So, we have lost another wonderful business of small-town America: Leisure Time Sports and Video, Cedaredge, a decades-long institution for movie folks such as I and lovers of all things outdoors, like many of us. I hear the shock and sadness that always follows such loss from people who genuinely lament its passing but seldom shopped there. As always, the reasons are all too predictable: convenience and the saving of a few dollars.
Walmart, which has been responsible for the shuttering of small-town business and the general dumbing-down of America, is the obvious inducement for the latter. Of course, extensive family shopping can save money, but at what cost to the beauty, comfort and community affection felt by those who chose smallville as home.
The former, convenience, is more difficult to justify. What could be more convenient than picking up hunting, fishing and camping necessities on the route to the largest flat-topped mountain in the world than the now former Leisure Time?
And here is a subject seldom considered. Business owners, too, most carefully consider whether actions to promote their own friendly competition locally could affect livelihoods equally striving to make it.
Certainly, the arrival of the Red Box video kiosk at the entrance of another well-established local business was a blow from which the only remaining video store in Delta County (possibly the entire western slope) was unable to weather. Yes, it is more convenient to pick up a movie on your way in or out of a business you are already supporting by your trade. But again... the cost to community.
As the creator of the Paradise Theatre (1991) and a founding conspirator for public radio KVNF Paonia (1979), I soon realized that if you don't use it, you lose it, no matter how great the loss. Simple mathematics solved by community forethought and interdependency.