Bedford Falls or Pottersville?
In the popular holiday Frank Capra film, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” the image of Jimmy Stewart racing through the snow down the main street of Bedford Falls, NY shouting, “Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!” reminds us that the charm of the Montrose Shopping Park and its appeal to local residents can one day disappear if no one is watching and no one cares. Once again we find ourselves weighing the relative values of Bedford Falls versus Pottersville as a proposal is brought forth to put a Starbucks in the Shopping Park.
Everywhere I look there seems to be a buzz about Starbucks and their latest venture. Newspapers, websites and bloggers are on top of the story and they are getting a significant public reaction. As a member of the MSPA board of directors, I have been following all of the stories and analyzing all of the comments and various grassroots polls. So far the overwhelming majority of folks are saying, “No! We don’t want this!”
Their reasons are varied: “Starbucks doesn’t fit the Montrose image.” “We don’t need it.” “It’s not fair to the Coffee Bean.” “We want to keep Montrose unique and not be like everyone else.”
There is also a lack of awareness on how the process works to bring a new business to the Shopping Park. We’re seeing comments like, “Shame on you MSPA for letting Starbucks in!” How does a national chain, or any business for that matter, get into Montrose? Can’t the Montrose Shopping Park Association control who comes in? The truth is that the buildings in the shopping park are all owned by dozens of different people. Some are local, some are not. Some have an emotional attachment to the town and want to preserve its charm. Others want it to be like The Americana or Old Town Pasadena. “Bring in stores like The Gap and big chains,” they say. “It will mean more business, traffic and money for us.”
The next step for those who have concerns with regard to a Starbucks placement 60 feet from the existing Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf business would be to attend the public hearing that will follow in order for Starbucks to obtain the parking variance it needs to open at Honolulu Avenue & Ocean View Boulevard. The voice of the MSPA will be there. How about you? What will it be? Bedford Falls or Pottersville?
You decide. It’s your town.