My take away? It was pretty clear that the pizzeria was no longer meeting the needs of the local customer base. The business owner hadn't invested in the storefront or the interior appearance in quite some time. The place was stale, and felt like it. On the other hand, a healthier food concept down the street could barely meet demand. And while I can't say for sure, it's more likely that the owner of the pizzeria is the one griping about high rents. As a public sector partner, differentiating between these two kinds of businesses when applying public policies is exceedingly difficult. How can you ensure that limited public resources - resources that could be going to schools and parks and public resources - are not being utilized to help business owners who quite frankly should be doing a better job. And to make matters worse, some communities are pursuing policies that might even penalize success. Imagine that the small, local restaurant was so successful that it rapidly spun off a few additional restaurants. Don't we want that kind of small business growth? Yet sometimes well intentioned policies like "formula ordinances" (policies that limit stores that share a "formula", including menu, decor and offerings, i.e. chains) are put in place that effectively prevent businesses with too many stores from locating in certain defined districts. While these policies may have their time and place, these two businesses should give us pause before we employ such blunt tools to solve for problems that require much more nuanced approaches.
|This pizzeria was in clear need of updating, inside |
and out. It was my first lunch option. And despite
not knowing whether I would find another lunch
spot down the street, I took the chance.
|This bakery/cafe, about a block away, was |
packed to the gills at lunchtime.
They were clearly doing something right.
|Inside the bakery/cafe, patrons were standing around |
waiting for tables or for their orders.