Reading the comments over at 99 Blocks just makes me sick. Where were they for the last five years when Hancock asked for an ad or an investor? Sure, Bill had no business trying to run a business, but the back-stabbing losers downtown certainly didn’t help.
I remember talking to the owner of a restaurant which no longer exists. He was a refugee from the banking industry. He looked down the street at Natty Greene’s and said:
Here I sit starving to death and they have a license to print money.
The food was good and so was the service, but the guy was probably under-capitalized and therefore didn’t advertise. That’s the dirty little secret about downtown: they move there thinking traffic will be sufficient that they won’t have to advertise. More than one loser has said all they needed was a Facebook page.
Part of the problem are the stories in mags and online of start ups which succeeded wildly with the help of social media. That may happen in Soho or Seattle, but it’s a great way to lose your ass in Greensboro. Here, the reality still applies that you need to advertise to establish a presence in the local media, and there are no substitutes. Until the vendors downtown get that, businesses will continue to fail.
When the Wife opened her boutique in 2000, Starmount required her to submit a business plan and a pro forma P&L. They did her a great favor which helped to ensure her success. Downtown property managers should require the same of new tenants. Additionally, they should require proof of adequate capitalization. But that’s another dirty little secret about downtown: the property owners don’t care if tenants fail. There’s always another loser ready to have a go.
If a tenant or property owner happens to be successful, the city usually comes in and tries to put an end to it. That’s because downtown is schizophrenic with lots of condos and apartments juxtaposed with boisterous night life. Never mind that retail is simply impossible given the parking logistics.
Perkins and Brown insist that putting a performing arts center downtown will magically solve all these problems. Given that the Greensboro Partnership has been an abysmal failure so far gives them zero credibility. That’s the problem with fucking do-gooders: they have no business sense. They generate Powerpoint presentations which ape conventional wisdom and solicit investors. Any other act seems beyond their ability.
I was mistaken about 99 Blocks. Its demise is a symptom of what is wrong with downtown Greensboro. The fucking do-gooders, who have never stuck their necks out and tried to run a business, call it the Greensboro disease. If we suffer an infection, it is rooted in the lack of common sense and entrepreneurial ability exhibited by those who presume to make things happen.