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Please, visit local shops! Soon!

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  • Michael D. Barrett
    Hello everyone, Here s what seems to be my annual plea to make that special trip to our very special local businesses. Winter is a tough time for many of them.
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 11, 2008
      Hello everyone,
      Here's what seems to be my annual plea to make that special trip to
      our very special local businesses. Winter is a tough time for many of
      them. As a frequent patron of our local coffee shops in particular,
      I'm getting more than a little worried....

      Cafe Zoma, for example, is a favorite community summertime
      destination--being right on the bike path--and business fairly booms
      there during the spring, summer & fall months. But, in talking with
      Ann, the owner, business really slackens in the winter months.* This
      extreme winter has been particularly harsh for business conditions.
      Then, of course, there is the overall business environment.

      I'm not exaggerating the danger to the survival of our small local
      shops. Some friends who have owned a very, very successful coffee
      shop for more than 11 years up in Winona MN, just had to call it
      quits (http://www.blueheroncoffeehouse.com/). When the weather hit,
      no one showed up to the shop. There is very little cushion when
      operating a small biz. Now there is a big gaping hole in the fabric
      of their downtown. That shop was the cornerstone of what was hoped
      would be the resurgence of their downtown. It was an architecturally
      beautiful coffee shop, too. The closure really hit the town hard,
      because it was pretty much the social center of that little city.

      Cafe Zoma functions pretty much as our informal community center. It
      is what urban planners call (and rightists like the NYT's David
      Brooks deride as) the classic "third place." It isn't the formality
      of work, or the privacy of the home--it is a place for chance
      meetings, a neutral place for hashing out issues, or, just seeing &
      being seen, etc. We would have a huge gaping hole in the hood if
      Zoma were to go away.

      So please, treat yourself to a hot chocolate after digging out from
      the snow. Grab a great pastry & a coffee before heading out to work.
      Buy a smoothie to re-charge those eloctrolytes after that X-C ski
      across the lake.

      (OOOooooh, have you seen those parabolic snow-dunes out there? Wind
      sculpting! Ice Scouring & deposition! Deposition & scouring!
      Spectacular ice morphology! Spectacular ice dynamics! But my ADHD
      digresses....).

      And maybe combine a trip to the coffee shop with a trip to Revolution
      Cycles next door. This is a particularly grueling time of
      year--financially--for bike shops. But *you* can work it to your
      advantage. Now is the time to take your bike in for an overhaul and
      be assured of a high-quality result. I'm not saying that you won't
      get a decent job done at Revolution in the summer. I'm just saying
      that you can expect to have your bike seriously babied, coddled,
      detailed and pampered in a big way this time of year. You can also
      expect to get it back in a timely manner. After all, it really isn't
      fair to expect a quick turnaround on that first bright & sunny 60
      degree day when the whole world wants to set out on their neglected
      bike. Because guess what? The whole world will be in Revolution
      trying to get their neglected bike fixed. (I.e., Take a number!)

      Help yourself, help the shops, help keep our local businesses
      thriving over the winter. Visit them soon!

      -Mike

      *Don't be deceived by the numerous websurfers camped out at the
      coffee shop. Too many of them buy one small coffee and then sit there
      for hours.

      P.s. Sorry if I violate any rules on advertising for commercial
      outfits, but, hey, let's face it, though they may not sport the IRS's
      501(c)(3) imprimatur, most of our small local enterprises are run for
      passion. Profit, if it ever happens, is way on down the list for
      these enterprises.
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