Thursday, June 22, 2006

Very Successful Public Forum Tonight!

Tonight was the night of the Public Forum about a community department store held at the Harrietstown Town Hall. There was quite a large audience of enthusiastic attendees. When asked how many people would buy shares in such a store (at $500 each) at least 100 people raised their hands.

Left to right: Steve Alves, Board Member, Greenfield, MA Mercantile; Nancy Neff, Stafford Springs, CT Community Store; Sharon Earhart, Chamber Director, Powell, Wyoming

Attentive Saranac Lake residents. Maybe 200-250 attendees, maybe more.

Steve Alves explains the legal process needed to sell shares in a community store venture.
I just realized that Steve Alves is the guy that made the movie 'Talking to the Wall'. Read more here. I also posted about this movie on 5/31 here.


Anonymous said...

This type of store is considered
an "investment" in your community. Not only has it been EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL in Powell, Wyoming, but other communities as well. Worland, Wyoming has Washakie Wear, Glendive, Montana has Glendive Clothing Company, Malta, Montana has Family Matters, Inc., and Plentywood, Montana has Little Muddy Dry Goods Store. In addition to these stores, there are other communities in the process of staring their own community owned stores.
The neat thing about this type of store, is it can sell product local people are wanting. The store is not held to selling what the head office dictates. The head office turns out to be the local residents.
It is interesting to note that Powell residents considered this store an "investment" in their community. And that is exactly what it is. Corporate money is not leaving the community. It is staying here where it can be spent again and again.
Sharon was asked last night what happens when the entusiasm wanes for the store. Her reply was the communities enthusiasm has not waned yet. Powell's store has been open since 2002, turned a profit every single year, and locals are STILL EXITED ABOUT THEIR STORE. Local people their call it "our store." It is not "the store" or "a store" but "OUR STORE." And isn't that exactly what it is?
Can Saranac Lake pull this off? LAST NIGHT PROVED THAT WE CAN!! It's time to move foward with this fabulous idea!!

WereBear said...

I think the idea of a local department store is very exciting. How many times has your heater February...and you can't get a replacement because the stores are full of spring merchandise already?

Big chains stock only the merchandise that's appropriate nationwide. Which usually means the things you most need-when you need them- aren't on the shelves anyway.

"Local" and "responsive" is what's need for a store in Saranac Lake. And Wal-Mart is the opposite of those needs.