Saturday, June 9, 2012

Another Loss To Our Town

Our town has lost another business. For reasons unknown our old standby, Humpty's Restaurant, will be closing completely in about 2 weeks time.  Okay, it is a cheap chain restaurant. The food is substandard perhaps.  It "ain't one o' yer class joints".  BUT it was busy and right on the main highway through town.  A good breakfast was always available for a lot less money than elsewhere.  The staff was cheery and friendly. It was clean and well appointed.  

Our town council has not been commenting publicly about all these closures.  We have no idea what is going on in this town.  Why are the franchise retailers unable to sell their franchises to other buyers?  What do we not know about the reasons we are losing so many businesses in the past 8 months?  

Our little town used to be the main hub in the wheel between major cities.  People in the surrounding area who didn't want to drive 2 hours or more for retail shopping always came here....for decades it has been this way.  Now we are dying and not by small degrees.  It is happening so quickly. 

Tonight after church I went to for a hot chocolate with a couple of ladies who have access to a lot of information about the retail owners here and they are distraught by what is going on.  No one seems to be saying why they are leaving their businesses and leaving town.  It is so sad watching our town heading into extinction like the other smaller towns around us who also have died out after many years of relative prosperity.  

The trouble with any kind of provincial "boom" time, if that boom is only in specific sectors, such as oil or potash for example, is that it only has a positive effect on certain segments of the population and businesses.  Those outside the specific arena of boom are often left struggling, losing staff, losing customers. Smaller centres like ours are left in the dust as boom money goes to the larger cities. Our doctors have mostly all left our area to head for urban clinics.  Retailers who have been making good profits are being closed out in centres like ours by their parent companies in order to pour those monies into improving the larger city stores for the sake of those bringing the boom money there. We have watched it happening in Alberta more than once over the past 4 decades and now it is happening here. The writing is on the wall for our town I suspect. It makes me sad. 

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