The Newport Beach and Corona del Mar landscape keeps transforming, but into what?
The Mayans always assumed that everything happened in circles, and their calendar reflected that assumption, that what happened before will happen again. I am starting to think the same way.
I hope that in the not too distant future, we will enjoy a local stationery store, a book store and other small businesses where the owners will be at the counters to share with customers knowledge of their inventories — you will know them, and they will know you. You know, the kind of shops we saw in the 1950s and 1960s, before they were massacred by corporations like Staples and Barnes & Noble.
As I read that Barnes & Noble's chief executive resigned and the company unveiled a $118-million financial loss in the last quarter, I began to see the light. Bottom line, the Internet is killing them. With Amazon as strong as ever, the Internet sales keep growing and proving that shipping companies will be busy for a very long time.
I started to feel bad about Barnes & Noble, but then I recalled when warehouse stores — including Office Depot, CompUSA, Borders, Tower Records and Blockbuster — gave no thought to the mom-and-pop video rental, book and record stores.
Now, one by one, these mega-stores are being eliminated.
Are corporations bad? There's nothing wrong with someone starting a corporation and having it grow.
Look at Avila's El Ranchito restaurant: family-owned, proudly managed and successful as ever. It is not, to my knowledge, going into the franchise business, which could allow it to eliminate every small Mexican restaurant in the nation.
Corporations are as good as the people running them, and it seems that many of these corporate people believe that the American dream is to die with as much profit as possible, regardless of who gets crushed on the way.
If you take a trip across the country blindfolded, but you take your blindfold off every few hours, you will have trouble knowing where you are, because every few miles you'll find a shopping center with a Staples, a Best Buy, a Panera, a Target, a McDonalds and a Starbucks.
Yes, I do appreciate a vanilla latte and a clean bathroom, but I am willing to take my chances discovering a unique and quirky little cafe somewhere in the U.S, just like people discover Rose Donuts and Gary's Deli in Corona del Mar, or Picante Martin's and Dad's Donut & Bakery Shop on Balboa Island. These are places unlike any others in the country. They possess the soul and flavor of this area.
But the issue goes beyond food. I believe that after Barnes & Noble is gone, people will miss the touch of a book once enjoyed while browsing the aisles and they'll miss flipping through the first few pages as they consider whether to buy it. And maybe at some point, a middle-age couple will take a risk and open a small book store, hopefully taking the place of a Chase bank or AT&T; store.
Maybe in the future, parents will head with their kids to get new pens, pencils and notebooks at a small stationery down the corner, where KFC used to be.
JAVIER REYNA lives in Newport Beach.