Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Tribute to Independent Businesses

I realized the other day, that most of the places where I shop are corporate owned. From the Safeway, where I get my groceries to the Starbuck's where I buy my morning coffee, to the Staples where I get my office supplies, all these stores are owned by large corporations. I'm not completely to blame for this situation since I was born in the second half of the twentieth century, which put me smack in the middle of the greatest franchising and corporate take over of main street in history.

In fact, the only places that I can think of that are not corporate owned would be, Vicki, the girl that cuts my hair, the occasional downtown restaurant that I might venture into (like Cibo), Tempe Camera, where I buy some photographic equipment and the dry cleaners that I bring my clothes each week. Well, the dry cleaners can now be scratched off the list. They have lost their lease and will close at the end of the month. The landlord turned down their offer to pay five years of advance! He is from California and plans on turning the entire building into a restaurant. If he goes as an independent restaurant I suppose it could be cool to have a new place nearby, although, don't try to explain the logic behind turning down five years of rent in cash from an long established business in turn for the risk involved in leasing to an unproven restaurant. God helps us if he ends up leasing to Friday's or Applebee's.

I will admit that I will miss the family that ran the cleaners. A terrific family from India. I spoke with the mother on a regular basis as I would pick up my clothes each week. Maybe because she came from another culture but she had interesting perspective on things; and overall she stayed out of controversy and was a hard worker, she seemed to be always there. She had three beautiful daughters (two of them engineers) who would help out on the weekends sometimes. Like I said, it was interesting to know the owners of the businesses that you frequent. Now I'm off to find a new cleaners.

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