Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year ... Old Year

New Year's Eve. A time for reflection, a time for hope. Much has happened in our little community, some good, some not so good. The continuous leakage of residents unable to live here anymore is a stunning loss to local businesses, as well as to friendships and relationships.Several factors are at play here.

Certainly the demographics have changed, what with the new developers tearing some things down, building others. Perhaps the largest loss that might end up bankrupting the entire village, is the loss of tourist facilities. In pre-development days, only four years ago, we had four RV parks and two motels, one only being four rooms.We now have one motel of four rooms, two RV parks and where we had five eating facilities and three cocktail facilities, we now have one of the later and two of the former.I see some reasons here other than loss of population.

One, many residents don't bother to support the local businesses at all. To them they live in a bedroom community and don't eat out or stop at a local watering hole for a drink or two. I have spoken to many concerned locals and also business people. I'm going to tell you, no punches pulled, what the conclusions are that I have reached. No favorites, just the facts.

One, certainly those that do not drink alcoholic beverages shouldn't and won't be scolded for that. However, that being said, diner out once in a while wouldn't hurt any of you and will foreclose upon those arguments when the business go belly up from your neglect. It is cheaper to buy some of your needs at the Mercantile than driving into town. Use 'em or lose 'em, folks.

The third criticism I have, is to the folks that belong to and support the Bayview Chamber of Commerce. The word commerce is defined as follows: "The exchange of buying and selling commodities and services." As I currently understand the goals of the chamber, none of them include the support and promotion of local business. I have, as I wander through town, received several complaints from local merchants directed toward this neglect. If one wonders why none of the local business owners attend, that's the problem. No, actually, that's just one of the problems. The other, is this town is full of factionalism and the merchants don't want to get embroiled on one side or another of an issue that would alienate half of their customers.

The other side of the coin, is that business owners haven't always done the right things to attract and hold customers. Things like allowing smoke to travel through open doors to the dining areas, sending non-smokers to other places, rude treatment of customers, allowing loud and obnoxious drinkers to continue their loud and obnoxious ways, indifference to strangers who show up, who then,leave feeling unwelcome,never to return. Every time your business sees a new face it is a one time opportunity to make a new friend and to start a long term relationship with that potential customer, Once gone, so is that opportunity. Ignoring strangers is a disease of local watering holes. It's also a recipe for failure. Perhaps that one is the most egregious of all. My background is sales. Purchasers, or clients do business with you only because they want to, not because they have to.

Those dollars in the till are not automatic. Piss a customer off, and those dollars stop. After awhile, so many dollars stop that the business starts to lose money. Even when dissatisfied customers find out that the reasons fore their boycott is no longer present, the smoldering felling of being unwanted or not appreciated lingers on. These things have been repeated to me many times over the last week as the captain's wheel prepares to close.But the Wheel isn't alone.

Business people that take their customers for granted, and in this economy, will disappear. Some already have. We are a dysfunctional community on both sides of the ledger. Now that I have managed to offend without specific targets, everyone in town, let me wish you all a Happy New Year. ... But the only way to make it happy is to pay attention to our community, support and fund it. The businesses need to extract their collective heads from their nether regions and start thinking about how to make new friends and how to keep the old ones.


Anonymous said...

Overall I agree with your post with the exception of this statement, "As I currently understand the goals of the Chamber, none of them include the support and promotion of local business". Hello, Bayview Daze is supported by the Chamber and this in turn promotes the businesses, as well as the Fireworks Display and the Huckleberry Pancake feeds.
I believe you would agree that the Chambers biggest yearly goal is to raise funds for the fireworks which in turn makes the businesses a lot of money. Yes, the Chamber doesn't support the big developers because 80% or more of the Bayview Residents don't either, not to mention that the developers don't even live in Bayview, nor do they care about what is in Bayview's best interest and...I could go on and on. Botom line, the Chamber isn't the problem here. In fact the businesses should be thankful for the Chamber.

Anonymous said...

Hi Herb
I agree that we do not come out to the bars and restaurants like we use to when we were younger. The group I was with supported all of the owners very very well. Our group would run from 12 to 16 + people and you could count on them every weekend all year long. We are all long gone and the owners of all of the establishments have all changed but 1. Yes we were local and we wined and dined in our own back yard as did many others from that day and time. Now we go south and honestly do not hang out with many of the crowd we were with back in Bayview. I guess what I am trying to say is 1. winter is tough on Bayview anyway, 2. Things are NOT the same. 3. The town is a mess with projects 1/2 done and lawsuits and rittled with rumors. 4. Things will turn around once again...just takes time. 5. There will always be someone there to replace what you have left behind. Our group of friends that use to keep the Bayview community operating ...... have already been replaced, (kind of sort of) but by ones that only come up in the summer and not all year long. They do not live there and support the community like it was their own. With all the development that is and will be happening Bayview will be much more then it is in a few short years. Good luck to everyone and a Happy New year to all.

