The need to support local businesses
To the Editor:
I fail to see how a zip line will do anything to "energize Rumford's business climate." I see the biggest obstacle to "energizing Rumford's business climate" is the general attitude of the citizens that we need to support local businesses.
As an example, we did have a Sears Home Store in the Abbott Farm Plaza that served a useful purpose. I, for one, purchased a number of items through the store; however, the local support was so poor that it had to close. So much for supporting local business.
The first undertaking in "energizing Rumford's business climate" should be to energize the attitudes of the vast majority of Rumford citizens and of the business owners. Almost anything that can be purchased in Rumford can be purchased for 30-40 percent less in Auburn and Portland. Also, try to purchase home improvement materials locally -- forget it. I have tried many times to purchase materials for home improvement locally and totally struck out.
Hence, I headed to Auburn to purchase my materials and while in Auburn purchased shoes, clothing and other items only because I was there, the cost was considerably less and the stores were handy. Had I not been forced to head out of town, I would have gladly done all my shopping locally.
Over the last couple of years, I have had the opportunity to deal with a local furniture store and the attitude of the owner was fabulous. Nothing I wanted was in stock but was efficiently ordered and delivered in minimal time. The delivery and set-up was professional and extremely customer friendly. Follow-up service has been great. All this for no extra cost. This example demonstrates that if a business owner "wants your business" then anything can be done.
We need a concentrated effort on the part of our local businesses to be more customer friendly. If you need a product, and they don't have it in stock, they should offer to order it for you and not add a special order charge.
Thirty years ago, Cheryl and I decided to move back to Rumford when I retired from the U.S. Air Force. Rumford was our home and we were excited to be returning to a vibrant and healthy town. I made a serious attempt to help the community remain vibrant and healthy by serving on the Board of Selectmen for
two terms. Every time something progressive was mentioned, the typical response from a majority of the townspeople was "we didn't need it before, so why do we need it now?"
It was that same attitude that cost Rumford a significant industry about 20 years ago. That lack of an additional industry is, most likely, responsible for the extremely high number of Rumford homes that are for sale. It is really disheartening to see how badly Rumford has declined in the last 30 years.
Also, I don't believe that zip lines and bicycle trails will bring the "mystery" brand-name hotel any closer to reality. I sincerely hope that the business climate of Rumford makes a comeback but it will take a lot more than zip lines to do it. This our home and, hopefully, will remain so for the remainder of our years.