Why are we so lucky here in the Valley to get two new buildings right across the street from each other that look exactly the same and sell exactly the same stuff? I hear all this hullabaloo about the city council wanting to make Sprague into some attractive boulevard with tasteful store fronts and then they let Rite Aid build a mirror image of Walgreen at Pines and Sprague. I guess that is letting commerce take its course and we are probably to blame for being a spread out community with not enough numbers to support something more interesting and perhaps quaint.

Wasn’t that row of old buildings perfect for renovation and then house a Rocket Bakery and other nice shops? The Northside has it’s Rocket Bakery on Garland, the Southhill has one, downtown has two and even Millwood gets one. But the Valley’s one shot at a Rocket Bakery is torn down and turned into a monument to corporate thoughtlessness.

I understand that no one wanted to risk the venture of preserving what used to be the heart of Opportunity. The buildings probably were too far gone and the owners can’t be blamed for landing a big tenant willing to build an expensive building. But I remember going to Beulow’s 5 and Dime and Marty’s Toyland as a kid and probably five or six generations did their commerce at even older businesses than those.  So I lament the fact that the oldest section of our business community is gone forever and that I will have to wonder if I’m seeing double every time I head south on Pines.

But I was lucky enough to preserve, in a small way, a part of the memory when I interviewed Harold Beulow last year before he past away. I’m just glad he did not have to see his old place of business torn down and replaced by what now passes for progress in the Valley.   (You can read his invaluable story here.)

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