What’s going to happen?
by Tom Maher
This is a response to school board member Michael Bair’s comments in the Post Independent on Thursday, July 28. Mr. Bair states that Glenwood True Value is “in jeopardy” and is not “viable” because we … “can’t afford rent somewhere else in Glenwood Springs” … and questions “What’s going to happen when those new stores (Lowe’s and Target) open?”
First of all, Glenwood True Value is a viable business. This month we celebrate 19 years of business in Glenwood Springs. Our sales are up this year, thanks to our usual strong community support and a wonderful, loyal staff. The only reason our business is “in jeopardy” is because the school district is forcing us out, though we still have a valid long-term lease with the property owners.
Secondly, the relocation assistance committee formed by Fred Wall and the school board has made little effort to assist in relocation. In March, acquisitions consultant Kathy Tully provided us with a list of available properties in the Glenwood Springs area. None of the prospective sites provided an adequate-sized facility in our market ” in Glenwood Springs. Our own efforts show that there are no “viable” properties to meet our needs ” at any price. There is no site “to afford.”
Our only communications have been through two or three phone conversations with Tully in March, a couple of letters, and a meeting on June 14. We were invited to attend this meeting with the relocation assistance committee to “discuss any potential relocation opportunities.” When store owner Denny Swanson, myself, and general manager Scott Schlapkohl showed up, we were met by superintendent Wall, Tully, and finance director Shannon Pelland. We asked if/when we could meet with the full committee and were told that this group would “collect the information” and report to the full committee. And no, we weren’t invited.
The school district staff had no new relocation options. Part of the meeting’s discussion involved the school district assisting in the costs of moving Glenwood True Value to a new location. We explained that during 2004 we moved our store in Steamboat Springs to a new site. We further detailed the time frame and the costs involved to relocate. To this date we have received no further communication from the relocation committee regarding financial assistance in potential move.
Thirdly, Glenwood True Value, like other successful, well-run businesses, can and do survive the influx of new competitors entering the marketplace ” including “big-boxes.” Less than one year after our Glenwood Springs store opened in 1986, the new Wal-Mart store opened. We survived and have been continually vital and successful. Within the last three years, a new Home Depot and two Wal-Mart Supercenters have opened in Avon and Rifle. So “What’s going to happen?” Lowes and Target will impact our sales, sure. But we will survive and eventually thrive again.
Mr. Bair, you are either uninformed as a school board member, or you are misrepresenting the facts. True Value is viable. There is no viable location in our market. And True Value will survive new competition ” again! Except we are being forced out of business without any compensation. And the community will loose a real asset ” Glenwood True Value Hardware ” and the thoughtful, helpful staff.
Tom Maher is the manager of True Value.
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