If you live in Sierra Madre long enough eventually you will lose something. Your cynicism, your fear of saying hello to unknown neighbors on the street, or maybe your natural inclination not to get involved. Some of us start to lose our interest in the outside world and our firm grasp of reality, but that's a topic for another day. Inevitably, we all lose people and places we have enjoyed and that stand out for us in the community.
Today, I made what will probably be my last trip to . Husband and wife team of Jeffrey Ingwalson and Sally Morrison are .
I remember being a little jealous when they first opened because I felt like they stole my dream. I wanted to open a bookstore in town someday and they beat me to it. I am miles away from ever even considering opening a business, and as the book business continues to evolve (or devolve) I applaud them for taking a chance on a business they loved and for giving it a good run.
Truth is that now I am feeling a little guilty because I didn't shop there all that often. Couple times year I would go in during special events or for Christmas and birthday presents. I should have been there more regularly. You would think I would have bought out the stacks as often as I had spare cash, but I didn't. And it was not because of any shortcoming on the part of the store. Every time I went in I found something to buy and enjoyed my visits. I just didn't go in that often.
The city is working through a . We talked about this a few months ago when they for the document. One of the issues that Sierra Madre continues to struggle with is convincing residents to spend their money in town. That means having a useful, beneficial, interesting and diverse mix of businesses downtown. And it would be nice if those stores could also benefit other local artists or business people.
We've got great gift stores. We've got new restaurants. And we've got salons. But even those places have clients coming in from out of town while us locals go elsewhere. I will admit to my total culpability in this tragedy. And for as close as they are, sometimes shopping at these stores actually takes a little extra effort.
So what is missing? Some things we have lost and we can't get back like Howie's. But they left because they weren't making enough money to stay. So what do we really want that we could really keep around for a long time? What are we willing to commit to and try not to lose? If books still exist and I ever get to open my bookstore will you be loyal customers?