Bob Prince said...

Herb -
The following is the Bayview Chamber's Mission Statement:
To enhance the small town atmosphere while promoting economic growth without compromising our natural resources.

The Bayview Chamber of Commerce would like to take this opportunity to invite you to join us in helping to keep our community a great place to live. The Chamber is both a business-oriented and a community-oriented organization. The Chamber members get together once a month in a town-meeting style format that takes action on complaints and suggestions from residents and businesses.

Anonymous said...

After reading Bill Somers' views in the Bayview Byline I have to ask, why all the anger? “Now they want to put in an ostentatious sign to resemble those of Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, etc. – mostly for the folks on the Cape.”

How does a Bayview sign become something for the "folks on the Cape”? Where are the lines drawn that determine if I am a folk on the Cape? Is it living on Cape Horn Road, off Cape Horn road, in the gated Community of Cape Horn? I am concerned that I am actually a “hated” Cape Dweller.

When I saw the article, in a previous Byline, about the sign for the entrance to Bayview, my immediate reaction was positive! I envisioned people’s thoughts as they drove down in to the town of Bayview as wanting to investigate further. Possibly a benefit to those businesses fighting for their lives to stay open?

Bill, you have begun to define the real problem with Bayview – a divide that has little chance of being resolved. Why the anger Bill? Do you want this town to die by your unwillingness to welcome new people? It seems to me that Bayview is getting what the towns people, who are against change of any kind, want.

I recently overhead a conversation discussing the James Darling project. What I heard is, there is a fight on against this “progress” and that it is crucial to fight it because Hagadone might move into the area and build if there is not action taken now.

It is unfortunate that the trailer park was dismantled in the fashion that it was. Could it have remained? Maybe, if the trailer park residents had banded together and purchased the property? Instead a “developer” purchased it and began to make drastic changes which were never completed. There is no way to go back and start over, but there is a person now determined to do something and see it to completion. Why can’t we (all Bayview residents) have a bit of support to someone who will restore some living area for people to come to Bayview? People who can frequent the local businesses.

Are the anti-developers bringing legitimate complaints against the project, or throwing stones in hopes of tripping up the progress? Kootenai County Building Dept is aware of this project, and it is obviously legal, as we are witnessing the first phase, which is well underway.

The big picture is to have a happy community that welcomes people and entices them to partake in what they have to offer. Can we offer more to lure more people to our playground? Does the very existence to services in Bayview count on it?

If we can’t get along as a community, how do we put a smile on our face and welcome visitors?

I remain anonymous, as I think I might be a Cape Dweller……….

Anonymous said...

In response to Anonymous 5:01PM:

Who took the poll that determines 80% or more of the Bayview residents don't support developers?

The Chamber does a good job in promoting the 4th of July Bayview Daze and fireworks. But to be a Chamber of Commerce there must be support and promotion of the local businesses throughout the year, as well as enticing new business to come to Bayview. Is the Chamber only focusing on one event for the year?

Anonymous said...

Just read Bill Somer's editorial in the January Bylines and would like to hear your opinion on the Centennial sign. I heard the Chamber didn't want to take it over, the Community Center didn't want to either, and now the Community Council has. What's up with that?
Seems if the committee wanted a lasting legacy that represents 100 years of Bayview history, an expensive sign seems superficial.
Also, how do you feel about the
ENORMOUS building going up? Many residents say the downtown is ruined. I have to agree.

Anonymous said...

James Darling project is a blight on our little town. It is out of character and sticks out like a sore thumb. It is unfortunate that Bayview didn't incorporate in order to have never allowed this.
Yes, James Darling is a nice guy. I like him buy two more of those monster buildings is too much.
So sad.
To the Cape Horn Dweller who wants to offer more to lure more people to our town I say he obviously doesn't reside in the downtown area but lives on the Cape. Perhaps she/he should focus on luring folks to the Cape Horn area where he resides. How about a water slide from the top of Cape Horn or power boat races along the Cape Horn shoreline? I really like the last one. You must be a real estate agent.

Bay Views said...

I'm not knocking Bayview Daze. It's a great project for the community. To suggest that it is a gold mine for business just isn't true. One day of the year does not a profit make. I suggest that we look at the other 364 days to find ways to support our business friends instead of looking at them all as the enemy. The post was and is for the purpose of asking people to look within. To step back and reexamine what motivates you and why. Obviously, we can't go back to the Bayview of old, so we need to adjust.

