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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Coudersport Chamber Looking Into Coudersport Company Store

WFRM
The Coudersport area could benefit from an idea presented at yesterday’s Chamber of Commerce meeting.

President Stan Swank said he had come across a magazine article about the town of Powell, Wyoming which developed a publicly owned department store after a major retailer left.

Swank contacted John Wright, executive director of the Potter County Redevelopment Authority and owner of the building vacated by JC Penney this past February. Wright explained that the town came together, formed a corporation and sold shares at a price of $500 each to raise nearly a half million dollars. A limit on the number of shares one person could own was imposed so that there would be a cross section of townspeople who owned the store.

Wright says the store has operated in the black for each of it’s seven years and seven other communities have followed the plan and also have profitable community-owned stores. He told the group, a Coudersport Store could use the services of the Powell store’s buyer, at a fraction of the cost it would require to have a full-time buyer here.

Wright says he will be going to Powell early next month to check out the store for himself. He told WFRM he thinks it’s too ambitious to be open for the Christmas shopping season but is confident such a store could be up and running by next spring.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great idea!! I'm in!!!

Anonymous said...

There are several available storefronts in Downtown Coudersport. Would the owners of the stores be able to bid on the lease or would the Store be placed in Mr. Wrights vacant store by proxy?

Anonymous said...

Great question! The whole community supports his rent.

Anonymous said...

Spend $1.25 on the this weeks paper and have someone read the front page article to you about the venture.

Here is an excerpt:

" I will do whatever I can do to make a locally owned and operated store work in the former JC Penny site. Low rent - maybe no rent, and just pay the utilities - I don't know what I might be able to offer as far as the building goes, down the road. But I am committed to do whatever I can to make this work"

He goes on to say he offered JC Penny a rent free store. "if I am in a position to do the same for our own locally owned store, in order to get it us started. I will"

So lets see, it works out like this...........

Mr Wright gets low rent or no rent to start up, market rent at some point.

We dont have to drive 40 minutes and spend $10.00 in gas to buy a pair of socks.

We get a filled storefront that attracts people, which overflows to other businesses.

We get press coverage for inovation and forethought.

We get a few jobs.

We get to feel good and have community pride about doing something ourselves for ourselves, without any government tax breaks , without any big corporations dictating our future.

We get something which doesn't pollute, doesn't create noise, doesn't brighten the sky and I can buy socks when I'm in town.

Sounds like a win for everyone. Save your pennies for our own pennys, this could be big.

We have to move back to smaller, local stores, shops & businesses if the downtown is to move forward.

Innovate or die, it's our choice.

I'm in! But I'm only one person.

Following is some key paragraphs from an below article on the Powell Store -

The Merc's board of directors is the first to admit that the community approach isn't going to work for everyone. Community ownership can be the greatest idea in the world, but if no one will back it financially, it's a goner.

"It's like motherhood. Everyone is in favor of it, but will you put your money into it?" Witzeling said. "We give all of those who ask the basic facts and we give them the good and the bad news."

Several tentative Wyoming towns have turned to the state's Rural Development Council, which provides community assessments to gauge public interest.

"It has to be something the community wants to do; you can't force it from the top down," said Carol Stearns, Wyoming Business Council manager for business and industry. "It has been successful in Powell because the local people want to do it."

In Powell, The Merc has become a point of pride, and employees are glad to give tours to the people who stop in with questions, Ramos said.

"It makes a town feel good about themselves," Ramos said. "People can say, 'I'm a part of this.'"



Other Community Owned Stores -

Saranac Lake Community Store
http://www.community-store.org/

Little Muddy Dry Goods in Plentywood Montana
http://www.newrules.org/retail/news_archive.php?browseby=slug&slugid=162

Powell
http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2004/11/16/news/wyoming/c1d16119668eeda987256f4e0011b15a.txt


Ely, NV
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5553/is_200412/ai_n22280730

Anonymous said...

Nice comments by the last poster, I believe that the question that was asked was legitimate. The person that posed the question was obviously replying to the article the way it was written in this blog from WFRM.

I guess I'll have to have the paper sent to me and have someone read it to me. heh.

Anonymous said...

It is likely that the size of the potential store would be a major factor. If it's too small it would not serve the intended purpose and not allow for expansion. A larger store would allow for room to grow into.
So I imagine that there are some size criteria that would have to be planned for.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you are correct, I should not have assumed the paper was read. My mistake.

I like the idea alot, though.

Anonymous said...

i love the idea. Mr. Writes store however should be excluded entirely even from the bidding process even if it's "FREE" Particulary if he is going to see them on the county dime. For that matter even if he pays is own way and drops a county card on somes desk. At least for rent if he wishs to sell to the county thats something else.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how this "bidding on the lease" idea came about, but it is likely that the owners of the Community Store, ie: the stock holders & their representatives, would select in some manner the best store according to their business plan.

