I am glad that people are taking the time to read my column. I occasionally get personal phone calls at home or emails from people who wish to comment on the column. I got this feedback today on last week's column. It is an audio file that you can either listen to by clicking on the link or downloading it and playing it on your computer.
Here is my response and SPOILER NOTICE if you have not already listened to the clip!
I do not agree with the caller's assertion that without the antique shops, downtown Selma would be "dead". That would only be true if there were no other businesses in the world. "Uptown" Selma can be a triving business district if there are continued business friendly policies that encourage business growth and development. Punitive or discouraging policies do not help businesses grow.
For decades, there were and continue to be businesses that grow in Selma. Restaurants like Sweetwater's, The Anderson Street Soap Company, Selma Jewelry, Creech's Pharmacy, Seller's Auto Parts, and Short's Grill continue to operate successfully in Selma. Parrish Oil was around for a long time before Mr. Parrish passed away. The fact is that other businesses can be successful in Selma, not just antique shops.
Making Selma into a downtown centered around antique shops does a disservice to the local citizens who would normally patronize a wide range of businesses. As it is, I only go to a restaurant, to the soap company every few months, town hall, the jewelry shop a few times a year, the pharmacy once in a while, and the post office. Other than that, there is little in "uptown" that attracts me.
Antique shops do not attract locals. They attract visitors from out of town or out of state. In case you have not seen, Selma's downtown is almost dead, anyway, in regards to regular traffic of customers. There is little repeat business for buyers of old furniture compared to other businesses. There is certainly little reason for me to visit antique shops unless I am looking for antiques.
By the way, this is not meant to be a slam to owners of antique shops. I commend them for being entrepreneurs. For that, they deserve my kudos. It is a slam to the policy of alienating the very people who pay the taxes in Selma and are potential customers by the maintaining a downtown motif that does not serve the greater good.
It is not true that without the old furniture stores that Selma would be dead. It would just be filled with other types of stores to fill the void.