Yesterday, we learned that Winn Dixie is closing two Albany stores, one on Sylvester Road that will join the Oakridge Drive location that was previously announced. This equates to a loss of jobs, yet our city commission is ready to kill more jobs by forcing Charley B’s to close? Honestly, it doesn’t make any sense.
Both of these store closings will result in job losses. Even if Winn Dixie transfers as many people as they can to other area stores – something I wouldn’t hold my breath on happening – they will either over-staff those stores and let natural attrition bring them back down to normal levels, or they will lay off people with the closing. Either way, that is a net loss of jobs for an area that still hasn’t recovered from Firestone’s closing almost 30 years ago, but now is enduring the closing of Cooper Tire and Merck.
Those are bad, but it’s not necessarily a result of the city commission’s actions. While there may have been things they could have done to keep the businesses right where they were, there were also other forces at work. Unfortunately, they also want to close Charley B’s, which would result in more jobs being lost.
Folks, I’ve spent a lot of time in Charley B’s over the years. I think a lot of us have. I’m not going to pretend that it was the bestest place in the world, but it was a staple of Albany’s night life for longer than most of us have been enjoying Albany’s night life. More importantly though, it pays its taxes and employs some of our residents.
We are struggling as a town. In fact, struggling may be to mild a verb. We’re not going to get a more positive verb with platitudes, or idiotic efforts to close down lawful businesses. We need as many businesses as we can get, and we need the city to get out of their way and let them work.
I’ve said before that we need large industry in this town, and I still believe that. However, I also believe part of the equation has to be to keep as many businesses going as humanly possible. Judging from the comments yesterday, it seems like a lot of other people believe the same thing.
Ladies and gentlemen, the problem is simple. We are bleeding jobs, and they’re not being replaced. I’ll be the first to admit that the solution isn’t nearly so simple. However, can’t we agree that killing more jobs because of such frivolous reasons isn’t the answer?