I don't believe this involves the County or Borough funds at all.

Or am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Yes you are missing something. Mr Write is not only a sucessful bisiness man he is the director of the potter county redevelopment athortity, as the director in the past he had been accused of not always acting solely in the best interest of the county but rather often in his own interests. He should raise the bar on this one ether he is a county employee or he is looking to fill one of his store frounts.

Anonymous said...

Who would have the best store for this?

11 comments :

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great idea!! I'm in!!!

Anonymous said...

There are several available storefronts in Downtown Coudersport. Would the owners of the stores be able to bid on the lease or would the Store be placed in Mr. Wrights vacant store by proxy?

Anonymous said...

Great question! The whole community supports his rent.

Anonymous said...

Spend $1.25 on the this weeks paper and have someone read the front page article to you about the venture.

Here is an excerpt:

" I will do whatever I can do to make a locally owned and operated store work in the former JC Penny site. Low rent - maybe no rent, and just pay the utilities - I don't know what I might be able to offer as far as the building goes, down the road. But I am committed to do whatever I can to make this work"

He goes on to say he offered JC Penny a rent free store. "if I am in a position to do the same for our own locally owned store, in order to get it us started. I will"

So lets see, it works out like this...........

Mr Wright gets low rent or no rent to start up, market rent at some point.

We dont have to drive 40 minutes and spend $10.00 in gas to buy a pair of socks.

We get a filled storefront that attracts people, which overflows to other businesses.

We get press coverage for inovation and forethought.

We get a few jobs.

We get to feel good and have community pride about doing something ourselves for ourselves, without any government tax breaks , without any big corporations dictating our future.

We get something which doesn't pollute, doesn't create noise, doesn't brighten the sky and I can buy socks when I'm in town.

Sounds like a win for everyone. Save your pennies for our own pennys, this could be big.

We have to move back to smaller, local stores, shops & businesses if the downtown is to move forward.

Innovate or die, it's our choice.

I'm in! But I'm only one person.

Following is some key paragraphs from an below article on the Powell Store -

The Merc's board of directors is the first to admit that the community approach isn't going to work for everyone. Community ownership can be the greatest idea in the world, but if no one will back it financially, it's a goner.

"It's like motherhood. Everyone is in favor of it, but will you put your money into it?" Witzeling said. "We give all of those who ask the basic facts and we give them the good and the bad news."

Several tentative Wyoming towns have turned to the state's Rural Development Council, which provides community assessments to gauge public interest.

"It has to be something the community wants to do; you can't force it from the top down," said Carol Stearns, Wyoming Business Council manager for business and industry. "It has been successful in Powell because the local people want to do it."

In Powell, The Merc has become a point of pride, and employees are glad to give tours to the people who stop in with questions, Ramos said.

"It makes a town feel good about themselves," Ramos said. "People can say, 'I'm a part of this.'"



Other Community Owned Stores -

Saranac Lake Community Store
http://www.community-store.org/

Little Muddy Dry Goods in Plentywood Montana
http://www.newrules.org/retail/news_archive.php?browseby=slug&slugid=162

Powell
http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2004/11/16/news/wyoming/c1d16119668eeda987256f4e0011b15a.txt


Ely, NV
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5553/is_200412/ai_n22280730

Anonymous said...

Nice comments by the last poster, I believe that the question that was asked was legitimate. The person that posed the question was obviously replying to the article the way it was written in this blog from WFRM.

I guess I'll have to have the paper sent to me and have someone read it to me. heh.

Anonymous said...

It is likely that the size of the potential store would be a major factor. If it's too small it would not serve the intended purpose and not allow for expansion. A larger store would allow for room to grow into.
So I imagine that there are some size criteria that would have to be planned for.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you are correct, I should not have assumed the paper was read. My mistake.

I like the idea alot, though.

Anonymous said...

i love the idea. Mr. Writes store however should be excluded entirely even from the bidding process even if it's "FREE" Particulary if he is going to see them on the county dime. For that matter even if he pays is own way and drops a county card on somes desk. At least for rent if he wishs to sell to the county thats something else.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how this "bidding on the lease" idea came about, but it is likely that the owners of the Community Store, ie: the stock holders & their representatives, would select in some manner the best store according to their business plan.

I don't believe this involves the County or Borough funds at all.

Or am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Yes you are missing something. Mr Write is not only a sucessful bisiness man he is the director of the potter county redevelopment athortity, as the director in the past he had been accused of not always acting solely in the best interest of the county but rather often in his own interests. He should raise the bar on this one ether he is a county employee or he is looking to fill one of his store frounts.

Anonymous said...

Who would have the best store for this?