First, kudos to all our merchants for coming together in the quest to “Save Downtown Princeton”!
As a loyal Princeton shopper – I could not be more pleased and I wish them much success for all our sakes!
I remain at a loss for how we came to our decline and perhaps it no longer matters. At this time, it appears that our merchant committee is diligently at work looking for solutions! Let nothing deter their enthusiasm!
We came to Princeton eleven years ago and already I feel like an old timer who can talk with nostalgia about the good old days. Things were very different in 2003. It was not a boom time – yet, there appeared to be development potential, our real estate was affordable, our downtown stores were occupied and diverse, and most of our restaurants were quite busy. In short, you could buy most your basic needs right here in Princeton and our downtown streets were lively.
Somehow, along the way we lost that critical mass of product availability and customers – which leads me to my little story.
Not long ago I was sewing some curtains. I realized that my thread might not make it to completion so I went off looking for a spool of matching thread. Try as I might, in the entire town I found only similar little kits of low quality mini-rolls – the sort you keep in your camper in case of emergency. So – the hem of my curtains does not exactly match the top and sides – but it’s okay.
Next, I foolishly put a pair of pants in the dryer and shrunk them in length (should have read the directions). Ever the optimist, I said to my self – I will false hem them! Alas, my bottomless sewing kit no longer contained any wide, black seam binding. So – back I went to the Princeton tour of possible seam binding sources. Alas – no luck! My poor pants languished in the in basket!
At last, last Sunday, my husband relented and, in search for my seam binding, we took an otherwise unnecessary trip to the Cherry Lane Mall in Penticton. I had a chance to feast my eyes on my favorite things – jewelry, shoes, new fashions, new books and new electronics – a pleasant excursion, and yes, I found my seam binding! Since we were in Penticton anyways, of course, we went on a little bargain hunt at Wal-Mart! During our Penticton wanderings we ran into several familiar Princeton faces – so a fair amount of Princeton money was probably left behind in Penticton.
The point of the story is simple! I spent a third of a tank of gas and most of a day because I needed a $2.00 package of seam binding!
It is sometimes fun to have an outing and we will all continue to make those trips to the big cities. I am not suggesting that Princeton can ever compete with Cherry Lane Mall or Wal-Mart – but we can do better – and – once upon a time, we did! Good old Stedman’s would have had my machine quality thread, my seam binding, and all manner of other interesting, practical things – sigh!
We have found that if you can buy an item here at home, the greatest Penticton bargain is unlikely to compensate for the cost of getting there! We rarely shop outside Princeton for our personal or business needs, but many local people make the shopping trip to Penticton or Merritt a routine in their lives.
It is a chicken and egg dilemma. Merchants need a customer base to make a reasonable living! Shoppers, to buy locally, need access to a diversity of simple, everyday things!
In last week’s News Leader we read that the Overwaitea site has been sold, but we do not yet know what it will become. Good news, because anything new is better for the downtown core than a big, empty building. A car dealership has been suggested. I buy a new car once every few years, but I buy new shoes and accessories every season! I would buy them here if I could, so I am hoping for something more multi-faceted!
Our Merchant Committee faces the daunting challenge of creating the needed supply and demand balance for Princeton. I hope the Princeton community will rise to the occasion and show them the support they need!
Let us remember that not all publicity is good publicity unless you are celebrity! Let us vow to talk less about the negatives – accent the positives! Participate in community groups and events! Encourage people to move here!
Become a Princeton booster!
Karin Green, Princeton, B.C.