Saturday, June 7, 2014

Inevitable End?

Food For Thought Books

Like losing a child, it's almost impossible to describe to those who have not endured it the heartbreak that coincides with locking the door to your long-time business one last time.

In America -- built on the unforgiving survival of the fittest model -- it happens all the time. 

A majority of small business start ups fail to celebrate their first anniversary, and the vast majority do not make it to double digits.

Food For Thought Books' run of 38 years was stellar.

The Internet has, after all, changed everything -- giving consumers the instant ability to find exactly what they want at the cheapest price possible.  Even worse for book and record stores or DVD rental shops (or print newspapers): the very nature of the product has been transformed from physical to digital.

Jeffery Amherst Books closed in town center half dozen years ago after 70 years in business

The upside is when consumers pay less for products they keep more money in their pockets, which they can spend on other products at another -- hopefully local -- business.

The downside is now we have another vacant commercial spot in the heart of Amherst, a town with far too few businesses as it is. 

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Huh? There are hardly any open storefronts in downtown Amherst. Restaurants are businesses by the way.

Anonymous said...

Just read the Amherst Bulletin. It has an article with the headline: Boltwood Walk Adding Restaurants.

Walter Graff said...

Clearly Larry meant to say retail businesses. Amherst is like the food court of a mall but without the mall. That might be okay for a restaurant but it gives little reason for people to shop in town or even be in town. That's why the two Amherst trollies are more like the Mr. Rodgers trolley as it goes in circles with no one on board and no place to bring people. And inevitably the failure rate of restaurants is higher if there is nothing more to bring you to town than another restaurant.

All is not lost with books as an upside in the book department is that Amazon has expanded reading and access to books while empowering many self-published authors, the same ones whom were once rejected by traditional publishers. And these individual publishers do far better in royalties than the Big Five houses would ever offer them.

As many people all over the country now say, going to a brick and mortar bookstore just isn't that fun anymore. Just because Amherst is a college town doesn't mean that should be any different. With tablets and smartphones, we can virtually go anywhere and get a better experience than looking at a lone book on a shelf in a dumpy looking store with the ambiance of a doctors office.

Anonymous said...

Food For Thought was a peddler of hateful propaganda in the service of bloody-handed ideologies of tyranny and madness. It survived only as long as it did because of donations from limousine leftists and the ignorant narcissism of aging radicals.

Good riddance.

Larry Kelley said...

Didn't your mother ever teach you it's not nice to speak ill of the dead? (Or is that just an Irish thing?)

Dr. Ed said...

Larry -- Blogger just "ate" a lengthy piece I just wrote about how your mother wouldn't have said that about corporations, even if they "are people", because (as I'm sure your Priest can explain far better than I) they lack souls.

I would not have written it the way Anon 10:10 did, and I would defend its right to peddle its vile & hateful propaganda, but I am glad that FFT is gone.

Victor Davis Hansen has a NRO Article on America's Midevil Universities that I would encourage all to read.

FFT was the "canary in the coal mine" and you'll need to understand that this isn't the 1970's anymore. UMass (as you know it) is dying, Amherst (as you know it) is dying as well -- and the lifestyle you enjoy is not sustainable.

Robbing you of health and wealth said...

"Food For Thought was a peddler of hateful propaganda in the service of bloody-handed ideologies of tyranny and madness. It survived only as long as it did because of donations from limousine leftists and the ignorant narcissism of aging radicals."


Hey easy therrrrrre

eeeeeasssyyyyy.


Chimpanzees HATE reproach.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGRCF2dW_XM


Ponziville, the ~sickest~ village

in America.


Sick

and infecting the planet.


-Squeaky Squeaks

Dr. Ed said...

I'll go further: Larry, you are from here but a lot of other folks aren't. How many of you who came out to UMass in the early '70's and stayed here would have if you'd encountered riot-gear-clad police officers at every turn, as kids do now?

I'm told that back in the 1970's (when the drinking age was 18, incidentally), when the bars closed at 1AM, UMass students would walk back to campus, en masse, singing "power to the people" and such.

Amherst didn't have an open container ordinance until 1987 or so -- before that, you could walk downtown with an open beer and I'm told that people did. I'm also told that the tradition of "mudslides" in Orchard Hill & behind Baker evolved from "Beer Slides" -- there would be so much beer (and foam) spilled from tapped kegs that at the end of the day the ground would be muddy.

I'm told that fraternity parties (at now-demolished and/or reused fraternity houses, the AHA owns one such building) dispensed so much beer that there were often empty kegs stacked up along the wall -- and I know a grocery store assistant manager who told me he sprained his knee when empty kegs cascaded down on him one night.

Larry, your generation was no more angelic than the GenME kids are -- I'd argue that the UMass students of the 1970s were far worse than those of today -- and they stayed in Amherst because the community welcomed them, notwithstanding their youthful indiscretions. (It also helped that the community was willing to build housing for them -- the housing shortage occurred because folks other than UM students were/are living in housing initially built for UM students -- because the then-UM students didn't leave when they graduated.)

This generation of UM students is instead confronted by an increasingly fascist UMass and an increasingly hostile town. Cops clad in riot gear. And like the Oak trees on Kellogg Avenue, the town is rotting from the inside-out -- there is no new growth and *that* is part of why you lost your bookstore....

Anonymous said...

"UMass (as you know it) is dying, Amherst (as you know it) is dying as well -- and the lifestyle you enjoy is not sustainable."

Sure, Ed, sure. Have you been over to the beautiful new UMass Commonwealth Honors College?

And the town is dying? That's why a developer is vying to replace the Carriage Shops with a $6 million mix of retail and apartments.

Live the fantasy.

Anonymous said...

Amherst retail IS DEAD. It has become a revolving food court. There are some empty storefronts in town and it's taking a longer time to find tenants than in the past. I think the power brokers have done a good job hyping and spinning the vibrancy of the downtown. It only makes sense that as the Internet has hammered brick and motor retail that the spaces that house will lose value as retail space. The Carriage Shop development is a residential project most of the retail development has been in Hadley.

Anonymous said...

book stores are dying…change with the times or die with them.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:04,

Care to elaborate for one of your fellow readers who never stepped into Food for Thought.

Thanks,

Anonymous said...

As a loyal local yokel, I am sorry to see FFT go. I supported when I could with donations over recent few years, and although I personally detest many of the attitude and philosophies so dear to the management, merchandising manager and core clientele, I bought cards or gifts there and tried to do my part in hopes they'd stay in business. I will miss the 'vibe.'

Anonymous said...

"It only makes sense that as the Internet has hammered brick and motor retail that the spaces that house will lose value as retail space."

Yes, and just try and get a coffee and a donut tomorrow morning over the Internet.

Anonymous said...

I said retail space. How many coffee spaces can Amherst hold? Besides you can buy donuts and cookies online. I buy my coffee online.

When cognitive dissonance gives you the warm fuzzies said...

"...although I personally detest many of the attitude and philosophies so dear to the management, merchandising manager and core clientele, I bought cards or gifts there and tried to do my part in hopes they'd stay in business."


Aw, Goddess bless you.


(-----> ? <-----)


-Squeaky Squeaks

DaveMB said...

Larry -- your noble sentiments predate even Christianity, as it was the Roman poet Horace who said "de mortuis nil nisi bonum."

Anonymous said...

"of the dead, nothing unless good"