Life Dream   13 comments

If you had unlimited money to start and maintain a business, what would it be?

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Unlimited Money, huh?

If that unrealistic dream were to happen … wow, I would probably have to wrestle my husband for which business we would support. He’d like me to support his, of course, and since today is our 35 wedding anniversary, I’d probably have to comply.

But if marital harmony were not in view …

Like, if we grew TWO magic money trees….

Fairbanks Alaska is a tough place for a local business even in the best of times and at least a dozen have closed their doors forever since March 2020. The bar where I had my first legal drink wasn’t a new business when I sipped (and almost spewed) the glass of chianti with pizza, but after 40 years in business as a dive bar with great bands and sometimes pizza parlor, even after rebuilding after a fire, The Marlin closed its doors for good this summer. The owner still owns the land and building, so there’s hope in the community that he’ll reopen, but he says he won’t. When I was an outside-sales person just out of college, my boss would sometimes take the crew to Sourdough Sam’s for breakfast. It was a new business back then (and it too survived a fire in the intervening years), but it’s now closed and the building and land are up for sale. Same for House of Kustom, one of the only decent furniture stores in town.

Meanwhile, the big box stores are open and selling cheap identical crap and identical food right and left. My son says this local Walmart has never had a better year in the 10 years it’s been open. It just goes to show that the government (even in a pandemic, or maybe because of it) prefers giant corporations that can be controlled and enriched by the government rather than small mom-and-pop companies that are free to do their own thing. We may well remember this era as the last for entrepreneurs and hometown restaurants and bars overwhelmed by a sea of big-box banality.

So, small business…best to have unlimited funds to keep the doors open or to pay the fines when the government tries to shut you down. Folks, I write apocalyptic fiction about people who go to war with the USDA’s cow cops over similar issues.

What would I do if that opportunity existed?

I’d open a LOCAL bookstore with a coffee and sandwich shop and places to sit down while you browse and I’d fill it with books — new and old. We used to have a really great used book store here in Fairbanks that had those features and I’d design my store along those lines. I’d also offer an opportunity for other local artists to display and sell their wares and maybe even do demonstrations of their art. I can envision local musicians playing in the background. I even know the building I’d buy to make it happen and since I have unlimited funds, I’d buy it outright to save on interest payments and have it super-insulated to cut down on heating costs — but I might also open some walls up with windows to let the sunshine in. That way, I could offer affordable rents to the small businesses that could occupy the rest of the space, which is a three-story former department store that has been mothballed for over 10 years.

Yes, I know, the building is uninspiring, but you’d be surprised what architectural elements can be added while the energy-efficiency is being boosted. Think Art Deco. I’m told that the shorter section — the most neglected shopping mall in Fairbanks is part of the building and it has a giant parking lot. It’s also just on the edge of downtown and right across the street from the library. You know what they say about location, location, location? It has location. The store closed because it was owned by a big chain that restructured and the building owner found it’s too expensive to remodel for a different use. But that’s not a problem if I have unlimited funds. Meanwhile, the building was used for the first time in a decade this past weekend for a Christmas bazaar, and it looked lovely all decorated for the holidays. It might even have space for an indoor playground to accommodate the entire family.

An artist’s coop isn’t really an original idea, but it is something my town needs. They’ve been started before, but funding (and therefore space) has always been an issue. Well, in this fantasy scenario … not anymore!

Posted December 7, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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13 responses to “Life Dream

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  1. An interesting idea, to have unlimited money and fund a business. Your dream is one I’m sure many avid readers and writers share.

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  2. So many of my blog-hopper friends want to open bookstores. i didn’t even think of that. I used to work in a library many years ago, but never found it very interesting work. I preferred lunchtimes when I could take one of the library books outside and read it!

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  3. Art Deco is my language. The concept of performance art/readings music etc is intriguing. I would do the same. Open a venue locals could use, free, to be artists on stage.

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  4. Support local, nurture talent and provide a great place to be, what’s not to like. 🙂

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  5. I tri d to think of a place big enough for your concept here and can’t come up with one. The biggest empty retail spot I can think of is an old Hobby Lobby that moved and every year the spot becomes a Halloween store. I’d have to start from scratch. (which could be fun!)

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    • The commercial real estate market here tanked about five years ago when the state went into recession and so there are buildings here for the buying. I don’t think Gottstein Management would want to sell to me, but if I have unlimited money …

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  6. Books AND sandwhiches? I would be in so much trouble. LOL

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