Monday, March 28, 2005

The trials and tribulations of being Portsmouth

The Saga continues.

So, last month Robbie's Hardware closed. The owners weren't quite on the up-and-up with the local press, or so the scuttle goes. They closed in main measure because they couldn't see themselves competing against Home Depot in addition to the Lowe's which is already here in town.

And, then, news last week:
The city’s efforts to redevelop Midtown received a major setback this week when Home Depot pulled out of a deal to open a store on the former I.C. Norcom High School site.

The company’s decision surprised city officials, who had crowed that the home improvement giant would help spark retail interest in the area.

“Everybody was hoping it would happen,” said J. Ovid Keene, chairman of the city’s Economic Development Authority, which owns the Norcom property. “People are very disappointed that they didn’t come through.”

The loss of Home Depot shouldn’t affect the sale of the former MidCity Shopping Center nearby, Economic Director Steven L. Lynch said. Although Lynch wouldn’t confirm the proposed buyer, other city officials have acknowledged that a Wal-Mart Supercenter is proposed for the now-vacant MidCity property.
Almost serves the City's decision makers right: they don't see the value in homegrown business and think the saving grace is going to be some huge outside firm.

Right. Like some outside firm gives a shit about the quality of life here in Portsmouth; they want one thing, and one thing only: profit.

And, speaking of poor moves, Broad Street Books has re-opened its doors, now in Ghent. I stopped in on Saturday; the place is 2 to 3 times as large as the last store and there was a steady stream of customers buying up Susan's stock. Once again, Portsmouth's loss is another city's gain.

As to Home Depot?
But Home Depot’s internal real estate board eventually decided the deal wasn’t the best, company spokesman Don Harrison said.

“It was a business decision,” he said. “Somewhere in that mix we just decided it wasn’t going to work.”
I hate to say it, but can I blame them?

And to think that one city official sees Old Navy and Barnes & Noble in Mid-Town. Mr. Lynch, I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. I have a better chance of winning the Mega Millions tomorrow night.

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