As someone who has ‘summered’ in the area for the past ten years, my wife and I like many others have chosen the High Country as our second home because we enjoy the quaintness and beauty of the area.
This year when we came up I was interested to find out what was to become of the K-Mart that closed last summer. With excitement I knew there would be many interested parties looking to develop that piece of real estate, but my excitement quickly turned to hesitation upon doing a web search.
It appears that mostly grocery stores are interested in buying the property, however I also came across a quote from Bill Bailey of the Boone Planning and Inspections department, stating he was also reaching out to sporting goods chains.
While another grocery store might not impact the ‘mom & pops’ in and outside of Boone who rely on the summer tourism industry, a sporting goods chain certainly could.
My wife and I wonder what would become of places like Footsloggers, Foscoe Fishing, Peanuts Golf Shop and many more if a chain came to Boone? These businesses not only cater to people like myself but their livelihood depends on it.
Another box store like a sporting good store could potentially devastate many of these local businesses. At the same time it would turn off many vacationers and those with second homes who come to the area for the independent restaurants and shops.
To find out that someone from the town’s staff appears to be actively reaching out to new chains is disappointing. Boone should take note from places like Blowing Rock, West Jefferson, and Banner Elk, which are more restrictive in allowing chains to move in.
Boone might appease University students and their parents with more chains, but my friends and I that make up the summer crowd will certainly stick to patronizing the local restaurants and shops we have come to love.