micro-views of local hardship

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Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1982
micro-views of local hardship

We've all read about the unprecedented demands on food banks, and seen pictures of abandoned properties in Detroit. How is it affecting our local communities? Thuis thread is to tell each other about local trends. Here are some observations from where we live.

  • This past Friday my husband took his usual trip to the bakery thrift store on the way home. The shelves were all but stripped bare and only some specialty items were still available. He'd never seen that before.
  • We've been mowing the lawn of the abandoned house nextdoor for a year now.
  • The house on our other side was rented to a guy who got a job 6 hours away and moved. The new tenants were a grandmother, her unemployed daughter and unemployed son in law, and teen grandson - all living on her clerk's salary. The daughter and son in law have since gotten jobs and moved but another relative moved in. They are struggling - their water has been shut off for non-payment twice. We gave them water from our well to flush their toilets and let them use some of our bandwidth so the teen can use it for high school things (yes, we monitor that and he's being resposible.)
  • There's a home up the block that has been for sale for three years now. The elderly couple trying to sell it has not yet come to grips with what their ruined equity will do to their retirement.
  • We were planning to get a rear gate/ramp for our trailer but the place that sold trailers and repairs them just went out of business. Also closed: a specialty makeup and jewelry store in a local strip mall and an ale and chicken wings place. And a Mailboxes Etc, location, a coffee shop, a drycleaners and a computer repair strore and thift store - gone. These are within a one-mile radius. Add to that the supermarket that went to hand-made signs on butcher paper and double coupons. Businesses are struggling.

There are some grace notes in this neighborhood, though.

  • Last week our 60-year-old neighbor got a good contract job at the VA hospital. He's been unemployed for three years and he and his wife had been living on her disability checks after she had a atroke.
  • A local abandoned Kmart was just turned into a nice church.
  • Businesses that provide great service or save folks money are doing very well. There is a place that does nothing but breakfasts, brunch and lunches that just expanded, and another restaurant in a home that makes homemade ice cream that is doing very well.
  • The local beekeeper is expanding operations all over the county.

How about in your area, wherever that might be?

maceves's picture
maceves
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 23 2010
Posts: 281
abandoned businesses

The neighborhood petitioned against a strip mall here,but it was built anyway.  Now Food Lion has moved out and so did all the other stores except a dry cleaners on the very end.  That has happened all over the county except in one shpping strip that is held down with all big box stores.

So, the county government has negotiated so that a few new businesses coming in will move into some of the biggest  abandoned buildings, including a Kmart and a furniture store.  Goodwill opened a culinary school, a coffee shop and a fine restaurant in one of them.  The coffee shop is as good as Starbucks, staffed with eager culinary school students.  The restaurant is more than I can pay--I don't know how its doing.

We have a lot of federal employees that are being affected by the sequester==they have jobs but they are not spending much.

I decided not to open that soap and perfume business I had thought about--too risky right now.

Thrivalista's picture
Thrivalista
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 5 2011
Posts: 60
The thrift store closing is confusing

You'd think that that's one business that would be booming. They sure are around here - seems like there's hardly any good stock when I go in these days.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1982
too many thrift stores here

I helped declutter a hoarder house and got to visit many of the local thift stores to drop off the usable stuff, just for variety. But Google Maps says there are over 40 of them within a 10-mile radius.

With that many, there is actually competition.

maceves's picture
maceves
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 23 2010
Posts: 281
Goodwill

Goodwill did not close--it expanded.  It runs the culinary school as a job training center. The coffee shop is in the Goodwill store as part of their bookstore, which is much better run than the way they used to do the bookstore.  They have free internet too and a job resource center next door.  I think it is a good business to support.  It doesn't have the snob appeal of Starbucks, but is essentially the same thing.

Edgar's Grillehttp://www.edgarsgrille.com/index.php/menu  is also a part of their training.  

They took over the whole shopping center, which had included a big antique store and a furniture store.  There has been an effort to make the place attractive and pleasant, and give some honest job training to the people working there.  

KeithM1116's picture
KeithM1116
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 10 2012
Posts: 77
Thrift Stores

Over the last couple of years the new business that keeps showing up in vacated stores are flea markets and thrift stores.  And now the local city council wants to put a speacial fee (tax) on them, which several say will force them to close up as they make just enough to get by the way it is.  I guess our brilliant city administrators would rather have empty buildings.  I'm sure that makes the building owners happy!

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 1763
Using the Emergency Department for Minor Problems

I notice the local hardship as the working-uninsured-poor come to the ER for minor medical problems.  It is the only place where a person can be seen without having to put down cash or proof of insurance before talking to a doctor.    

Sprinkled between serious illnesses are cases like people who took off work yesterday due to a cold and who need a retroactive off work excuse, and people who need refills of their allergy medicine.

Some evenings, the department is flooded with the "medically indigent."

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: May 28 2009
Posts: 854
maceves wrote: Goodwill did
maceves wrote:

Goodwill did not close--it expanded.  It runs the culinary school as a job training center. The coffee shop is in the Goodwill store as part of their bookstore, which is much better run than the way they used to do the bookstore.  They have free internet too and a job resource center next door.  I think it is a good business to support.  It doesn't have the snob appeal of Starbucks, but is essentially the same thing.

Edgar's Grillehttp://www.edgarsgrille.com/index.php/menu  is also a part of their training.  

They took over the whole shopping center, which had included a big antique store and a furniture store.  There has been an effort to make the place attractive and pleasant, and give some honest job training to the people working there.  

Starbucks minus the snob appeal!  What's not to like?  I am very interested in what the Goodwill is doing. The last time I shopped in one, in Victoria B.C. I bought some lingerie--no, not gross!  It was brand new and being liquidated. Is your Goodwill branching into liquidation too?

 

 

albinorhino's picture
albinorhino
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 14 2009
Posts: 23
Small signs in the neighborhood

The 100-home middle class development where we live is showing the signs of the slowing economy. Here in north Georgia, if the homeowner does not treat the lawn for weeds, the weeds quickly take over. The majority of homes no longer treat for weeds. The street lights were turned off a few days ago because of non-payment of the bill by the management company. (Still waiting to here from the management company as to why the bill hasn't been paid. Homeowners not paying the HOA fee is my guess.) Homes in the 'hood on the market are not moving--typically 1+ year(s).

Went to our local Walmart yesterday morning, arriving about 8:30, and the parking lot was virtually empty. Of course, it was still early in the day.

I haven't checked out the thrift stores and other discount stores, so don't have a clue as to how they are doing. But from our persective, both of us still employed, our discretionary spending is just a notch above non-existent. What we do buy mostly is to improve our vegetgable garden--slowly automating the watering system with drip irrigation and low-flow sprinklers. The object is to save money for the future crash.

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