Misdirected Economic Development

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Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Dave on Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:22 am

Mr. Blampied was quoted in the Rumford Reporter as follows:

"Blampied reported efforts at contacting the UPS Store and the 99 Restaurants but noted he hadn't "broken through the gatekeepers yet."Blampied noted that 99 Restaurants require a certain minimum size sewer and water pipes and asked if anyone knew what the standard is in Rumford. Len Greaney said he would check."

I ask this. Why is Mr. Blampied intent on hurting existing restaurants in town? What about Brians Bistro? The Chicken Coop? The China Diner? Don't they matter? Wouldn't attracting a 99 restaurant effectively destroy their business, and send profits to someplace else in the country?

I know you mean well Mr. Blampied, but sometimes you just don't think things through.


Last edited by Dave on Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:23 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Dave on Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:45 am

And more....

"Blampied noted that Pizza Hut had "backed off" on coming to town, largely due to their own internal financial reasons, but that an additional problem was that some property owners have asked for "a king's ransom" for lots that could be used commercially. But, he noted, that the River Valley Plaza may have some additional space on its lot for another commercial building and that the owners have indicated they would offer reasonable terms."

Mr. Blampied. What about Maddy's Pizza? Four Corners? House of Pizza? Dicks? Why are you supporting a direct competitor to them?

Sounds pretty nasty to me.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Dave on Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:33 am

And this tops it off - wasting $5k for a Blue Ox. These guys are nuts.

"The meeting opened with a review of the minutes of the September meeting. While members were reading the minutes, Jim Rinaldo reported on a contact he'd made with a fiberglas model maker who has the capability to make a large Blue Ox to go with the Paul Bunyon statue at the information center.

Rinaldo suggested the committee order an Ox statue and place it on the island side of the river in order to encourage tourists to walk across the bridge to the island. The model maker would charge $5000 for a large Blue Ox, Rinaldo said. The committee agreed to discuss the Ox further."

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Dave on Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:35 am

What are they going to do on the island?

Is the CandleStick gonna start offering afternoon girly shows?

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:13 am

Dave,
I believe the Candlestick and DiConzo's Ristorante are closed. Word is that they moved the shows to the Barnboard, the Shack, or whateve it is called now (can you tell I don't get out much??)
.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:19 am

Kevin, like we needed to know where they moved the shows...talk about off topic...I sent you a pm.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:23 am

Dave brings up an interesting point...what seems like obviously good economic development to some appears to hurt others. He's really hit on a key issue of why Rumford has a hard time moving forward. I'd like to hear more about that if possible without making it all about Blampied and strip shows. It's an important discussion.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by T on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:25 am

Bringing in competing businesses seems like a sideways move.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:28 am

T, I'm not sure what you mean...can you expand if you have time? Thanks.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:32 am

Dave wrote:
Mr. Blampied was quoted in the Rumford Reporter as follows:

"Blampied reported efforts at contacting the UPS Store and the 99 Restaurants but noted he hadn't "broken through the gatekeepers yet."Blampied noted that 99 Restaurants require a certain minimum size sewer and water pipes and asked if anyone knew what the standard is in Rumford. Len Greaney said he would check."

I ask this. Why is Mr. Blampied intent on hurting existing restaurants in town? What about Brians Bistro? The Chicken Coop? The China Diner? Don't they matter? Wouldn't attracting a 99 restaurant effectively destroy their business, and send profits to someplace else in the country?

I know you mean well Mr. Blampied, but sometimes you just don't think things through.

