Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hello April! Once again my bikeshop bank account slams down to ZERO. I borrow from personal savings and hope a body walks in and buys a bicycle or a kayak, or both. Materially the shop is fine, but it's not always easy to turn inventory into cash. The first three months of the year are quiet in the non-ski area regions of the high Sierra. Many businesses evaporated in Plumas County this winter...many will never come back. Online shopping is causing small town America to shrink to a cluster of coffee houses, convenience stores and a plethora of corporate franchise restaurants.
Rural America is shrinking and those who hang on are living with less. Book, appliance and new clothing stores have disappeared from small towns. Many surviving storefronts are now secondhand or thrift shops..."yard sales with a business license". Big box retail is usually within an hours' drive and country folk are still able to afford a weekly supply run to one of the Chinese product- filled, characterless shells, to stock up on toilet paper, hamburger helper and cheese puffs.
When gas prices creep up beyond six bucks a gallon I believe the surviving country families will finally co-op on these shopping trips and distribute goods out of their homes. It's a brave new world, alright, and the one good thing about these circumstances is that we are getting to know our neighbors much more intimately than we ever imagined we would. Are these just tough times or is this the way it's going to be from now on?

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