This blog, published free of charge since September 2007, is a way for me to stay in touch with seasonal bookstore visitors from afar and with all customers and friends when I am closed during the winter. My annual seasonal retirement will begin this year on November 1, and I expect to be back and open again by June 2021. Meanwhile, thank you so much for following Books in Northport and for supporting Dog Ears Books.
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Friday, April 15, 2016
To the Powers That Be
Dog Ears Books, July 1993
business started out in Northport, on Waukazoo Street, back in 1993, so I have
had a lot of experience with summer tourists. Some now make the trip
to Northport specifically to visit my bookstore, while others driving up
the peninsula are surprised to come upon it unexpectedly.
visitors have a lot of questions, but the Top Three Questions -- of all
time -- are the following, which I hear on a daily basis all summer:
all times of the day:
is the nearest public restroom? (It's surprising that no one yethas invented a
bathroom app for smart phones. People still seek out physical facilities.)
in the day:
far is it to the lighthouse, and how do we get there?
in the day:
there a restaurant where we can have dinner and look out on the water?
want.I have never heard a tourist complainabout traffic or
parking or absence of benches or even our admittedly ugly streetlights (which I
have always yearned to see replaced with more attractive lights). Visitors love
our parks. They love our marina. They love, as we all do, our summer farm
market and the welcoming friendliness and peacefulness of our town.
for comparing Northport to Suttons Bay:
Bay has always been a much larger town and has always been ten miles closer to
Traverse City. Thus Suttons Bay has become in large part a bedroom
community for people who work in Traverse City. Traverse City is
also where most of the overnight tourist accommodations have
always been, so it has that edge over Northport. But moving
Northport closer to Traverse City is probably not feasible, and
some of us, whether natives or transplants, like where we are. We chose life in the slow
there are more restaurants and shops in Suttons Bay, but anyone who thinks
Northport should be more like Suttons Bay needs to think about how many
new shops and galleries and restaurants opened and closed in
Suttons Bay in the last 20 years. Those of us in
business keep an eye on that kind of thing. It's easy to have a
dream, harder to take a flyer on it, but the real work comes in the
long haul and requires sacrifices not everyone is prepared to make
-- or, if they have families to raise, sacrifices not everyone can afford
to make. Even in Traverse City, exorbitant rents and seasonal
traffic have done in many a dreamer.
Michigan business is seasonal and will remain so as long as we have winter --
and not only because we depend so much on tourists. A large segment of our
"permanent" population goes away in winter. More and more former
single-family homes converted to seasonal summer rentals only exacerbate the
want to improve Northport’s looks?
do what doesn't need to be done.
to make Northport look like somewhere else.
cosmetic improvements will not change underlying reality. Because wishes are
not horses. And do you really think Northport at present is unattractive? I
don’t see that at all.