Jane wrote that her children's bookstore "never could have become a landmark in the community if my landlords over the years had had their eye only upon the almighty dollar. We, and other mom-and-pop retail stores, have been willing to work for something that was for the good of the community, rather than only with the idea of bringing in top dollars to pay a high rent." She writes about the small, independently owned stores being phased out in deference to large chain stores with no connection to the town or the surrounding community.
Maureen, the new owner being forced to relocate, refers to these speculators from the Westside buying property in Montrose Shopping Park and squeezing out existing tenants by tripling their rent. She asks how it is possible for a small business to sustain the kind of rent that these people are expecting.
The answer, of course, is that it's not possible; and so the store must go. Picture in its place another hamburger franchise, and then picture other establishments along Honolulu Boulevard converting to big-name chain stores and, voilà, our little town is lobotomized and transformed into "any town USA" — big-name clients, high-end trendy merchandise, bland food and bland proprietors interested only in a bottom-line profit. Creating, in short, a town without a personality.
Maureen writes, "People decide to live around here because of the small-town feel Montrose has been providing for more than 90 years." I know that to be true for all of the 50-plus years I have resided here. Only in recent years has it occurred to me that there are corrosive elements that threaten to invade our little town and strip it completely of its charm and individuality. They masquerade as free enterprise and entrepreneurships, but they are driven by one thing, and one thing only — profit.