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The following Letter to the Editor was sent to the Nisqually Valley News for publication & is printed here with permission of the writer, unabridged:

I am writing this letter from the standpoint of a concerned citizen of my community.
There have been a rash of eatery and entertainment closures (due to lack of patronage) here in McKenna
and surrounding communities such as i.e. Clarks, Pit Stop, and Blue Bottle just to name a few.

There is an adage that says “silence is golden” however there are instances where we as neighbors should break that silence even to the point of becoming the “town crier”. I feel that this is one of those such instances. I have watched for a 5 year period a Family owned and operated (Husband,Wife and Daughter) quality local business, namely “The Liquid Soul Coffee Roasters” located in McKenna, delegate tireless and consistant effort to bring from the T.V. set the ideology of the weekly sitcom “Cheers” to real life here in our own backyard and that by all indications they have done a stellar job of doing just that in that they have created an atmosphere where people have become friends on a first name basis over the most healthiest food (all organic) and live musical entertainment that is second to none!

However, they did not even stop there ! The owners (Martin and Barbara Salinas) unselfishly flung open the doors of their business as a meeting place for the local animal care advocacy group for abused and abandoned pets !
Even more they rose to the occasion when local political incumbencies needed a platform to rally and dine, again their doors were opened. From these exploits alone, it seems pretty clear that they both Love and take great Pride in their Community and invariably raises the question….. “do we” ?

Apparently not, because due to (non-patronage) they too, are slated for closure in about 6 months.
How sad. A community is not defined by where the county boundary lines merge nor by the lay of the land but rather by the residents who comprise it, in other words….US !!

I won’t bore your readers with vague statements, just hard facts.
I think this trumpets a very loud and pathetic statement about the residents here that because of turning a blind eye to a business that has given so much and yet received so little (even to the point of closure), I am exercising my Civic Duty (as should we all) to say ” is it that we wouldn’t know a gift horse even if it looked us in the mouth or rather is it that we as a community have grown so apathetic that we actually don’t give a damn” ?

This is a question that we all should ask ourselves and please, don’t forget to answer it !
To the Salinas family @ Liquid Soul, I say Kudos for a magnificent job and a very heartfelt THANK-YOU!!

Concerned Citizen,

Jeffrey Allen

Ed. Note:

Mr. Allen is correct, there seems to be a shift of locally owned & operated businesses closing shop here in the area.
Mayor Ron Harding’s statement in the Friday, November 12, 2010 edition of the Nisqually Valley News seems to underscore our community’s lack of leadership when he says,

“Another bonus [about the Les Schwab Tire Store opening], Harding said, is chain businesses such as Les Schwab, Walmart and Safeway draw other businesses into the community,” quoting Megan Hansen’s report.

Yes, Harding is correct; more “chain businesses” are drawing-in more “chain businesses”. Yelm’s main street has been likened to becoming Spanaway’s Pacific Ave, what with all of the worldwide names of chain stores here.
With the Les Schwab opening, Yelm has finally arrived at that description.
“Chain busineses” as Harding calls them, are mulit-national corporations that pay the highest price for road-frontage land, as local property owners cash-out along Yelm Ave. before the values drop further.
CLICK HERE for more about tumbling property assessments around here.

YES, “chain stores” have hired local employees & those jobs are wonderful. However, non Puget Sound-based stores expatriate their funds out of this state and back to their headquarters, while our locally owned businesses struggle & tank, as Mr. Allen so aptly stated. When they do, the “chain businesses” end up directing the agenda here, dictated by direction and guidance of how things are done in their stores coming down frorm a headquarters thousands of miles away.
Les Schwab Tire Centers are based in Oregon, as an example.

And with Yelm Mayor Ron Harding also serving as Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce President, his statement is even more ominous.
His policy of grow, grow, grow – develop, develop, develop has come at a price to Yelm businesses (water rate increases, tax increases, water irrigation cutbacks, loss of tax revnue when huge developments tanked & the city had no liens, etc.).
These continued action demonstrate little regard to the future of Yelm and impacts on air, traffic, water, and current fellow Chamber business owners.
And, the challenges by area officials towards locally owned businesses discussed here previously many times underscores this even more.

Mr. Allen’s letter warrants all of us becoming a “town crier”. BRAVO!

Posted by Steve on November 15, 2010 at 4:54 am | Permalink

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