For years, I’ve wondered why it’s constructive for Grass Valley and Nevada City to try to poach merchants from one other.
People in Nevada City complain that Howard Levine, of the Grass Valley Downtown Association, sometimes camps out in Nevada City, trying to recruit businesses to his city. Though not discussed openly, some people in my hometown resent his actions.
We’re two small towns trying to survive in a cul de sac. Instead of playing musical chairs with existing merchants, let’s spend *more* time working *together* to attract *new* ones. It’s another good reason for combining more of our myriad tourism/merchant groups.
In the latest example, The Union chased down a story on Thursday that appeared in the Mountain Messenger last week: Barry Costello, owner of the Fur Traders, is receiving offers of free rent and other perks to go to Grass Valley and other areas.
If true, The Union left out the most compelling part of the Mountain Messenger story: Comments made by City Councilman David McKay played a key role in Costello’s decision-making.
McKay made insensitive remarks about some merchants who were opposed to the Nevada City Downtown Association, accusing them of “aberrant behavior.”
The remarks were documented at the time, so I was surprised McKay said he couldn’t recall whether he made them or not. He later apologized for the comments.
Costello said he was offended by the remarks. For now, he’s going to stay put.
I’m glad, because I like shopping at Fur Traders: I just plunked down $80 for a new pair of Merrell shoes — the best selection around. I even accepted a $25 parking ticket to buy them.
I hope people get together and talk more openly about whether our two towns should be working together rather than competing against one another. It’s another provincial perspective that keeps the community from moving forward.