From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Restaurant operations (was something about commuting)
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 16:05:58 -0400
On Wed, 28 Sep 2005 19:55:25 -0700, The Real Bev wrote:
>That's a problem in Alhambra, a local largely-Asian community. Over the years
>the department stores and shops have moved out and restaurants have moved in.
>The restaurants are generally very good -- chains like Tony Roma's and
>individual ethnic restaurants, mostly Asian -- but there's nobody to eat at
>them. Now they're trying to change the mix back to general shopping, but the
>"nice" dress shops and stores that my mom liked to shop at are gone forever.
This is the corrosive disease called zoning and planning. Central
planning didn't work in the Soviet Union and it doesn't work here.
Cleveland, like many cities, has been ruined by developer-dominated
central planning. They've forced retailers into one area,
subdivisions into another, gas stations into yet another. It is now
literally impossible to do almost anything without driving several
miles. The same people who bemoan the loss of mom'n'pop stores just
keep voting for the developers and their lackeys.
I experienced the other side when I worked at the Three Mile Island
nuclear plant after the accident. I lived in the Middletown/Royalton
area of Pa. Both were small, old towns with thriving small
businesses. Most of the shop owners lived in apartments above their
stores (something many "planners" try to outlaw.) I could walk less
than a block to a grocery store, an Italian deli, a pizza joint and
several non-food stores. I rode a motorcycle the half mile to the
plant and started my car only to go out of town.
This was so nice. I could go buy fresh cooking ingredients every day
if I wanted. I didn't have to use dried or frozen ingredients or
dehydrated spices that had lost most of their flavor.
The extra service from the small operators was most appreciated. On
days when I was going to cook, right before I left the office I'd call
up the grocery store and place my order. They'd have it bagged up and
ready to go. If the owner saw me pull up, he'd bring the bags out to
me at the curb. The store ran a tab that I paid once a week so I
didn't have to worry about always having cash on hand or (ugghhh)
using a credit card. Friday was the usual day because the store
cashed paychecks at no extra cost for hourly workers. If I wanted a
non-stocked item, I just told the owner and he got it for me. Try any
of that at Walmart or the chain grocery store.
People want to blame Walmart for the loss of small merchants but the
real blame is, I think, "planners" and the forced segregation by use.
Cleveland voted liquor by the drink in a few years ago and the
"planners" couldn't wait to cram the chain restaurants that came to
town into one small area, coincidentally on land owned by the planners
and friends. That has badly damaged the independent restaurant
operators in town. Once people get used to driving to just one place
to eat out, it is almost impossible to get them to drive elsewhere.
The result is, I have to get in the car and drive to reach any sort of
dinner restaurant, even fast food and I have very little choice of
Progress really ain't progress, folks.