As a living being, you simply can’t live without it – but as anyone who may be concerned with blood flow – i.e. high pressure, low pressure – it is not just the blood but its continual flow that keeps you alive.
If you’re a business person, the constant flow of cash is the blood flow of business. It isn’t the collection of money but the flow that often dictates if a business will thrive or fail.
Which is why Newburyport is constantly threatened – there are times when our commercial district looks like a ghost town; either because of being off-season or the weather turns nasty and drives them out.
It is this concern that may cause businesses and landlords to decide a particular course of action.
To ensure continuity in the cash flow, restaurants and shops that are franchises survive better because if one location has a slowdown the other sites can take up the slack and keep the flow going.
Though the reasoning sounds good, it is a fatal mistake in Newburyport!
One of the most horrible facts in today’s economy is the sameness of our large malls – very little diversity is present – the only change is subtle – An A store Mall may have a better quality of selection compared to a B store Mall and even less quality in a C store Mall. But the same mix will be largely present.
If I can get the exact same food, product or service where there is plenty of free parking, is close by and convenient; why on earth would I travel to another community!?!
But let’s say someone like Newburyport Development can’t help themselves and looks for a big franchise to take up shop in our town.
And other landlords do the same until the same mix that you see in other communities shows up here.
So what happens next?
The customer no longer is attracted by the ‘specialness’ of the shop but is only interested in one thing: price point.
Again, if I can get the exact same food, product or service where there is plenty of free parking, is close by and convenient; why on earth would I travel to another community!?!
Unless the prices of the products are less!
Now begins the downward spiral of our city becoming a bargain store location. (Especially lower since so many have to pay for parking when they come.)
That means lower profits, that means a lower margin for a landlord like Newburyport Development and lower tax levy’s for the city, etc.
It isn’t long before the franchise decides to pull their stores out of Newburyport!
BUT FORTUNATELY NEWBURYPORT ISN’T LIKE THAT!!!!
The majority of our shops are unique, or one of a kind or are designed to fulfill a local or specialized cliental. Many simply can’t be found in other communities (Haverhill is a large city but does not have a single bookstore and it is hard pressed to find even a local coffee shop.)
We CAN afford to charge for parking because we have unique restaurants, we have unique shops, even our ice cream is unique – smattered in an historic and maritime setting that can’t be found in Burlington or Saugus. In fact, you can’t find our pretty downtown in resort cities like Gloucester, Salem or Portland! You can’t even find museums like the Custom House and the Cushing House – their history is not duplicable.
And because we are a unique location, we can charge more – because our specialness is worth the price for being here.
Yes, our businesses could give in to the tempting need for a steady cash flow just like the body needs a steady blood flow.
But just like humans, we as a community could die from low blood pressure!