Yes, we Americans love to live large. We love big meals. We love big vehicles. We love big homes. We love big parties, big plans, big bank accounts, big hair, big closets, big pets…..if it’s big we are all about it! We even love the Big Box Stores. They are great! If you need something, anything, we no longer have to waste our precious time running from one end of town to the next, stopping at the hardware store, the grocery store or the department store to buy socks. We don’t need to schedule time to get new tires put on the car or the oil changed. It’s all available under one roof. One stop, one store, a couple of hours and we have completed our “to do” list. You can even grab a bite to eat (and have it super-sized, if you choose). Simple, easy, convenient.
I am guilty of it. My time is valuable. I want everything to be easy. I would love to live a more simple life style. I love being able to accomplish all my errands in one shopping trip. But, lately I am becoming aware of some trends that are happening in our small city. In cities large and small all over our country.
Those cute, little, quaint, specialty shops are slowly disappearing. That favorite restaurant where the waiter and the owner knew us by name and what our favorite meals are have closed. The garage where I had established a trust with the mechanic has closed and pay-at-the-pump gas pumps have been installed.
Our clothes, shoes and most of our automobiles are no longer made in our country and now our families who worked so hard to bring us the services of grocery, clothing, automobile, hardware, meals and entertainment of all kinds are slowly being push away by our super-sized, living large life style. It’s sad. A lot of these merchants are our neighbors.
I work part-time in a retail store. A real fabric store. It is family owned and has been in business for 36 years. Within the past decade the store has been experiencing more and more down swings. At first, it was blamed on the economy. The recession was difficult for a lot of businesses. Some never recovered. And some I feel, have been able to hang on a little longer but, are really fighting a losing battle. But why? It it really just a matter of convenience? Do we really value our time so much? Or are we just feeding into big marketing?
I sew. I love to create. I love the feel of fabric. The texture, the colors. My ideal therapy has always been to head to the fabric store. Not always to buy but, to see, to feel, to be inspired. By working in the store where I am now I have come to appreciate fine fabrics, quality fabrics. So, it really bothers me to realize that big box fabric stores are such an attraction to people who create. I hear customers complain about the cost of the fabric in the store. But, they don’t realize that the quality is much better than they could find at those other stores. Sometimes I shop for fabrics online. Mostly for novelty fabrics that I can’t find locally or for a print/color that isn’t available at the store where I work. The quality isn’t always as good. I know that I am lucky to live in an area that has fabric stores. Big box and otherwise. Many people live in areas where supply is limited or not easily available.
There have been several out-of-state visiting customers to our store that tell me that all the fabric stores are gone from their hometowns and surrounding areas. I just can’t imagine losing that. (Although, I do have to confess that I probably have enough fabric in my stash to last until my dying days and not run out but, that is yet another post. I am not a hoarder. I am a collector. LOL)
It’s sad for me to think that small businesses are disappearing and being pushed out by bigger chains when those chain stores aren’t offering good quality. Does anyone seek quality any more? Do we expect the best for ourselves? Is more always better?