Brattleboro Downtown Merchants

Quote: “I’m no economist, but when I hear about downtown businesses blaming their financial woes on the presence of people on the sidewalk asking for spare change, I’m left scratching my head. It seems like if you’re going to run a business, you’d want to know the basics of supply and demand… Like, if you want to make money, you need to offer goods and services that people want at a price they can pay. Sell things people need and can afford. Three-thousand-dollar rugs not flying off the shelves? Rethink your business strategy. I can buy an 80-dollar bouquet of flowers downtown, but I have to drive somewhere else to buy a pair of underwear.”
(Calvin Moen – Brattleboro Reformer LTE)

Long ago, local people stopped shopping in downtown Brattleboro. Merchants just don’t sell what we need.
If I want Jeans, I can go to Sam’s and see an assortment of name-brand jeans. Fine! But they’re all over $50.00. Or, I can hold my nose and drive to Wal-Mart. There, I can see a store-brand for less than $20, just as good as the name-brand kind. It’s not Sam’s fault, it’s the way things work.

Downtown merchants can’t stop prioritizing tourists over our community members. Except for specialized stuff like art supplies or bicycles, there’s nothing here for us. I look into the windows and I can’t even figure out what they’re selling.

I can’t disagree with what Moen says when he writes: An economy that relies on tourism is not stable, sustainable, or fair to those of us building our lives here. We need a local economy that provides the kind of jobs that will keep people living and working here, not more low-wage service and retail jobs.

Bennington is trying to deal with this right now, as their Energizer battery plant is moving to consolidate its operations at its existing facility in Portage, Wisconsin.

As I write this, VPR is talking about the disastrous results of GE pulling out of Pittsfield, MA. (14,000 people out of work)

Comments | 1

  • Downtown

    Downtown Brattleboro does have a decent outdoor clothing store called Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters. Not sure about the underwear but they have socks, pants, shirts etc. I am wearing a pair of Carhart’s and a flannel shirt from Sam’s while I type. They are not a discount store, but the quality is good and if you watch for their 20% off sales the prices are not that bad. You can certainly find pants and shirts for well under your $50 scenario.

    I am sure, that if the people complaining about a lack of stores downtown do not stop and shop Sam’s once a while they will not continue to be there. And future choices will be only be online, or places like Walmart.

    It is your choice.


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