Saturday, January 26, 2013

We give a little bit, we get a lot.

I bought my home in Roxbury in 2005.  There was no grass in the yard.  Even the small clusters of weeds were having a hell of a time hanging on.

The problem was the soil.  It wasn’t poisonous, just lifeless.  It had been choked and stepped on for so long, nothing much could grow.  

Every week, I gave love, and energy.  It was effortless.  

Now the soil is rich, the kind of blackened loam that gardeners would kill for.  

This coming week, I make a promise to shop here in Dudley, at least twice, in a store I haven’t yet gone.  

Naturally, I’ll get my groceries at Tropical Foods, and I’ll probably pick up a pizza at the ever-friendly Dudley Square Grille (formerly Stash's Grill), but I visit those stores all the time.

No, I mean getting to know stores that I normally don’t go.  I’m going to keep doing that, week in and week out.  

Who's with me?!

Simply put, Roxbury is our home.  Let’s help the businesses here thrive, for their sake and ours.

It can be something as simple as making sure you buy your aspirin at the Walgreens across from the Ferdinand, instead of the CVS where you work. Or inviting a friend to have brunch at the Haley House Bakery, now that they're open on Sundays.   

In my case, I’m going to buy fish for dinner from Simon's Seafood and Deli in their new location on Dudley Street, and I’ll stop in the Dudley Department Store for the some little somethings, I know I’ll need in a week.  

This is how we help our neighborhood thrive. We give a little bit, we get a lot. 

I’d go into Aga’s for a lap dance, but I’m too old for that.  And that place still gives me the heebee jeebees.

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to shop in Dudley and do try. I frequent Haley House as often as possible and Royce, too, and though the customer service in Dudley Department store is usually pretty good, most of what they sell is cheap crap so it's where I'll go when I need to buy some cheap crap. And though I loathe Sam and all his Wals, I do shop at Walgreens. Simon's, (among other businesses in Dudley) has a really bad attitude about Dudley: they are owners who want to make money off of the district but they don't really want to do anything to contribute to it. Look at what a pit the store is and is there really anything in there you would drink? Neighborhood activists have asked Simon's to stop selling nips and they refused. They're also supposed to have a security guard on duty at the store but I haven't seen one. They're not supposed to be selling to people who are intoxicated but the few times I've been in there that's who their entire clientele is. I’m not sure I want to support their fish place when their alcohol place is so exploitative
    And there's the problem: I want to support the district but I don't want to support exploitation - whether it's the shop owners who take money from the district but can’t even be bothered to clean up the sidewalks in front of their stores or all of that cheap crap they sell that’s made by the equivalent of slave labor in China. (I picked up some trash in front of the 99cent store one day and asked if I could throw it in their trash can. They said no. I don’t give them my money anymore either).
    Look, anyone with half a brain who lives within walking distance of Dudley Square wants it to be vibrant (those folks without half a brain will just continue to drive to the ‘burbs to get what they need) but I want it to be BETTER than vibrant – I want it to be filled with worthwhile businesses owned by people who give a shit about the district and the people living around it. That’s why the Haley House rocks. And though they’re a non-profit and their mission is extraordinary, I’m really tired of the whiner businesses who sell shit and treat the neighborhood like shit and then expect us to gobble up that shit cause we’re only Dudley and we’re desperate. Fuck that.
    I was driving through Mission Hill at 6:30 a.m. one day and a business owner was out in front of his store sweeping the sidewalk. I’ve seen it in other districts too, where shopkeepers value their community. I have NEVER seen a shopkeeper sweep his sidewalk in Dudley – no matter how gross it gets. Instead it’s the attitude of the dude from the 99 cent store – throw it somewhere else or in the street, but don’t bother me about it. I realize there are a lot of people working really hard to turn the district around but those complacent, adversarial businesses and absentee landlords/land bankers are really screwing things up.
    The reality is that shopping in Dudley kinda sucks. And so do many of the shop owners. Once that changes, the millions of dollars this neighborhood hemorrhages will come home to roost – and people from other n’hoods will be attracted here. Until then, dollars that could be spent in Dudley are going to Mission Hill, JP, the South End, Downtown, Cambridge, Brookline and other suburbs.
    The difference between your garden, Roxburian, and Dudley Square? Gardens and soil thrive on shit; business districts don’t.