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Tired of the waiting game

No store in Greenfield for the holidays

The holidays are rapidly approaching and I’m going to ask that age-old question: Where is our discount department store?

In case you don’t think I pay attention, I’m fully aware the judge still has it on her desk. I believe that she made her decision on week two but knows coming out early will just set off an appeal claiming there would be no way she could have digested it fully. What’s to digest? We want a store and still don’t have one. All the reams of paper could have left out the city name and the judge would instantly say “This must be Greenfield. They haven’t built yet?”

I’m not as upset with the judge and this very long process as I am with the abutters. Their point has been made and was very clear. For the life of me, I cannot understand why they truly believe that weren’t heard or had equal amount of time. For one, they should have spoken more for themselves instead of through a lawyer. Second, they should have continued to speak for themselves instead of through Al Norman. Third, when I add up all the time the abutters, the lawyer and Mr. Norman spoke, it’s not possible that this minority could or should hold the rest of the county hostage. One would think they would call it off and let the city move forward. Make your demands and compromise!

Now, what do we have left for the upcoming shopping season?

A downtown that is struggling, but gaining some strides to increased foot traffic. As its future brightens with events like Brick and Mortar, diverse restaurants and music at Cafe Arts Block, the Town Council pounces with a split-rate discussion that may leave businesses contemplating sticking around. Businesses could reduce their employee numbers to prepare for increased rent or direct tax increase. Perhaps they can increase the prices we pay. In either case, who wins?

We will definitely see an increase of UPS and FedEx trucks as ordering online is becoming second nature, especially to those who swore they would never give their charge card numbers over the Internet. I’m laughing just typing that!

I wish there was a way to track where our local traffic mostly ends up. Is it Northampton, Hadley, Holyoke, Keene or Hinsdale? I don’t want a breakdown of the stores, theaters and restaurants — that’s just adding insult to injury. With gas hovering back and forth close to $4, will people still make the trips? It’s drive, order online or gift cards. I hope we have ALL finally came to grips with the fact that people ARE most certainly shopping outside of Greenfield. Outside Franklin County to be more specific. To be fair, some people are still shopping locally as much as possible and are to be commended. Shopping out of the county or at a big box is not a slam to the local businesses. It’s a wallet issue and definitely nothing to judge each other on. I’m not talking people living in poverty, I’m talking about everyone. Freedom to shop does not mean people dislike where they live and/or work.

Is a big box still the answer for Greenfield? I guess most of you can stop reading and allow me to tell the 30 or 40 people still in denial. Let me help you:

∎  let them build, you don’t have to shop there;

∎  this will keep more people in the county, therefore more foot traffic for local stores/restaurants;

jobs!;

great resource for community donations — money and products;

another business paying taxes;

and have you ever noticed people buying vehicles out of the county? How about groceries? It’s a ripple effect.

I have to defend this city I love every time I have New Yorkers and Connecticut folks passing through to their second homes at Mount Snow and elsewhere. If I had a dollar for every time I have to explain there is no discount department store and have them look at me like I must be kidding, I could probably afford to work part time. I encourage them to shop at our mom-and-pop stores, Family Dollar, etc.

Last, but not least, if you are still standing by your argument regarding big box stores, why do I continue to see you shop at the chain stores and eat at the chain restaurants? I have no problems that you shop or eat at those places because they employ people, some have health insurance and most importantly, it is your money!

So, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. For every month we could have had a fully staffed store, there are people desperately wanting to work. It may be corporate but they hire locally! Am I blaming you? I guess I am.

Penny Ricketts is a Greenfield resident.

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