Dave,
Mr. Blampied and the committee are working on bringing business to our community. Prior to their efforts, we had no concerted effort to do so. If you have a problem with their efforts, perhaps you could get involved in the planning process. I personally believe we don't have a wide enough variety of eateries in the valley. The Chicken Coop and Brian's Bistro are the only two "up scale" restaurants in the area. We have a few "plain folks" restaurants (Dicks, Covered Wageon and the chinese restaurants), and two fast food options McD and Subway). On top of that, we have take-out convenience stores. Many of the sit-down restaurants are closed in Monday, leaving little choice for the hungry hoard. If you look at it from a tourism viewpoint, there are no restaurants with recognizable names in the area except McDonalds and Subway. If we want people to stop and eat here, we need to tantalize their taste-buds. Bethel is filled with independent restaurants, but they are a destination. We currently are a pass-through community. The rules are different. When you operate a small restaurant in a small town, you have to have a solid reputation that is well known far and wide to attract people from the outside.


Last edited by KevinNSaisi on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:40 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:33 am

Also, could Admin or C move this post to the regular page - I think it was inadvertently posted in the wrong place?

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Phil Blampied on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:39 am

Dave:
The area has room for additional restaurants. The River Valley Plaza area in particular could easily accomodate another restaurant without affecting restaurants in the center of town. For one thing, the drivers of 18-wheelers have no restaurants at which they can park to eat because all the existing restaurants are in places with limited parking. For another, a 99 or other mid-level dinner style restaurant west of town could draw customers from the Sunday River area and catch a lot of the through traffic on Rt. 2, people who do not ever go into Maddy's.

You are obviously deeply ignorant of the dynamics of a retail economy. Often, the best thing for one restaurant is to have another open nearby. That way, you create choice for customers. If you're thinking about going to a specific town to eat out, would you go to a town with only one choice, or a place where, once you got there, you could browse the menus of a half dozen different places? Also, competition brings improvement. So there is a balance: up to a certain level, adding restaurants adds more customers and more volume. Of course, if we wound up with a restaurant on every corner, it would pass the tipping point and then some would be hurt. We are far from that.

With your odd viewpoint, we should have discouraged or prevented the Mountain Valley Variety from opening, because it stood to hurt other convenience stores in town. Yet look what a constructive presence that store has been, especially with the effect on gas prices.

I expected, with the economic development effort, to hear a lot of whining and carping. Interestingly, most people understand and support what we're doing. I wonder who Dave is and what his interest may be in trying to shoot down the only active economic development effort in the area? What is his alternative? Do nothing? Continue to rely on the Growth Council? Of course, per the usual lack of backbone on this blog, he will continue to hide behind his alias.

By the way, while I see the touristic value of the Blue Ox, I do not support a direct cash purchase out of the econ dev money. I think it would work better if there were a community fund drive, thereby getting more publicity for the idea and getting more community buy in. A penny drive among the schoolchildren, as they did for the Statue of Liberty.

Whoa, Dave - a big statue of some woman with a torch out in the middle of the water? What, are these guys nuts?

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:50 am

Guys, this discussion is so important - and that's what makes it hot.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:52 am

Phil Blampied wrote:

Whoa, Dave - a big statue of some woman with a torch out in the middle of the water? What, are these guys nuts?

Phil, that statue was a gift from France the one we gave in return is much smaller. Perhaps you know of a small woodland nation willing to provide an ox as a gift to our community Smile.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by T on Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:06 pm

If studies show the area can support additional restaurants, it might not be a sideways move.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by T on Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:15 pm

Timeout wrote:T, I'm not sure what you mean...can you expand if you have time? Thanks.
If the area cannot support additional restaurants, bringing in competing businesses might not move the town forward. It might replace one restaurant with another, forcing the local merchants out of business.

The town might move sideways rather than forward. I suppose moving sideways would be better than backwards.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:38 pm

Okay, now I get you - it's like hair salons here. We have so many already that opening a new one isn't more likely to cause people to get their hair done. Does the concept of competition makes good business always apply?

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:57 pm

Also, I suppose moving sideways might benefit the consumer in getting the products they want...for instance (don't kill me, it's just an example) if we replaced McDonald's with Burger King? And I guess it could create more diversity of choice if say one diner was replaced with a bagel and coffee shop (please, just examples). Would that diversity entice more diners?

