August 30, 2014

OUR VIEW: Cut downtown business a little slack

The city and downtown merchants need to find some balance.
City officials recently asked two downtown merchants to remove items displayed on Main Street sidewalks saying the items make it difficult for pedestrians to pass.
We don’t doubt that occasionally the stores get out of hand – occasionally dragging large tables outside and displaying, for example, thousands of record albums.
However, we fail to see how businesses displaying one or two things is a cause for concern.
For a store like Swap-n-Shop and the antique store downtown, putting a few items on the sidewalk each day is a way to let customers know what’s available inside. It’s simply vital to those kinds of businesses.
Meanwhile, the life-size Superman statue, which used to grace the sidewalk in front of JW Games and Video, added a little bit of personality to downtown. We don’t believe it was an undue burden for pedestrians.
Frankly, we miss looking out our window and seeing him there.
All of the downtown businesses remove their wares from the sidewalks when they close up shop in the evening.
We also have concerns that city code enforcement is awfully selective. It would help if they kept a record of complaints, especially when the complaints are about local businesses.
For the last several years, there has been much talk about sidewalk signs and displays. To us it seems like much ado about nothing.
For a city in desperate need of the revenues provided by sales taxes and the growth provided by new businesses, it seems like a no-brainer to give the existing businesses a little bit of latitude to draw in customers.
After all, public right-of-ways are partially owned by the businesses themselves.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    I am one of the world’s worst of going to Marshall’s and dropping the dollars for “things” for my family members and they seem to carry so many items (most from China, Brazil, India, etc.) that are pleasant to my eye. However, I also practice many of the suggestions in the following article such as giving my kids a lawn care package either as a Christmas gift, Valentine’s present, etc. or other services which they appreciate so or a gift certificate to Lidia’s for a romantic night out, concert tickets, hotel package in downtown KC during Christmas time, etc., etc. I also always take very good care of my mailwoman, cleaning lady and my wonderful paper carrier at Christmas time and they truly seem to appreciate it. However, it is always good to keep our minds on our “needs” rather than our “wants” especially during this holiday season but should be practiced throughout the year so financial stability can be at the top of our priority list – keep in mind whether you can AFFORD what you are giving. But the greatest gift of all to me and the one that I enjoy most is that of GIVING (no matter how small or in what manner) and I want to do it while I am ALIVE.

    ******************************************************************************

    As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

    It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
    Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut (or their dogs hair cut). How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon, Barber, or Groomer.

    Gym membership or Spa? It’s appropriate for almost all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

    Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

    Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

    There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

    How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy? ( this just keeps getting better)

    Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day or a nice bouquet of flowers.

    My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

    OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

    How about going out to see a movie at your hometown theater. (Certainly not AMC which is owned by China now.)

    Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

    Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy,babysitter or dog groomer a nice BIG tip.

    You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
    Everybody loves homemade cookies and candies, might take a little extra time, but well worth it!!( Or look up Nonie’s Kitchen on FB) A gift certificate from the local grocery stores? Everybody shops for groceries! Or gas cards? We all need to fill up our cars!

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    The greatest gift government entities including the politicians and bureaucrats could give to me would be to STOP taking care of the thieves/special interests and govern for the average American citizen and STOP their lies, manipulation and conniving. I wonder if that will ever happen. My expectations are low that cronyism government will cease in the near future, especially when I see the billions of dollars being spent on the current election, etc………………..many people are going to have to get or reset their moral compasses in order for that to happen – THAT IS MY OPINION.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    You see so many business entities who would rather slit their wrists rather than pay taxes or their FULL TAXES and good ole Brownback and Romney and other worthless polticians, including our local ones, are right there to take care of their sorry rearends………….all citizens should fully realize what is causing that pain in their backs and their wallets………….

    http://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/blog/2012/11/corporate-caterers-hit-with-nearly.html?ana=e_du_pub&s=article_du&ed=2012-11-02

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