The start of a new year always brings thoughts of the past year. Incremental changes year to year do not always reveal the big changes that have taken place over several years until finally, we discover that some things just are not the same.
Our neighborhood on the south end of Gold Beach is small. We were on the corner of two dead-end streets. One way in and one way out. Passing by our house is the same people, same cars, day after day. Those who live closer to the entrance see more traffic than those at the top of the hill.
We moved into this house twenty years ago and from our front porch, we can see the ocean, the beach, the reef, the Rogue River & the jetty. I can count nine houses on our section of the street/neighborhood. Our house makes ten.
But 2021 saw many changes that are visible just by sitting on our front porch swing.
The family who lived in the long-term rental for years has moved away. The duplex that seemed to house all of the troublemakers short-term, was sold. It is now being renovated into something nicer. Along with it, four others sold. They sold quickly. One was on the market for a single day, it sold first. Others were on the market for almost 30 days. All those listed for sale, sold. A total of five out of the ten houses I can see from our front porch swing sold in just the first few months of 2021.
When we first moved to Gold Beach, in January of 2000, we rented a home on Second Street for $500 a month from the late Chuck Stokes. That house could easily bring close to $1,500 a month if it was on the rental market today. Chuck told us that when we were ready to buy, he would be glad to sell us a house, then when we couldn’t find jobs, he would be glad to sell our house for us when we moved away.
At that time the average house spent 18 months on the market before it sold.
Chuck and I were on a first-name basis until his passing. One day we were driving around in his blue El Camino and he pointed out a house. “I have sold that one, eleven times since I became a realtor here in Gold Beach.”
My how times have changed since 2000. The average home was spending only a day or two on the market earlier this year.
Business has changed too. Online ordering, Amazon, FedEx, etc., all make it easier to get what we want. Walmart stores in big cities put the little guy out of business. We have seen it this year as we travel. Downtown boards up as Walmart moves in. Luckily Gold Beach is not in a location that is desirable to the big box stores. We have to rely on tourism and each other, the locals to succeed. But that too is changing day by day, year by year.
Why would I want to buy something locally if I can get it for a dollar less online and delivered? My UPS driver told me he has several places he makes deliveries to where the people rarely go out of their house except to buy perishables. Food, clothes, supplies were all delivered, nothing but milk and a few small items purchased locally.
These changes are occurring slowly and soon they will take over. You may laugh at this concept, but it could be that in the near future, there will be no need for local businesses.
Why buy Knick Knacks, cards, gifts at Corner Drug when you can get them online? Fishing or hunting gear online eliminates the need for the Rogue Outdoor Store. Certainly, that is the case with Gold Beach Books. Get a kindle, order your book from Amazon and save a whopping twenty-five cents to a dollar on your purchase.
The excuse of Covid has reduced our need to go outside, go shopping to nothing more than an inconvenient chore. However, there is a cost to this hermit-like mentality. The local businesses employ our neighbors, our friends, and our families. They also provide needed services.
Jim at the Outdoor Store relies on your business to feed his family, pay his employees who in turn spend money at the 76 Station and they employ several who then spend locally.
In 2002 many watched and wondered what was being built on the large lot. “A two-story building with an elevator” many exclaimed. It was a change to the face of town that all of us have benefitted from. Tourists from around the world have stopped there. Many a local has been employed there or benefitted directly and indirectly from Ted Watkin’s dream.
Now imagine Gold Beach without its bookstore. Carolyn, Leslie, and all the others that work there would be doing something else. Tourists would not have an attraction to stop and enjoy a coffee while picking something out to read on their travels.
On a side note, even the great Amazon hasn’t refined a way to deliver your order while you drive down the highway on vacation.
Support your local business as much as you can. Yes, some of the local businesses are NOT locally owned. They buy their goods elsewhere, spend their profits elsewhere. However, they do employ your neighbors, your friends, and your family. They also keep Main Street from looking like a ghost town like so many other towns in America that have fallen victim to Walmart or online shopping.
If you have an online store, good for you for thinking ahead, but just remember that as quickly as the real estate market in Gold Beach changes, so can shopping habits. Stay up on all of the new trends, keep your website up to date, and ask yourself this. . . “What is my MySpace password.” Times change, sometimes quickly, sometimes it is so gradual that we never even notice until it is too late.
“You should love your neighbor, as yourself.” Matthew 22:39 NKJV
Not only does this make sense in a moral and religious context but, if everyone in town spent one more dollar in one store, each month, those dollars would pay a full-time employee’s wage for the month. Feeding a family, making rent or mortgage payments, insurance, car payment, etc. What if the money was spent where you work? Perhaps it is your wages that those dollars would pay.
This is not a religious or political blog post, just one of common sense. It doesn’t take any talent or skill to spend your money. It does take some thought to be considerate, of how and where you spend your money.
Guest Author: EsQue