Thursday, April 09, 2009

Business Necrology

One of the two Starbucks Coffee houses along Highway 98 in Gulf Breeze is closing.

This follows announced closures of Boater's World, Moe's, Dagwood's, another locally-owned coffee shop, that little Japanese place no one ever dined in (which has been replaced by a Hawaiian restaurant no one patronizes), a real estate office in the Winn-Dixie Shopping Center, an ice cream shop, two book stores, a children's apparel store, an auto dealership, a used car dealership, a computer repair shop, at least one hair salon, one bar, two convenience stores, and lots of others.

How many local businesses have been shuttered in these hard times? The usual news sources don't report a complete count, if they even dared to make one. It would be bad for business, don'cha know.

Just the other day, however, we overheard the owner of a small copy shop in Gulf Breeze talking about it with a customer. She and a friend had just driven three miles along a stretch of Gulf Breeze Parkway. Along the way, they counted seventeen businesses that had closed recently, or were about to do so. That's almost five and a half businesses per mile.

To be sure, many of them had shitty locations or bad business plans, or both. But isn't it odd that this becomes evident to the business owner, and its lender, only when times turn bad?


Anonymous said...

mom and pop stores aren't doing that great on the beach either.

A Dilettante's Perspective said...

Shopping local is very important. Not that chain stores in Pensacola aren't run by and employ lots of locals. But by driving to Pensacola to get a better price on something that could have been found in Gulf Breeze, a shopper is defeating the point by using all that expensive fuel. It also seems that the City of Gulf Breeze, or Santa Rosa County, should use their resources to educate and counsel locals on how to improve their business plans, re-negotiate their loans, or how to advertise in a way that works. Isn't that the point of the Chamber of Commerce anyway? To bring local business owners and those that facilitate local business owns closer together?