Much has been said about local people shopping outside of the county and the revenue loss this creates for the county/city and the local retail establishments. Most has been from the perspective of the city and the local merchants but very little from that of the shoppers.
Thus, as a shopper, I would like to offer some suggestions to both the county/cities and the merchants.
First, it seems to me that most of the clothing merchants don’t seem to “have a clue” that they are doing business in the “oldest” county in the entire state. That is, there are more senior citizens in Nevada County than anywhere else. However, there are virtually no articles of women’s clothing available (at a decent price) that are appropriate for senior women; almost everything at Penney’s and Kmart, for example, is aimed at teens and young women. So where do I turn? Well, I do most of my clothing shopping from catalogs that do offer things that I like and need. So there go not only sales for merchants but tax dollars for the county/city.
Second and even of greater impact, I would think, is the fact that over and over I have found that what I need is not even carried locally, or if it is, it is exorbitantly priced. Here are four recent examples covering from small to large items.
Last June, I asked a friend what she wanted for her birthday. One of the things she listed was a heavy, oven-proof, four-cup measuring cup — Pyrex or similar make. I went everywhere in town where I expected to find a reasonably priced one, and there were none. On my next trip to Walmart, I got a very nice one for her at a decent price.
A few months ago, I needed a new ordinary bedspread to replace one that was wearing out. I did not want a comforter — just an ordinary chenille bedspread. There were even several colors that would have been acceptable. Could I find any in Grass Valley? No! So what did I do? Back to the catalogs where I found one perfect for my needs. So there went a $79-plus tax loss to Grass Valley. I even got free shipping because it was more than $50.
The third thing occurred quite recently. My VCR died. I have more than 400 VHS videos, so obviously I needed a new one. I called every place in Grass Valley that handled electronics like this, and not one of them had a VCR. The last person I talked with acted as if I had requested a dinosaur! Now I realize that DVDs are the latest thing, and I do have around 80 or so of them. But I certainly cannot afford to replace all of my videos with DVDs, and most of them aren’t even out on DVD! So what did I do? I went on Amazon, located a very nice Motorola VCR/DVD combo (I decided to get this since my DVD player is old), and they delivered it in three days! So there went a $90-plus tax sale for Grass Valley (and again, free shipping).
Fourth, a couple of years ago, I needed a new car. Well, surely everyone will know what happened here, right? No more car dealers in Grass Valley. So I bought a new Subaru at Gold Rush Subaru in Auburn. This meant a nearly $20,000-plus tax loss to Grass Valley.
All this to say that there’s a lot more to the problem than just we residents deciding to go out of town to shop. The local merchants and the county/city leaders need to examine how they are contributing to the problem. Why are there no new car dealers here anymore when there used to be four? And why have so many restaurants closed? I love a good buffet; there used to be a Sizzlers here, but no more. So now after my friends and I finish shopping at Walmart in Yuba City, we stop at Home Town Buffet for lunch.
Maybe the city is making things way too hard for business people to continue operating here. I do know that Trolly Junction was forced to close their lovely little train trip that probably took in good revenue by what seemed to me to be unnecessary and unreasonable regulations. Now they’ve closed all together.
Look at all the possible reasons for local loss of revenue before zeroing in on just your “bailing out” customers.
Camille S. Muir lives in Grass Valley.
The local merchants and the county\/city leaders need to examine how they are contributing to the problem.