Greed actually may work.
Maybe not in the way Gordon Gekko envisioned in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street.” But it might just serve a purpose. Like light without dark, perhaps greed gives charity context. Not that it’s “good,” as Gekko claims first. But greed is real, and therefore, it may work.
I am not the target audience for Schreiner Goods downtown. In fact, the one time — yes, nary two, but one — I entered, a couple years ago when looking for a birthday present for Karen, I was greeted by a saleslady so elegant, so gentile, and so very unlikely to wear or even countenance my wearing a snap shirt, that I probably cast a cursory glance at the jewelry section –I can’t even recall if there is a jewelry section — smiled back at her, and quickly relocated myself across the street to inhale an Angry Rita Taco in a single bite.
If you’ve read this for some time, you’ll know that shopping stresses me out like nothing else. (Grocery shopping is the exception. That feels like pure creativity waiting to happen.)
But here’s my point — because amidst the movie reference, italics, and em dashes it was also eluding me — Kerrville has retail store windows that are interesting to look at. Even a snap-shirt-wearing scoundrel like me enjoys them!
There is indeed a long-awaited and much-needed renaissance downtown and nearby. Not that longstanding restaurants and stores aren’t valued, but they need a supporting cast. Along come Schreiner Goods and PAX the brain siblings of the creative Keri Kropp; the being-refurbished Arcadia by a group including Robert Earl Keen; the nearby Clay Street corridor development with 1962 Barber Company, Pint & Plow (owners Jeremy and Maya Walther have led this movement), and POP Hair Art, punctuated by the Friday afternoon farmer’s market on Water Street.
We haven’t even mentioned the “East End.” Nor that it’s got a name of its own. (Although it’s technically more like the “south-southeast end” of the city.) And we all know that when a neighborhood gets a name, it sets it apart for realtors to direct people to invest there. And that’s all cool. Those decrying NIMBY! (Not In My Back Yard) will have to take their MBYs elsewhere. A good-fences-make-good-neighbors place.
Back to charity and greed.
“My” directly threatens sustainable urban growth. (And Kerrville is an “urb.”) In fact, in an urb, “my” backyard often abuts or even overlaps with “your” backyard. If “we” don’t help each other take care of that overlap, both our homes lose value and the city gets less in taxes and can’t offer as much in the way of municipal services, including services to those who can’t afford them.
Three cheers to Downtown Kerrville and the other merchants groups who are establishing a “my space” that contributes to a better and longer lasting “our space.”