiple things into consideration and the effect that store has had on the neighborhood by being closed instead of getting even a small iota of support to get them back in the store to hire *new* or rehire old employees and bring shoppers back to the neighborhood.
At this point there is no panacea to fix Noe Valley. The simple fact is that customers are just not there. The best anyone can do is consider the local businesses if they want to keep the few that are holding on for dear life in business and shop with them whenever they can. It would also be good to consider circumstances, if you oppose a liquor license permit for a new local business (La Boulange is local with several stores, does that make it a chain?) a license that was already held by the previous tenant in that location does that hold the possibility that La Boulange will give up and look elsewhere opening the door to another nail salon or possibly a real chain like Gap kids?
LibertyHiller also has a point, people do talk big about support and at times do not stand true to that. But I have seen that Noe Valley customers are our saving grace, they do come to our aid in real times of need. Their support has kept us in business all this time. We shouldn't be chastising our Noe Valley customers in a crisis like this, we should be asking for their help.
As a small independent business owner I am asking, begging you all to support us to the extent you can. By shopping locally or by simply considering possible outcomes when you protest.
There is also another aspect of all this to look at, supporting your local business comes full circle when we in turn donate to the local schools and churches in their parades and auctions. We are also the ones turned to on Halloween when the schools and parent come to our doors with trick or treaters galore. You trust us to be there and we have been. But it is hard to hand out several hundred dollars of free candy to those innocent faces when we close at $32 or our personal worst, $13 dollar days.
August 6, 2009
Comment: Support Local Businesses
Many strong opinions on the state/future of Noe Valley's retail/dining scene in the La Boulange comments. This one deserves its own post: