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Old 04-14-2020, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
6,384 posts, read 4,326,658 times
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My town is in a similar boat as this.

https://nyti.ms/2XxYeM3

Like those business owners they interviewed said, business owners I've talked to say they can last to the summer, with great difficulty, before it's all over. Longer than that and they're done.
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:17 PM
 
1,972 posts, read 503,478 times
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I lived in a small town for six years, involved throughout with the community, business and civic structure.

From that and all else I see, it comes down to one fact: small towns must evolve or die. Mayberry is gone. The idea of a self-sufficient, closed entity that can survive is gone. Clinging to tradition and sentiment is just advance mourning.

Small towns can survive. But not in the traditional model.
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
6,384 posts, read 4,326,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
I lived in a small town for six years, involved throughout with the community, business and civic structure.

From that and all else I see, it comes down to one fact: small towns must evolve or die. Mayberry is gone. The idea of a self-sufficient, closed entity that can survive is gone. Clinging to tradition and sentiment is just advance mourning.

Small towns can survive. But not in the traditional model.
There's no evolution that can adapt to everything being closed. If you read the article, you'd see that the town in question (Bristol, NH) did adapt and try to leverage what resources it had to the best of its ability. Mine has done the same thing. We have beautiful nature here, and so invested in tourism.

Now those resources have been rendered worthless, because all we do is sit at home.
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Old 04-14-2020, 05:54 PM
 
1,972 posts, read 503,478 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redguard57 View Post
There's no evolution that can adapt to everything being closed. If you read the article, you'd see that the town in question (Bristol, NH) did adapt and try to leverage what resources it had to the best of its ability. Mine has done the same thing. We have beautiful nature here, and so invested in tourism.

Now those resources have been rendered worthless, because all we do is sit at home.
The current situation is absolutely sui generis. There's little point in trying to make comparisons to any other short- or long-term example, because this is not a town idled because the mill shut down... it's everywhere.

My experience wasn't far away, a town in eastern Connecticut somewhat larger than Bristol in population but a... much smaller town in economic terms. In my time there, I watched business after business close and fail because they stubbornly clung to the notion that all they had to do was rent a building, hang out a discreet sign and quietly wait for all the town's business to come to them.

This was just a few years ago, not decades back. The mindset that if you open, say, a pet food store everyone in the town will buy their pet food there might have worked twenty years ago, certainly fifty. Towns looked to and after themselves. That stopped being the case in this millennium. People will go any damn place they like for their Iams, including twenty miles into the bigger city with its box stores and Petco. But I could not convince a one of them that they needed to do business on a broader model, one that did not stubbornly assume that "because they were good merchants, people would come to them" when they did so little advertising that half the town didn't even know they were there. That was... rude. And a waste of money. And wouldn't work anyway.

Just one small facet, but it's indicative of how small towns need to evolve to be a part of the world around them instead of insisting that their town line encompass everything, in separation and sufficiency. Connecticut has something like 168 towns... probably 100 of which are not really big enough to sustain their own town council, school, fire department and police. But most of them struggle to keep doing so; the smarter ones form union school districts and pay for state police coverage. But that's a minority.

Small towns can and will survive. But not as "whole microcosms" of the nation. Doesn't work that way any more.
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
6,384 posts, read 4,326,658 times
Reputation: 11073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
The current situation is absolutely sui generis. There's little point in trying to make comparisons to any other short- or long-term example, because this is not a town idled because the mill shut down... it's everywhere.

My experience wasn't far away, a town in eastern Connecticut somewhat larger than Bristol in population but a... much smaller town in economic terms. In my time there, I watched business after business close and fail because they stubbornly clung to the notion that all they had to do was rent a building, hang out a discreet sign and quietly wait for all the town's business to come to them.

This was just a few years ago, not decades back. The mindset that if you open, say, a pet food store everyone in the town will buy their pet food there might have worked twenty years ago, certainly fifty. Towns looked to and after themselves. That stopped being the case in this millennium. People will go any damn place they like for their Iams, including twenty miles into the bigger city with its box stores and Petco. But I could not convince a one of them that they needed to do business on a broader model, one that did not stubbornly assume that "because they were good merchants, people would come to them" when they did so little advertising that half the town didn't even know they were there. That was... rude. And a waste of money. And wouldn't work anyway.

Just one small facet, but it's indicative of how small towns need to evolve to be a part of the world around them instead of insisting that their town line encompass everything, in separation and sufficiency. Connecticut has something like 168 towns... probably 100 of which are not really big enough to sustain their own town council, school, fire department and police. But most of them struggle to keep doing so; the smarter ones form union school districts and pay for state police coverage. But that's a minority.

Small towns can and will survive. But not as "whole microcosms" of the nation. Doesn't work that way any more.
Did you read the article? That wasn't the point. Bristol did the right thing, to the best of their ability. But the shutdown is going to cripple them worse than a metro area that has somewhat more of an ability to jump-start their economies after going to sleep.

I think most reasonable local leaders understand what you mean. Certainly my town did. When our big mill went under in the early 90s, the local leadership shopped hard for developers willing to re-purpose the site. It was on the river for water power & they recognized that it could become prime real estate. They created a mixed use outdoor mall / recreation area / condos / hotels area that at first faced local pushback, but overall has worked out really well & became a centerpiece of the area's transformation from a mill town into a more diverse economy.

But now it's all closed. We can't survive a shutdown like this for much longer. I mean 2008 at least happened over time. It wasn't an abrupt lightning strike. We lost some businesses and the town was down for the count for about 2-3 years, but the strong businesses that avoided debt survived. With this, even the strongest businesses I've talked to say they're on borrowed time. They've got maybe until the end of summer before they close shop for good.

Towns like this are not going to attract tech industry or whatever. They have to sell what they have, and now that's all shuttered.
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Old 04-15-2020, 02:03 PM
 
2,600 posts, read 990,345 times
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The larger retailers, and for that matter most “small town” politicians, will not care a bit if Joe’s sandwich shop closes its doors. They hate small businesses for various reasons, they’re competition for the retailers and not a good source of donations for pols.
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Old 04-15-2020, 02:06 PM
 
1,972 posts, read 503,478 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redguard57 View Post
Did you read the article? That wasn't the point. Bristol did the right thing, to the best of their ability.
That is the point - that there is no "right thing" when a patient codes for the third time.

Small towns are no longer anywhere near as economically viable, as small towns, as they once might have been. This crisis just ripped the rose-colored parasol off of the image of how wunnerful our little towns are in socioeconomic mythos.

Just like the national obsession with "job creation," you can run around "doing the right thing" without it having the slightest useful effect... because that right thing stopped being right thirty years ago.

No part of me is gloating here. I liked the town I lived in, a lot.
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Old 04-16-2020, 02:37 PM
 
4,390 posts, read 3,570,493 times
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I grew up in a small town that attained it's salvation from an early death due to the population explosion of the last forty years in the Pacific NW. That kind of growth has bypassed the average small town in America, most are shrinking and any new enterprise is rare. Those dying towns have long been trying unsuccessfully to reinvent themselves along the lines of modernization.

But, modernization includes the notion of big box stores and big city artisan eateries as a far better choice for consumers. And, it has been adequately pointed out in other posts, that modernization of a town's meager social dynamic is nearly impossible, up against the allure of large cities with regard to the youth finding better employment opportunities.

I've seen some tough times in America, entered the workforce in an early sixties recession, lost a home in the late sixties crash in Seattle, watched as Alaskan's fell on hard times and found themselves and their families stuck there in the onslaught of the winter of 1970, then lost a business in the early seventies gas shortage years, None of that could compare to the nationwide debacle of the crash of 08, sending millions to their financial demise, and laying the economy to waste for years after the initial crash.

What we should have learned from past depression/recession times, is the fact that some people suffer terribly, others not so much, and still others who go through it, unscathed. There has always been enough pain to go around, small towns or big cities, no place is safe from the realities of bad times.

All Those setbacks set the stage for many of today's small town economic sufferings. But we will get through this, and it may seem like the end times to many who haven't had any history with America's financial woes. But at days end, we'll simply write another chapter in the accounting of American hard times..
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Old 04-16-2020, 02:55 PM
 
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Most small towns that survive become bedroom communities and accept a much smaller commercial base and little to no industrial base. Folks live there and want some local business for convenience, but will still go do their main shopping in the big town or city. They are no longer closed communities keeping all functions local.

If a town is too remote or unappealing to attract a bedroom community after losing its employment anchors... it dies. There really isn't any cure.
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Old 04-16-2020, 03:04 PM
Status: "Mi amigo es mi fan." (set 4 days ago)
 
2,831 posts, read 799,272 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimAZ View Post
The larger retailers, and for that matter most “small town” politicians, will not care a bit if Joe’s sandwich shop closes its doors. They hate small businesses for various reasons, they’re competition for the retailers and not a good source of donations for pols.
Maybe Amazon will start buying small towns and converting them to giant sweatshops. Americans will cheer at the prospect of 30-minute shipping while they celebrate from their indefinite lockdowns. Keep America Great Again!
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