For starters, we don't have hardly any tourist facilities. We could use a motel, and perhaps another RV lot to replace what is now a large private parking lot. I'm sure others have equal or better ideas on how to enhance this little town of ours. The chamber worked closely with James Darling and it paid off. He modified the original plan to exclude those things that were considered objectionable. When his plan was approved and a loan aquired for construction, it was to be half condo and half motel. Right in the middle of this construction, the mortgage industry pulled in their horns and went back to conservative practices that disallowed commercial and residential mix and futher required at least 70% of the units be owner occupied. That is the real reason the Darling went back to Planning and asked for a zone change. With the new rules, he can't sell/finance the units without this change. No attempt to fool anyone was made, regardless of rumors to that effect.

Bay Views said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anonymous, who explains their long history with Bayview and the changes they have seen, has a healthy understanding of the past, present and future of Bayview.

Some are stating that the new Darling project is a “blight” on our little town, or that it has “ruined” downtown. The Bayview sign is referred to as "ostentatious", expensive and superficial - something only for the likes of Coeur d'Alene and Hayden.

I don't understand the stance on the local business survival, as the response seems to be negative to encouraging or welcoming visitors.

Regarding the new construction project in Bayview - Is the new structure tall? Yes. ENORMOUS? No - compare it to the Boileau's 3 story building at the water's edge (there are other structures in Bayview of equal or larger size). I’m hopeful, that upon completion, it will be a nice addition to Bayview.

The dismal and negative comments makes Bayview appear to be a ship going down - some, are determined to sink her. Bayview may just become a residential area only - no services. Maybe this is her current destiny?

Bay Views said...

I feel it necessary to correct a misstatement by one commentor.The centennial committe was formed without asking either the BCC or Chamber for help. This was done deliberately, so that a sponsorship by one or the other wouldn't polarizea what is with some people, a nasty relationship. For that reason, none of the other groups were asked to sponsor the effort. From what I've seen, these are people that love Bayview, some are artists that like to ad a little class to the community. I find it difficult to question the motives of people by guesswork. How about we just all calm down.

Mike Lee said...

As for Bayview going "down hill" When ask how to improve Bayview my favorite response came from an old timer who said, "Stretch a cable across the bay, drag everything into the middle of town and set it on fire. Wait 50 years for the trees to grow back and you will truly once again have a beautiful bay."
On how to attract more people to Bayview, "Lay spike strips across the highway just West of the traffic circle."
Ha ha, get a sense of humor. Progress sucks for everyone who doesn't make money from it. Peace and quiet is priceless.

Anonymous said...

You might not be current on your information. The BCC, or known as The Council, has taken over sponsorship of the sign. They are in charge of getting permits from Lakes Hgwy district for a right of way. The Council was asked if they wanted to pay $300.00 yearly for insurance. I think all Bayview organizations declined to offer help with the insurance and the Centennial Committee is going to forego insurance.
I love Bayview too and I'm okay with no sign.

Bay Views said...

One business person here in town misinterpreted one of my statements about business involvement with the Chamber. I used the word attend, which was misread as involved. For the most part, buiness in this community has stepped up majestically when asked to provide funds for special events. Chan gave the chanber a check for $2000 to be applied to the fireworks fund. Macdonald's Resort actually started the fireworks program out of pocket several years ago and still substantially support these activities. Bob Holland donated $1000 cojple of years ago and was so roundly booed, I doubt he will ever do so again.

My point was that business feel left out of the community and the organization that should be the priniple support group for business. One such remark was that if the chamber weren't so anti-development, they might even get cooperation from these developers. We wait ...We see.

Dorothy Eldridge said...

As a business owner myself (Keen Word Processing),I sympathize with the local business owners in Bayview. It is very difficult (to say the least) to operate a business in a small community. When we first moved to Bayview, I was asked what type of business I had - at the time, I only did word processing and resumes. I was told that what Bayview really needed was a year-around Notary Public (apparently the old one had passed away). So I forked out the money to become a Notary - not a lucrative business in a small community, but I did it, because that's what Bayview needed at the time. Then I was told that what Bayview really needed was a fax service - so I went out and forked out the money for a fax machine (also not a lucrative business). Then I was told that Bayview needed a copy machine service - so I forked out $1500 for a copy machine (also not a lucrative business). I've struggled to keep my business open here for the last 15 years (and have come close to having to close many times) - there just isn't enough customers here in a small community to support my business. So the only way I can stay open is to seek business outside of Bayview, doing transciptions and resumes. I don't hold it against the people of Bayview though - after all, how often does one need a Notary, copies or to send a fax? It's just what is in a small community and let's face it - times are tough right now for everyone! I am thankful to all who visit my little business - this is a great town with wonderful people in it!