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Jeff Lacy: Consumer choices drive local businesses

To the editor:

I am strongly in agreement with the April 12 letter-writer (“Let’s give thanks to Mountain Goat owners”) concerning the former Mountain Goat store and other venerable existing local businesses in Northampton. I could have written a similar letter about Amherst, so I will now.

When I arrived in the early 1980s, you could buy men’s clothing and shoes, hardware, drugs from a local pharmacy, groceries, records (remember them), outdoor gear, and lots and lots of books downtown. Now, those storefronts are filled by restaurants and coffee shops. Don’t get me wrong, we do enjoy dining out, but I’d trade half those eateries for one decent shoe store.

This metamorphosis wasn’t happenstance. People voted with their dollars and the rich diversity of locally owned businesses disappeared. And where has that left us?

As far as I’m concerned, unless you’re hungry or thirsty, downtown Amherst is a much less compelling place today.

Perhaps this is the kind of Valley residents want, steadily getting more like everywhere else.

But I don’t think so; after all, isn’t the difference why we live here? So, please be mindful that every dollar you spend supports something. What will you support?

Jeff Lacy

Shutesbury

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