Archive for Sunday, August 4, 2013

Letter: Downtown nostalgia

August 4, 2013


To the editor:

Thursday was a nice day to be outside working in the garden ... cool, breezy, the sky a perfect blue.

I was thirsty after the morning’s work and thought I’d treat myself to a cool drink at one of our local cafes. Suddenly, memories of sitting at Woolworth’s soda fountain were unfolding in my mind, and I wished once more that Lawrence still had its old “five and dime” stores. I wanted to go sit at the old soda fountain; I paid a bit more and went to “The Roost.”

I needed a few personal items, a spool of white thread and some inexpensive curtain rods for a playroom. I would have loved to walk into Woolworth’s or Duckwalls downtown to make all of those purchases. I went to Walmart instead. Then there was the ice cream and gallon of milk I would have enjoyed purchasing at our now long-empty downtown grocery at 11th and Mass., the A&P.; Instead, because I live two blocks from downtown and currently choose not to drive, I rode the bus to Dillons’ grocery at 18th and Mass. The last was the best of the compromises I made.

People have often asked “So, do you like living close to downtown?” and are consistently surprised by my reply. Once, my answer would have been and was an enthusiastic “Yes!!” My answer now is really a question: Why isn’t our downtown for us? Equally interesting: If developers do succeed in filling up the expensive high-rise apartments and condominiums with more downtown residents, they, like all of us who already live here, will still need to shop at Walmart for the important things.


Brian Hall 4 years, 9 months ago

You couldn't buy thread at Stitch On or Yarn Barn? You couldn't buy ice cream at Sylas & Maddy's? You couldn't get a curtain rod at Weavers or Krings? You could've gotten milk at Iwigs at 19th & Mass or the new one in North Lawrence. There are numerous places where one can sit and get a drink and not have it be beer.

I can't tell if you are complaining about the lack of stores or the cost of stuff at local businesses.

Abdu Omar 4 years, 9 months ago

hummm, I never LIKE to shop at Walmart.

jack22 4 years, 9 months ago

Things change, that's life. If you want a store to remain downtown you have to patronize it so they stay in business. That's why I don't shop at Walmart.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

We haven't shopped at WalMart in years, except once when we were visiting relatives in a little town where WalMart had run all the other businesses out of town, no price matching there. There are plenty of other places to buy the same thing WalMart sells, and if you don't have to waste gas driving out south, then the price probably evens out in the end.

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

There are a few stores downtown that have recognized there are a lot of people in the downtown area and adjacent neighborhoods who need basic every day things so they carry items that are completely unrelated to the primary purpose of the store. Tobacco Bazaar on 8th Street has things like aspirin, toilet paper, and band aids. They're planning on adding a small produce section.

patkindle 4 years, 9 months ago

it is easy to blame walmart for all our retail problems, but if their parking lot wasn't full of customers all the time , they wouldn't be the success they are. the folks in my home town bragged for years about driving to neighboring towns to buy new cars because "all" the money they could save rather than do busness at the two local car dealers, now those two dealers are gone, and the same folks are now complaining because they don't have a legitimate shop to have their cars repaired or serviced. I have to laugh at them

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

Most people don't think about how much that trip to WalMart to save 50 cents actually costs them in time and fuel. They'll spend 45 minutes and drive ten miles on a round trip rather than walk four blocks and pay 50 cents more.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

A lot of people just think that WalMart is automatically cheaper, but they have to realize that the items are cheaply made as well. I would rather spend more money on something that was going to last, than some cheap thing that I have to recycle or send to the landfill in a couple of years. Being older, I remember a time when you bought a few quality clothing items and took care of them. Not anymore.

Kendall Simmons 4 years, 9 months ago

I'd like to know why Marilyn thinks it would even occur to the people who live in those "expensive high-rise apartments and condominiums" to shop at Walmart???

Heck, shopping at Walmart hasn't even crossed my mind for over a decade!

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

I don't shop at Walmart for myself however I do shopping for someone else there. I was there once and one of the floor managers was doing a survey and asked me why I liked shopping there. Told him I was shopping for someone else and never did any of my own there because I hated Walmart. When he asked me why I listed half a dozen different reasons. He seemed a little shocked by my response so I told him, "you asked me the question so I'm giving you an honest answer."

Bob Forer 4 years, 9 months ago

To those of you who declare to the world that you are too good to shop at Walmart:

I am not fan of Walmart. I don't like the way they treat their employees as well as the fact that they pay them less than a living wage. Add to that the third world labor they outrageously exploit.

But the fact remains that some folks simply can't afford to shop anywhere else.

Are you better than them?

mom_of_three 4 years, 9 months ago

exactly. Why it may only save .50 on one item, people usually buy more than one item. Many items are cheaper than the grocery store and if you go to walmart to do that sort of shopping, you can save lots of money.
When my kids were babies, I shopped there for formula, diapers, etc., because it was cheaper.
And while I agree with sycohophant that I don't like their employee practices, some people do not have a choice.

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