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Everything Goes

10 September 2012

Yet another Main Street store going out of business. It is very sad. Just as Republican and Democratic party conventions are clamoring to outdo each other on how well they support small business, here in our own town small businesses are struggling and not surviving.

This shop opened only last year and I had not even gotten a chance to shop there much.  The few times I went in I did notice that they had a good selection and variety too.   I was happy to hear their name mentioned among the sponsors for the BOOM Theatre production of As You Like It at Shamrock Park last week.  I kept planning to go to the shop, never imagining that its days were limited.  Partly I had just been used to going to Bearly Used, since it was on the corner of Pennsylvania just like the library. Though since we started biking rather than walking to the library, these days I have to make a special trip if I want to go there as well.  On our bikes we take quieter roads – the stretch of Main Street from Idlewild Street to Churchville Road is a very high traffic corridor. Past Churchville Road and for the rest of the way to downtown, there is less traffic and also much wider sidewalk, but we take a detour right at Linwood Avenue and then take Barnes and Maitland towards Hickory Avenue, never getting back to Main Street.

My loss.

Are any local officials taking any interest in keeping up main street? Two months ago we saw extensive road work done on Emmorton Road which is known as Main Street at you approach Bel Air. How about improving the sidewalks leading to downtown?  Or adding a bicycle path … I have noticed many more people on bicycles nowadays.  It would also help to have a traffic light at the corner of Idlewild and Main Street.  It is a difficult intersection to cross.

Traffic woes aside, I wish I had come across the inspiring message of the 3/50 project earlier.  It is so simple – choose 3 independent retailers and spend a fixed amount, say $50, each month.  Even if you start with $50 / quarter, set it aside and make sure you spend it in your local small business shops.  Set aside another $50 for the farmer’s market and our community will surely boom.

We have First Friday and Third Thursday and various other programs to liven up downtown Bel Air but it does not seem to be enough to help the stores pay the rent. The owner of Everything Goes Consignments told me that the rent went up this year. What is going to happen to Main Street?

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