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Let's use our powers for good, not evil

Friday, January 1, 2010 Leave a Comment

I'm reading some very good articles in The Front Porch.

About the medical marijuana dispensary that's going to open in Perk & Play's old location. And Jon Meredith's spot-on commentary about supporting our local businesses.

By supporting, he doesn't just mean spending money there. He means contributing to the success of their business. He means spreading the good word, and communicating problems to the owner, not to the public.

He doesn't go out and say it, but I will: the Stapleton Moms group on Yahoo has the power to make or break our local businesses.

Do you remember the post about how an employee of Perk & Play had disciplined someone's child? It unleashed a torrent of criticism about that business, and an equal number of defenders as well, but that exchange seemed to be the beginning of the end for Perk & Play. The atmosphere changed. The patrons changed, the employees changed, the vibe felt wary. What did you think about that incident?

Meredith's point is this: we should be careful about publicly chastising our local businesses. There are more than 1,600 people on the Stapleton Moms list. One bad review can seriously damage a local business.

Thanks, Jon Meredith, for saying so.

7 comments »

  • Anonymous said:  

    Actually it made me a lil steamed. Not the website part as I had to defend sweet life once: I thought the post was terribly unfair.
    Not unlike his article placing blame on us for not supporting. Not all true as I know some inside info. When one opens a shop... one must also work in it... full time. Unless you are wealthy. Maybe her plans were to retire from her position? None of us saw that coming and could have given a heads up as she has many friends here in the community. As well as our website to spread the word to come buy crepes or something. I did, almost every day so this thing hit me hard!
    Note on the yelling sitch: happen to know that employee is a bit "off". Margo did defend the mother of the children. Maybe if we helped pick up just a few things each before we left, the employees wouldnt have been stressed;-) I miss them

  • Anonymous said:  

    The previous comment makes a valid point regarding an absentee owner contributing to Perk 'n Plays closing. For instance, in the case of the "yelling sitch," the owner could have dealt with the dissatisfied customer directly rather than having that person use a yahoo group to voice one's complaints (justified or not).

    As a wise sage once stated, it takes a plethora of happy customers to build a business, but only one unhappy customer to knock it down.

    However, I submit the Meredith article was directly on point. In fact, the previous comment strongly supports his assertion that we need to support our local businesses. I paraphrase; none of us saw the closing coming in order to rally community support. Isn't that what Meredith's premise is stating?

    It seems to me that the Perk 'N Play was used similar to how the McDonald's playground is used by parents. But McD's has a happy meal!! So was the Perk 'N Play menu choices the major factor why parents would bring their kids lunch rather than purchase at the cafe? I have no standing to discuss the menu options, but I do know that it takes allot of cups of coffee to pay a monthly lease.

  • Gordon Weakliem said:  

    As far as nobody knowing what was coming, the blame falls on the owner. She could have, should have spread the word - we can't tell what's going on with the business. I've heard similar appeals on behalf of An's and some other businesses. Business owners have to learn to leverage the community.
    It's hard to say exactly what went wrong with P&P. I don't think it's all the Mom's mailing list. What makes this more interesting is the mess surrounding the MJ dispensary. P&P is the 3rd coffee shop to fail in Stapleton; in fact the only one that's working out is Starbucks. I have to ask what's different here. Why is it that Perk Hill and Adagio Baking can apparently thrive (or at least survive) but a coffee shop can't make it in Stapleton? Walkability is a factor, but I have to think it's the cost of the space. From all accounts, space in Stapleton and Quebec Square is 2-3x higher than surrounding areas and it's awfully hard to make that up when your average sale is $3.50.
    I fear that what's being proven is that Stapleton is not viable for locally-owned businesses. Walkability is a huge factor. I rarely went to P&P because it's about a mile walk from my house and if I'm getting in the car, I like Perk Hill's coffee better anyway. I think there is a huge opportunity with the space where the brownstones have fallen flat - there's a fair number of rooftops in easy walking distance and if the community will allow rezoning, they could repurpose some of that for light retail - if it was affordable space. This is where the community planning failed. Look at Park Hill, Capitol Hill, Highlands, the communities Stapleton was supposedly inspired by. In those communities, the retail was integrated into the community instead of shoved off to the margins. The Eastbridge town center, which ties its fortunes to the fate of an anchor tenant, takes way too much capital to work. The community needs to think smaller.

  • Liz said:  

    Gordon, your point deserves a post unto itself. Only the chains seem to be able to afford the rent. Our 2nd town center, as envisioned with another big grocery store, is destined for failure... can't even get off the ground, as a matter of fact. If we could get a group to re-imagine that space to fit small local businesses, and the Adagio/Spinellis/Cherry Tomato block is a terrific model...

  • Anonymous said:  

    Gordon, she probably didn't want to appeal to the same clientele who was using her business as a place to hang out for 5 hours and buy nothing. She was probably sick and tired of the complaining and the rudeness directed at her and her employees.

    The message to small business owners is to steer clear of Stapleton. There's no money in it and even if there was... it isn't worth the nonsense that comes along with it.

  • Anonymous said:  

    Anonymous states:

    "Gordon, she probably didn't want to appeal to the same clientele who was using her business as a place to hang out for 5 hours and buy nothing. She was probably sick and tired of the complaining and the rudeness directed at her and her employees."

    That may be true to a degree. However, turning teh entire community against her to teh point that last I heard there is neighborhood plan to flyer bomb the neighborhood and distribute her name, address and telephone number to every Stapleton resident so that they can call her personally to complain about any incident at the MM dispensary will probably be an even more unpleasant experience, all told.

    Complaining about retail failure is kind of ironic, considering teh opening of the MM dispensary has guaranteed failure for any other retail outlet in that building. Which stapleton resident will brave An's now? Not very many, that is for sure.

  • Anonymous said:  

    If you haven't heard, the maijuana shop is dead. The owners lost in court.