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:05 pm

Shocked Are you trying to KILL Dunkin Donuts?? Shocked

But seriously, a Bagel shop with name recognition is more likely to draw out-of-towners. When we spend money in the area it benefits our community, but there is a greater benefit when money is brought in by prople from away.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:09 pm

Well, there ya go - bringing in people from away. I think local business people don't feel they have enough business to make a go of it already with the customers we have.

To me now, the essential question becomes how do we draw in more customers without killing the locals? Or do we just say, too bad, citing survival of the fittest?


Last edited by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:10 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : poor sentence structure, tsk, tsk)

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Phil Blampied on Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:05 pm

The retail economy has many unfilled niches in Rumford, and there are very few businesses which could come in which would displace other businesses. One example might be if a large scale furniture store opened on Congress Street, that would probably hurt Stanley's.
But if a specialty shop - Bed and Bath kind of thing - opened, it might help Stanleys as it would encourage people to take the trip to Congress Street to shop. If you create a cluster of a specific kind of store, it tends to be a draw, as per the "antique alleys" in places such as Northwood, NH, or the cluster of prefab home dealers and manufacturers in Oxford, Maine.

There's a fair amount of money in Rumford, less from paychecks these days and more in savings and investments among retirees. If a restaurant catering to mid-brow kind of tastes, such as a Denny's or a 99 or a Shoney's or a Bob Evans, opened up here, you would see more restaurant patronage from the existing population and more stopping and spending by people driving through. And if there were a line at Denny's waiting for tables, the people might say, well let's just go to Dicks, thus actually drawing more customers to an existing restaurant as well.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Admin on Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:27 pm

Phil Blampied wrote:Of course, per the usual lack of backbone on this blog, he will continue to hide behind his alias.

Hi Phil,

I know you have worked extremely hard at economic development in the area and I can understand from the tone of Dave's writing why you would take it personally. How does you above comment, insulting most on this board (and most all other boards in place today as well), strengthen your position? Would your argument change because you knew the actual identity of Dave? Would you attack him instead of sticking to the merits of your argument?

I'm guessing a lot of people that have a business in this town may be a bit nervous about bringing in competition. Not everyone is well versed on the finer points about economic development. This board is a great place to have these discussion and many read these discussion without ever even signing up. You have done a tremendous job providing information to town’s people with your articulate and well thought out posts on this topic and it has generated a lot of interest. I think your comment above detracts from the important contributions you made in your post.

If you want to have a discussion about the merits and pitfalls of having an anonymous board, feel free to start a new thread. We've argued this before but I'm guessing we would be glad to discuss it again if you wish.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:58 pm

Predicting consumer behavior is tricky business. I've heard a lot of people promoting tourism, etc. as a means of strengthening the local economy. We've looked lately at our area identity - paper mill town, potential casino site, tourist draw, recreational destination. How does what's happening currently in our national economy affect our plans now? It will definitely have impact on Rumford and the general river valley area. Does increasing variety of restaurants still fit as a good plan for the area?

I know I'm just one consumer and probably not the norm (don't say it!) To be sure I don't want to eat Chinese every day, and I don't always want pizza (not picking on any particular place). Would I like a Thai restaurant or a Portland Marketplace? You bet. Am I willing to drive to Auburn or somewhere else to get something special to eat? Mostly no...not worth it for me, although I know others who do it. In the summer I might take a road trip; do I want to drive that far for sushi in the winter? Maybe for chocolate...lol... but I'd probably call my friend Deb and make her invite me for dinner instead.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by KevinNSaisi on Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:15 pm

I have spoken to people in the financial wizard realm who have notified me that the impact of the economic downturn has hit the west coast primarily. We in Maine have smarter financial people who didn't get into the risky mortgage mess. Having small town banks that are not tied into the national financial market is a benefit as well.

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Re: Misdirected Economic Development

Post by Timeout on Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:26 pm

That's interesting, what I've seen is that Maine is definitely included in the recession.

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