Sunday, February 5, 2017

Nice article in the Bulletin about Josh and Heidi Spencer, the couple who bought our used bookstore, The Bookmark.

I have been very impressed by them. Smart and energetic.

There was one line in the story that made me wince. About how they were undecided about whether to carry on our "no frills" approach.

It was interesting in talking to Josh, that there was almost a checklist in my head of things that I had considered doing and then decided not to, but which he had done or was going to do.

After thinking about it for a few days, I decided that neither of us are wrong. It's just that I've had the Bend experience of the last 30 years, which is somewhat unique and probably taught me lessons different from other places.

Most towns don't grow as fast as Bend has in our tenure here. Most towns don't go bust quite as often or as deeply.

There was a very good reason I was "no frills." Because that's what allowed us to survive in this environment.

So businesses come to Bend all the time, and they do it "right." That is, they do all the frills, they do all the accoutrements, they do it "big time." Which is just great as long as business continues to be good. But...when things are tight, those extra things drag them down.

It isn't that they aren't doing a good job, that they don't know their stuff, that they aren't hard working or smart. Usually, they're smarter than me. But they make the fundamental mistake of not calibrating their business to what Bend will actually provide over the long run.

I'm not worried about Josh and Heidi. I think they have the right approach for this time and environment, plus they have plenty of resources that I never had.

But that doesn't mean my approach was wrong either.

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