Monday, July 15, 2013

Final Curtain

 316 College Street, Amherst

After 28 years serving families of Amherst and surrounding towns, the New England Dance Quarters on College Street is no more.

Summers are always tough in Amherst, a "college town" where almost half the population abandons ship by June 1st.

And this time of year is especial tough on high-energy fitness related businesses as most folks do not want to be indoors dancing up a storm on a gorgeous summer day.

I also have to wonder if the declining target demographic -- young families with children -- isn't also a major factor:

According to the Amherst Housing Production Plan, "Young families are rapidly declining as adults age 25 to 44 decreased from 7,323 in 1990 to 4,009 in 2010 a drop of 45.3%. The widening affordability gap will continue to present a substantial obstacle to young families being able to live in Amherst."

Meanwhile, two doors down:



15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would good be a good place for a pizza or coffee shop.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ask the owner instead of "I've got to wonder"? Could be business was slow. But it also could be:

Retired due to illness.
Tired of teaching.
Moved to be closer to family.
Or, a lot of other reasons.

Look at Adventure Outfitters in Hadley. He closed because he wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Why is it a problem to have a change in demographics? You know, things change and it's a pretty vibrant town with lots of stores, restaurants and businesses. Have you been to other nearby towns lately?

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something? Doesn't the journalist go and interview the person first, rather than just speculate because they already have a foregone conclusion?

Larry Kelley said...

Over 40 years of health fitness industry involvement (including running a karate school/health club for 28 years) I have seen hundreds-- if not a thousand -- businesses come and go.

98.5% of the time it's because "business was slow," but in 75% of those cases a press release was issued (or note left on the door) citing one of the other reasons mentioned by Anon 8:47 AM.

The very simple fact to keep in mind is a business in this related field, if SOLD in an orderly way, is worth TWICE the most recent annual revenues.




Anonymous said...

"it's a pretty vibrant town with lots of stores, restaurants and businesses. Have you been to other nearby towns lately?"

Actually, I have. Northampton has many businesses that year round residents want to shop in but Amherst has very few of those, and if you walk downtown, most of the businesses we have are food industry related.
But I also suspect that you weren't in town when we had two drug stores (both locally owned), two hardware stores, men's and women's clothing stores, a grocery store, a large bike/running shop, another runner shop, and a variety of other businesses that were patronized by the local population, and owned by the local population. Sadly, with the malls in Hadley being built, those places have all gone away and we are left with places in Amherst to dine, and shopping for necessities in other towns.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the owner decided to close the dance studio due to retirement. She is a good friend of mine, and just decided that after 30years, her time was up.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, the demographic shift you cite is far more dramatic than it appears because of the concurrent shift of a lot of rental housing from UM students to single mothers with Section 8 vouchers.

Take, for example, Brittany Manor. Back in the '80s, that was rented almost entirely by either UMass students or recent graduates (including the couples with children). Two decades later, the pool was filled in, the complex bifurcated into Southpoint and The Boulders, with almost all of the former and a good chunk of the latter becoming Section 8 rentals.

The single mothers show up in your "aged 25-44" statistics, their children show up in your child statistics, both of which serve to obscure how dramatic the change has been.

Bluntly, Amherst has changed from a left-leaning town where young people married each other and then had children to one where single mothers have children via random men with whom they (and the child) may or may not have any continuing relationship.

Single mothers husbanded by the government, a far better provider than any of the assorted men in their lives. Instead of a "father", the male adult in the household -- the mother's live-in boyfriend -- has an average tenure of 18 months. (Mean average,I suspect Median & Mode would be a lot less, and the figure comes from the Pioneer Institute's study of housing in Boston, it's the only relevant statistic I know of.)

Yes, marriages broke up, lots of people ought never have been married in the first place, and sometimes a partner would die. My point is that notwithstanding both its leftist tilt and the quite-visible exceptions, Amherst was a place where young couples got married first and then had children -- or at least got married before the bride's pregnancy was visibly apparent.

Ronald Reagan's attack on "Welfare Queens" had traction because most people worked. Most families at least started with the father (a) living in the household, (b) officially living there, and (c) leaving there each day and going to a job -- which in Amherst often was a job that paid well enough for children to afford things like dance lessons.

Now you have a town where there are women whose four children were fathered by four different men, the current locations of which (and sometimes even their last names) are "unknown."

