Dear Editor:This letter is in response to the front page article "Downtown Coffeehouse Closes" in the Sept. 17th edition of The Item.
Let me first start by saying that I am sad to see another small business close in this area. It is unfortunate that the owner of the coffee shop felt that the area could not support her business and that the local organizations could not work together to build a prosperous Hamburg. I fear that she is not alone in her thinking. Unfortunately, it is the close minded who will look at the deeper problem and bury their head to avoid conflict. Many will say that the owner should have done this or that to keep her head above water. Trust me when I tell you this, many of these same people do not realize the commitment it takes to run a small business. I am a local business owner. My clients (most of them local) are what keeps me going. I am fortunate to not have parking issues like some businesses downtown. However, I still face the same challenges as everyone else. But this is not about me, it is about a much bigger issue.
On the blog that was posted at Hard Bean, she criticized the Journey Cafe for selling smoothies and coffee at their coffee bar. I feel that was ridiculous to compare a non-profit organization with a business. I was the volunteer barista on Thursdays at the Journey Cafe after school program. Matter of fact, I would usually go to the Hard Bean to get a caramel frappe and then take it with me to volunteer behind the coffee bar at the Journey! I do not believe that in any way we ever intended to put out a local business by selling inexpensive drinks to kids after school. The Journey was built on the premise of being a "safe, yet fun" place for kids to feel like they belong to something. As a side note, while they are there they can get a drink at the coffee bar. The coffee bar is certainly not the only reason for kids to hang out there. Many kids who do come there have built relationships with the volunteers and it is their "safe haven." But this letter is also not about the Journey Cafe.
She also states in her blog that some downtown organizations are unwilling to work together for the good of the community. While we may choose to put that fact aside, it is a harsh reality for some people. I also was a past member of the board of OTF. I heard about the constant struggles of the local business owners in town. You need to be proactive in solving your own issues within your own business. You cannot blame an organization whose director and staff spend countless hours trying to solve everyone's issues. I do not think that the owner of the Hard Bean was at fault here either. She put herself out there several times by voicing her opinion about what needed to be done. She was proactive in her own business, but that is not the purpose of this letter either.
The purpose of this letter is to raise some concern as to why a local newspaper would use a blog on a website to write an article out of context. Although her opinions were posted in her blog, I feel that was in poor taste to publish them in this manner. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they shouldn't be published in the local newspaper without explanation. Dirt sells. That is a shame in this country we live in that we cannot focus on the positive. Don't we have enough negative in the world already? Yet we continue to blame everyone else for our problems, never taking responsibility for our own actions. I know you have to sell papers, but come on, at whose expense?
Local business cannot thrive without local support. Whether you like it or not, that is the harsh reality of small town business. It has been said many times before that people in this area don't like change and are therefore stifling their progress and growth. Let's wake up and not let that happen to us. Our children need to grow up in a thriving community, with people who work toward the common good for everyone whether they get along with each other or not.
I personally wish the owner well in whatever her new business endeavor may be. I sincerely hope that she is successful. Everyone deserves a second chance.
Sincerely, Denele L. Kramer
Owner, Shine Hair & Nail Studio