Friday, May 08, 2009

Support Your Local Business, At Least Until It Does't Support You

Goodbye, Goldstream Store

My attempts to support local businesses and waste less time and money driving to town to buy groceries just got derailed by the actuality of to whom I'd be giving my money.

When the ownership of the local store in my neck of the woods, the Goldstream Store, changed hands last year, it did so quietly. At least so much so that I didn't really notice. The same employees worked there, the same woman was managing it ... there continued to be great beer specials and that neighborhood feel.

In fact, I hadn't given it much thought at all until last weekend, when I took a short jaunt down the road to pick up some cold beer and some groceries and a bunch of employees were out front by the road, holding signs urging us to boycott the store.

Now, I'm not much more than friendly acquaintances with the people who work there, but they do not strike me as layabouts, or unfriendly, or bad at their job. Quite the opposite. Meaning, I'm inclined to trust them. And they'd walked out Friday night, finally, after months of crappo behavior from the new owner.

Apparently, said owner doesn't want any gays, tattooed people or Catholics working at his store. He has been vocal about it in the months of his ownership, so much so that the employees finally walked out.

This explains why when I had last been to the store, a bunch of guys who didn't know what the hell they were doing were waiting on people to considerable delay. They didn't even know they had to charge us tax until one of the customers pointed it out. Not knowing how to do that, I got my beer tax free that night, as I imagine everybody else did. There were to be no cash purchases of gas, since they couldn't do that either.

If said new owner doesn't want the tattooed, or the Catholics, or the gay people, or whatever type of person doesn't conform to his narrow understanding of what a human being is working for him in in the Goldstream Valley - his business is going to go downhill real quick. Because we might look like a bunch of hyper conservative rednecks, but he bought a business in a notably progressive neighborhood.

10 comments:

KC said...

I... wow. I don't know what to say. Does that guy know where he is? I guess I can think of one place, worse for the new owner. He could have got a business in Ester.

dune45 said...

We joined the boycott last weekend also. Last purchase was a Sunday paper. We told the clueless and defensive friend of the owner at the counter that we wouldn't be back and why. So next time you need to buy something stop at Goldstream Store, tell them you need x items and walk out. An Alice's Restaurant movement!

CabinDweller said...

KC: Yeah, I mean, duh. Who does he think is his clientele? Does he know nothing about Goldstream Valley? If he wanted to behave in such a manner, he ought to have purchased a business in a locale more in sync with his nonsensee, like say, North Pole. Only Ester would have been a worse fit.

Dune45: I like your suggestion. Because I've been racking my brain about how to express my displeasure to said bozo, other than posting a letter or something. Maybe I'll walk in with a six pack I might have bought there (and instead purchased from Ivory Jack's next door.)

dune45 said...

I also thought about printing some "Lost Bucks" and just drop one of those off everytime I was going to buy something.

But I think the Alice's Restaurant strategy is more Valleyish...

Hire Intelligence said...

What a DumKopf. This is not happening in 2009. Please show you concern and vote with your dollars.

dan said...

Well, since the new owner isn't legally allowed to discriminate on the basis of either religion or sexual orientation (in Alaska at least), I wonder how long before he gets sued and sells the store to pay for his lawyer bills and the settlement of the case.

FlictheBic said...

WOW - I had heard rumors about teh picketing - but as I was out of town - couldnt follow up to find out why. THe greatest tradgey is that I still have two months left to the wine of the month club - given to me by "dweller and her SO - and I am not about to let those bottles go unclaimed. What idiocy. What tradgey - to lose the best little wine shop in all of Alaska. What WAS Vikki thinking when she sold to that loser?

Deirdre Helfferich said...

I've been in correspondence with the former employees, and have a writer who'll be following up on the bare-bones story that will appear in the May Ester Republic. I've been cc'd on some back and forth between the new owner, Paul Kopf, and the former employees, and their stories are diametrically opposed to each other, just flat-out contradictory. Unless there's something independently verifiable, it comes down to who you trust. Also the fact that there were four employees, all saying the same thing, and the new owner saying the opposite.

One thing that will also indicate who is speaking truthfully is attrition among the new crew of employees, and what their and customers' experiences are. We're looking into it.

CabinDweller said...

Deirdre,

I look forward to the article. I've been wondering how to find out what is going on since the issue started, but didn't know who to call. (And there is the whole 'no time' thing.)

Deirdre Helfferich said...

Well, as I said, this first article probably won't tell you a whole lot you don't already know, since there wasn't a lot of time to do serious investigation. The followup should have more, though.