Wake up and face reality

Hastings video rentals in Santa Fe, NMVideo rental stores — they still exist in North America.

Earlier this summer, Heather and I drove down to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a short break. We decided to see a movie in the middle of the day, just because we could.  Nice.

The movie theater was in a dying mall. And even more dying than the mall was a Hastings store, providing books,  music — and video rentals. I won’t launch into why CDs are dying, bookstores are dying, and streaming video is the way to see a movie.

But I will talk about optimism. The owner of that mall — and even more so — the owner of Hastings — should cut their losses and sell now. It will be a loss to the community when they leave. If the owners can afford to provide that valuable service at a loss, more power to them. But how much do they really value providing that service?

Similarly, our local grocery store had a space with a local coffee shop and then a frozen yogurt stand. I knew from the moment they opened each little business that they were doomed to fail. Finally, they put in a Starbucks, and it seems to be doing well. That multinational chain has the resources to make a really nice shop — as well as huge brand recognition. The smaller coffee chain and the yogurt chain (or independent business owner) did not.

The final tale in this listing of doomed businesses is a new independent drive-through coffee shop on Broadway in Englewood, Colorado. The owners decided to build on the south-bound side of the street. Most people commuting to work from suburbia to downtown drive the other direction. When do people buy coffee? Morning, mostly. This small business will fail, sadly.

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Really shiny

shiny things at michaelsI am embarrassed at my comments about the chain of stores called Michael’s that I made to Heather just after we got married. I said something about how it was for ladies who were bored and had crafty tendencies — but I probably used more negative and judgmental words.

We went there recently and I just loved the shiny aisle. (Don’t worry — just seeing it for a few seconds and then three minutes later insisting that my daughter Rachel* see it was enough for me.) But how awesome that such a shiny aisle could exist in any store.

* (Shown.)

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An ode to some wonderful Simple Shoes

Simple ShoesI will miss these Simple Shoes. I bought them back in the mid-1990’s. They have lasted quite a long time. They’ve been comfortable and durable. They pushed the style of Converse All Stars in a new direction, back when they came out. (The Simple Shoes brand was launched in 1991.)

My friend Gary Cowman introduced me to this quintessential Californian brand. (Gary is a quintessential Californian, though he has lived in Africa for more than 20 years.) So after we left Africa for the first time, back in 1994, I had to pick up a pair. I think I even bought them at a mall in California.

I have had them re-heeled twice. My favorite shoe repairman (who I’ve never met, as his wife is the shop’s gatekeeper, and I think his command if English is lacking) even added some reinforcement around the inside achilles heel area.

But I finally had to say goodbye. They had become my junk shoes — what I would wear to mow the lawn. But the heel area became so worn out that my weak ankles couldn’t stand the lack of support. They’re on the way to the Goodwill. At least I took some pictures to be part of my digital memory.

Interestingly, the brand “Simple Shoes” has been dead for the last four years. They have had a very successful Kickstarter campaign to get back in business. (It ended just after I wrote this post. And they got more than four times what they requested!)

Look for Simple again — coming soon to a shoe store near you, I hope.

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Creativity has its price

creative-bootsI saw these boots in a shop window in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They were not, shall we say, my style. But they sparked an idea.

It would be fun to get some old cowboy boots from the Goodwill for next-to-nothing and paint them with an interesting design, to create some display-able artwork.

I have a bunch of interesting (to me) items displayed in my office. I would enjoy doing this boot project, at some point, to add to my office collection of fun stuff.

The price is simply time — and energy. At the moment, time is in short supply.

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