Our 1854 Suburban Farm House

Our 1854 Suburban Farm House
So this isn't Home Sweet Home...adjust!!

Baby Blue

Baby Blue
love is all you need...and an old truck!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Signs of the Times

What was a vibrant, thriving downtown not that long ago has become a sad sign of the times.
What I really wish I were blogging about it is how our downtown is "the" place to shop. Unfortunately in the past few months the stores have become vacant one after another,it is beginning to look like a ghost town.

It is popular belief that certain box stores coming to the west of our quaint town is the reason behind the vacancy's, the relief from the recession has not come as "they" predicted it would.
Shop owners are not renewing their lease or are just leaving each month.
Consumers are going to the import stores to stretch their family's dollars, understandably so in the present economic conditions. But it is the consumer in the end that is responsible for the loss of jobs in our downtown,it is the consumer who has to boycott these stores which promote slave labour in the first place.
I am told that in the 1950's to the 1970's our downtown had everything you needed, a grocery store,bakery,men, woman's ,and children's clothing,a pharmacy,the barber ,shoes and more.
The locals say it was a bustling downtown where the merchants knew you by name,and were happy and prospering.
In speaking to a few of the merchants in my area of town the feeling is of uncertainty,more big name box stores are coming soon to the west of us. Over 1,000,000 sq feet of retail space.
Some are ready to retire having seen the good days and just tired of waiting for the big turn around promised by experts to happen by 2010. Others are scared,not sure whether when their lease comes up for renewal if they will stay or go.
We have good days and bad but are optimistic that we carry goods not found at box stores. Our customers are very loyal and keep coming back,we have also seen an increase in young couples interested in antiques again. Teenagers who love the greenness of it all, and the fact that the pieces they buy will hold their value, whereas the other stores items end up in our landfills in a few years. This is all very reassuring but doesn't pay the rent,heat,hydro,phone or taxes.
I expect to ruffle some feathers with this post but then it is my blog after all and just my opinion.
What do I know? Well don't take my word for it..read this
I am interested in your opinions and suggestions but don't send me nasty anonymous emails please.
These signs pretty much speak for themselves.
a lovely ladies clothing and accessory store 3 stores west of ours closing

4 doors down closed this month

cafe that has been empty for months

this restaurant has relocated just around the corner but still sits empty

another great shop closed :(
east of us this store has sat since the fire in April 2008
across the street never been seen before drastic sales

across the street,empty for months

a store that has been empty for over 2 years


~The Boyd Homestead Farm~ said...

It is sad to see all these wonderful businesses go :( When we first moved out this way, downtown Bowmanville was so full of life! I enjoyed shopping the small stores in the good weather. While Walmart may be easier and less expensive for us to shop because of our large family for our everyday needs, we do try to make sure that we shop downstown as well when we can as there are so many unique stores where you cannot find those kinds of things in the box stores. I hope that The Carriage House continues to stay open and you know I need to come by soon! It's been way too long... if only this snow would just go away!
Take care and hugs, Trish

Carriage House Antiques said...

ok you said the W word not me LOL It is a beautiful downtown,we hold so many great events every year and see record crowds. Perhaps some signage at the 401 exits and near the box stores encouraging folks to check all the shops out would help? We have one now but it is east of Hwy 57 so those coming from the 401 don't even see it. I've had customers tell me they had no idea the downtown was right there. Also signs near the arena for all the events that go on at there.
We really have no intentions of leaving we have made it through the recession this far,and have too many plans for the shop. We have been lucky I guess. We haven't had to acquire debt to stay open,or pay bills out of our own money so far.
stop by anytime for a visit :)

Michelle said...

What a terrible tragedy. Does downtown Bowmanville have a BIA? What is your BIA and City Council doing to preserve, protect and promote local business?

~The Boyd Homestead Farm~ said...

Yes, more signs are needed to promote downtown and all the wonderful events! There are so many wonderful stores there that are so worth taking the time to go in and enjoy. It reminds me of when I was a little kid growing up in Peterborough, going "downtown" was such a thrill and than all the stores stared going out of business etc. Now things have picked up again there but it's just not the same :( That Candy store just went in there in the summer didn't it? It came from Newcastle since it had to move when they tore down historical buildings just to build a bigger Shoppers Drugmart, such a shame!
You would think that the town council or whatever it is would want to do something to promote the downtown area! As soon as the weather gets better I'll be in to see you, everytime I want to it snows and I don't drive much from here in the snow, lol. Glad you are going anywhere soon!! :D

Amy Kinser said...

It really is sad to see wonderful, charming, "mom and pop" shops closing down.

City.Cottage Shop said...

Sending a warm hug down the street,I noticed she was closing too, and all the other shops sad.hard.and yucky.
We feel super lucky too, but sad because the less great shops around will hit us all hard.


Ginny said...

Your post was sad, but the truth hurts. It reminds me of when you see the family farm for sale, because the kids don't want to farm the land. We are currently in a antique co-op, Weil Antiques Center, Allentown, PA. We have been there for five years now. And we are doing okay, only one month in 2010 we did not make rent, which in these times is great. We don't have a whole lot to buy new inventory, but we manage. But, managing is not why we are in this business. We have started to discuss that if we can't get inventory (lack of funds but also lack of auctions, etc.) we will let our space at Weil go. We do antique shows, which seem to be doing better. It is nice to see that you have the younger folks interested, that has not happened for us nor a few of our dealer friends and their concern is that their customer base will be saturated. Don't know if this gave anyone any insite, maybe just a different spin, but we all seem to be in the same boat.

Rustic and White said...

Could not agree more about the sad state of affairs here in Bowmanville. I know my husband and I often shop 'downtown' to keep our money in our town. It may cost us a little more but we both feel that connectedness when we shop and see the same shopowners. Natalie you are also right about the wonderful activities that are planned throughout the year and we do get more and more people visiting. I like the idea of more signage on the 401 and around the west part of town. Perhaps talking to our Mayor may help and saying our prayers could not hurt either.
Here's to a better 2011!!

Anonymous said...

This is so very sad to see...it looks like such a neat place...we were in the "antique" business for a short time...seems like we were having to pay more and ultimately had to charge more and with the rent etc it got to the point that it just wasn't worth it. :( I wish you luck and happiness. You have a lovely place.

Anonymous said...

This is so very sad to see...it looks like such a neat place...we were in the "antique" business for a short time...seems like we were having to pay more and ultimately had to charge more and with the rent etc it got to the point that it just wasn't worth it. :( I wish you luck and happiness. You have a lovely place.