Taking children to dance lessons is something that YUPPIE couples aspiring for social advancement did/do -- and if that demographic is no longer around, well...

Dr. Ed said...

One other important thing on the shift to single mothers on public assistance -- children need fathers.

Boys need male role models -- and girls do too. Girls need to know what it is to have a man who loves them -- but who isn't trying to get into their pants.

I am socially conservative because I have seen why such values are necessary and what happens without them.

I have seen what "the boyfriend of the month" model of parenting does to children -- and it isn't pretty.

Anonymous said...

So Amherst's economic demise is the fault of motherhood? Whew~what sexist, ignorant, close minded, stereotype, comments you make! How on earth would you know anything about any of this, unless of course you've fathered a few of these children you speak of? This level of pure ignorance truly is astounding. :(

Anonymous said...

"Actually, the owner decided to close the dance studio due to retirement. She is a good friend of mine, and just decided that after 30years, her time was up."

Stop! You are spoiling Larry's idle musings which have no basis. No facts must be let in to disturb them.

Re-arranging deck chairs in chimp valley said...

"She is a good friend of mine..."


Yeah, she's a good friend of yours alright.


Yeah yeah.


Like the rest of em.




Walter Graff said...

"Am I missing something? Doesn't the journalist go and interview the person first, rather than just speculate because they already have a foregone conclusion?"

Guess you missed all the shameful coverage of the Zimmerman story. The media fabricated everything they could and now we are paying for it.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess, Wally. You believe Trayvon deserved what he got. Even though if Zimmerman had just stayed in his car that night like the police told him to do Trayvon would be alive today.
I do not know if Zimmerman should have been convicted of manslaughter or not - I did not watch the trial on tv. But I do know, without a shadow of doubt, that if Zimmerman had just stayed in his car and minded his own business, the shooting would not have happened.

Dr. Ed said...

So Amherst's economic demise is the fault of motherhood?

I was explaining a demographic shift and what does not appear in the statistics.

Perhaps viewing this in terms of "motherhood" is best -- not only are there fewer "mothers" in Amherst, there are even fewer "fathers" in Amherst.

There has been a shift from "mothers" who are married to the "father", who is both living in the household and economically supporting the family, to "mothers" who don't even know who (let alone where) the father's *are* and where the rest of us are forced to support the family -- in a multitude of ways.

Whew~what sexist, ignorant, close minded, stereotype, comments you make!

Heaven forbid you confuse yourself with facts.

I'm more than able to spew vitriol as well, but it doesn't negate the fact that in addition to the decline in real numbers of both young adults and children, there has been a shift from young married couples with children to unmarried women with children.

There also another statistic often obscured in the statistics of racial demographics and shouldn't be -- there has been a shift from well-educated women bearing children to poorly-educated women bearing children.

Notwithstanding the shortcomings of associating diplomas with education, on a macro scale they are a statistically valid indicator of education.

A woman either did or did not graduate from high school. A woman either did or did not go on to attend a post-secondary institution and if she did, she either did or did not graduate from it.

The "mothers" in Amherst today are less educated than the "mothers" in Amherst were 25 years ago -- perhaps one of the few things I will agree with Team Maria on is that (a) this has happened and (b) has created challenges for the schools that did not exist a quarter century ago.

How on earth would you know anything about any of this,

How about by working nearly five years in public housing and having my eyes open?

unless of course you've fathered a few of these children you speak of?

I find this comment as offensive as stating that a woman "is a slut who can't manage to keep her legs together." As it would not be socially acceptable to say that about any woman, why is it acceptable to nonchalantly say the same thing about a man?!?!?!?!?!?!?

If I had fathered any children, it would be with a woman to whom I was married and with whom I was living. There was a time when the same would have been expected of any respectable male or female, and I argue that things were better back then.

I don't make blanket judgments of other people -- I don't make blanket judgments of single mothers -- and I don't appreciate having them made of me.

This level of pure ignorance truly is astounding

Yes, but whose ignorance?

And the larger question is as the people who *were* married come to realize that there isn't enough money to fund the Social Security promises that were made to them, how much longer do you think they will continue to subsidize the never-married single mother with four different children by way of four different men?

One of the things that people soon will be realizing is that the crackdown on "deadbeat dads" is soon to be an equal one on "deadbeat moms" -- when society realizes that it is cheaper to put the children into an orphanage and require both parents to contribute, that's gonna happen.