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Merchants doing the right thing
Cohesiveness in any body of people can do amazing things as is evidenced in the civil rights movement, the Revolutionary War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Cohesiveness in the form of a
merchants association can provide the spark needed to invigorate downtown North Bend.
Recent discussions by downtown North Bend merchants about forming
a merchants association are the right thing for both merchants and North
Bend residents. Too many times issues and decisions come up that directly
affect business and residential members of the community resulting in action
that may not be in the best interest of the city as a whole. In North Bend's case,
city staff, though they work diligently, cannot possibly cover all the bases and
know the direction a city should take. And the mayor, also working diligently,
cannot possibly have the pulse of the residents and businesses on every issue. So
the creation of a voice representing the business interests of downtown North
Bend is the right thing to do.
So what are the benefits of a cohesive group representing business
interests? Well, for one, influence on elections. Maybe a political candidate is
short sighted in their endeavors or doesn't take into account business issues
when deciding on various city actions. Maybe a political candidate doesn't
realize the importance of small business tax generation, failing to shop locally
for their dry cleaning, banking or gifts. A unified body of merchants, with
collective dollars, can influence elections and launch those that don't truly
represent all their constituents' interests.
City staff will be more inclined to assure that the interests of
downtown merchants are heard, but the most important element that a merchants
association can bring to the table is passion. Passion for the businesses that
support their families and passion for the community that their business hopefully
thrives in. Sometimes city staff and elected officials fail to bring that same level
of passion to the table, which when lacking, can cause erroneous decisions to
be made or over zealous ordinances to be passed.
North Bend merchants are doing the right thing and hopefully, when
talking about a vision for the city, they are heard as much as the elected
officials and residents.