There is no “they”

Jeff Genung

“The Great American in Oxford will be closing very soon. It will be a big loss to the community. What are people who don’t drive or senior citizens going to do? The town fathers need to get busy to find someone to take their place. They should have been on top of this before it happened.”
Woman from Oxford

I couldn’t disagree more, Woman from Oxford. I’m all for blaming our local, state and federal governments for just about anything, but I can’t count among their responsibilities providing me with a decent grocery store in close proximity.

And yet, every time a business closes, or when a larger chain opens, the knee-jerk reaction of the people seems to be to blame the “town/city fathers” for “allowing” a business to close, or “allowing” a big box retailer to come in and crush the little guy. Someone on our ES Forum a few months back blamed the Norwich BID for “allowing” the sale of Eckerd’s to Rite-Aid!

These issues are not the purview of the government, folks. Familiarize yourself with the concepts of free enterprise and capitalism before you admonish the government for not being more involved in business. Sure, governing bodies can make an area more attractive to businesses, they can enact laws and tax structures that make it easier to actually do business here, but they cannot – and should not – make businesses come here, stay open, or stay away.

The closing of the Oxford Great American is surely a great loss to the community (or, more precisely – the lack of a decent, clean and friendly full-service grocery store is a detriment to the village), but its impending closure is a business decision. For whatever reason, I’m assuming that it was no longer profitable for that business to operate in Oxford, so they’re closing for good in August. The operators of that store were under no obligation to inform the “town fathers;” nor, do I believe, is it the obligation of the “town fathers” to find a grocery store to replace it!

For years I’ve fielded comments to ‘30 Seconds” saying “they” should put in a Target. Or “they” should put in a Ponderosa, Old Country Buffet, Microsoft chip plant, you name it … and I always wondered who the caller thought “they” was. There is no “they.”

Town of Norwich Supervisor Dave Law has enjoyed an embarrassment of riches lately in new business ventures coming to the town, and while I’m sure he aided in the process, I highly doubt that he (or any other elected official) is what “brought” Lowe’s to town. Lowe’s came to town because Lowe’s thought they could make a buck here. Great American is skipping out of Oxford because Great American can’t make a buck there. Stop and think how it works before you go blaming “they.”