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The Recession Rears Its Head

6 March 2009

I’ve been following the recession (who isn’t?) online and in newspapers, but it’s only been in the past week that I have started to notice empty storefronts around here. This is probably because the midwest hasn’t been hit as hard as the coasts, as you can see in the interactive graphic the New York Times put together earlier in the week (click on the picture to get to the interactive page at NYT.)

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I think the girls are irritated by my pointing out the empty windows; I do it because each one has a story behind it for me (I’m realizing that’s how I remember things — by the connections they make to me, sometimes with something as elusive as a feeling I had at that moment, or a smell, or a scrap of music, but that’s a blog post all on its own).

The local insurance agent whose storefront reminded me of our landlord in North Carolina, who also was a small insurance agent, and who handled our first car insurance policy.

The furniture store the Consort and I visited when we were in the market for a new bed; we didn’t end up buying there, but I remember what I was wearing (a green mock turtleneck, the stone bead necklace my father gave me when Impera was born) and that it was a special daytime outing for the Consort and I, without the kids. (Were they in school? or at a friend’s house? They were little at the time, so we wouldn’t have left them alone.)

The Poodle Inn, a dog salon set in a residential house left over on a commercial strip. I always wondered about the name — wouldn’t specifying a particular breed of dog lose them some business? Or perhaps they really only dealt with poodle grooming. I have no idea, as Zephyr is a short-haired dog and so the only grooming she requires is a nail-trim, and we do that ourselves at home.

The Baker’s Square restaurant that we went to after Impera participated in a Jumprope for Heart activity when she was in second grade. Their pies taste awful if you’re used to homemade, but it’s the kind of thing kids love.

I expect we’ll continue to see empty storefronts, and I’ll continue to remember these businesses as I pass. I hope that soon we’ll begin to see new small businesses take their place — not as big, not as sprawly, but healthy for the community.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane permalink
    8 March 2009 10:26 am

    Last week I went in search of coffee while Kyle was at his cello lesson. The two coffee shops I knew of in the nearby area were both closed and the properties were for sale.

  2. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    8 March 2009 10:28 am

    Yep, things are starting to hit, for sure. 😦

  3. 9 March 2009 8:14 am

    We all identify with establishments that provide memories. When I returned to Texas for a visit after a year or so, I found that not only the company where I had worked had closed, but also the fabric store I frequented and my favorite supermarket had closed. I had very few “links” left of my 20 year existence!

    Just remember closing one door always makes way for the opening of another. There are better days ahead…

  4. 10 March 2009 7:12 am

    New London, CT, has an inordinate number of empty storefronts — has for years. A bunch of local artists took it upon themselves to create installations in each one.

  5. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    10 March 2009 6:46 pm

    That is a *genius* idea, Ellie! I will have to keep that in mind if things keep crashing around here.

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