Friday, June 29, 2012

Aw crap, another local business closes and gets replaced with a Family Dollar

I was trying to understand why I felt bummed when I passed Parkside Market on West Fulton and saw that it's closed and now appears to be turning into yet another dollar store...

Maybe a sign of the hard times. The businesses that seem to be flourishing are bars and dollar stores.
I don't really shop on this side of town but I'd been in this store a couple times. It had a certain charm to me. It was rather small, didn't have as big a selection of stuff and had the slow kind of checkout lanes (manned by humans)... I'd become spoiled by the self-scans at Meijer and it's huge selection and this place seemed like a step down. Still it felt sort of quaint or something because it reminded me of all the little grocery stores my parents and grandparents used to always take us to growing up.
Places like these little local grocery stores are part of the world I grew up in-- and it feels to me like a lot of that world is disappearing. I suppose that is some of my motivation for this blog.
It really is a bummer to see a place that has decades of history vanish and get replaced by something generic like a Family Dollar. The city loses another little piece of it's identity.
And I realize I am partly to blame because I make the choice where I go and spend my money. Nothing wrong with Meijer. They obviously are a big part of Grand Rapids too but I always hate to see the little guy lose.

I noticed the place hasn't even opened yet and has been all tagged up....

 One odd thing that caught my eye was that all the tags had some kind of flyer taped to them....

So I don't know who wrote these but they are kind of cool. Somebody decided to school this tagger. As someone who's had to clean up super lame graffiti, I appreciate some of what this person's saying. It also seems relevant with some of the more controversial street art that's popped up in GR recently.
I'll transcribe the flyer here for you. (again, making the assumption that there's people out there reading this blog o' mine).
Maybe a little preachy but it's just cool that somebody from the neighborhood cared to do it....

Wow, Kesh. [the tagger] Wow.

So you passed by an unoccupied building with a black can of Krylon and
paint pen, and put your tag on it. We're all super duper impressed.
What's this, 1980?

Hey, here's an idea. The next time you want to feel so badass, why don't
you take that can of Krylon and practice some real street art on some
cardboard until you get better? I'm just saying. Your tag sucks. It's sloppy
and lazy. Do some research into the origins of graffiti and street art - I'll let
you borrow a copy of my "Street Wars" DVD. There are also books
around that talk about the work of some really neat, original artists. Be
sure to check out Brazillian artists, too. They're really cool

Also, it doesn't have to be permanent. You know, 'cause your tag is pretty
embarassing. It screams "egomaniac with nothing better to do". There
are lots of things you can use: wheat paste, dry erase markers, sidewalk
chalk. the list goes on. The point is to express an idea. Who are you?
What are you about? You have the drive. You have the tools. You are
clearly just too scared to use them. Tell us. Tell us what we need to know.
Change the world instead of being just another asshole tagger.

Real artists worked so, so hard to fight for people's right to occupy space
with their paint. They can now make a living at it, too! They saw the
potential for an amazing medium to challenge social norms. They wanted
to stop the idea that kids like you were degenerate losers that wanted to
deal drugs and rape women - they knew you had more in you to grow as
a person and explore art. these artists developed ideas that spoke from
their experiences, culture, and soul. You put up an empty tag that is
gonna terrify people because they associate it with degenerate black
youth. It's not fair, but it's true. Good work on fighting the stigma and
making the rest of us look bad.

I hope you feel dumb now. but that's OK. Try again next time. Apply your
mind. Be original. And stop reminding us of your wasted potential.

Your neighbor



  1. "...again, making the assumption that there's people out there reading this blog o' mine.."

    At least one......

  2. Keep the posts coming my friend. I was a youngster in the 90's and its a nice reminder of what this great town once was.

  3. The former Clark Gas station next door at Garfield is now gone to make way for an Ace Hardware. I hope we don't lose Nawara Bros Hardware.

  4. Wow! What a cool person you are (just happened across here this am) and kudos to the person who posted the statement on the tags. I haven't been over that way lately, either, but when I hung out with friends over there, we'd wander through the former market. Not to go on a tangent, but NONE of those $$$ stores are even cheap n e more! (Well, the merch is cheaply made, but not even reasonably priced.) Thanks for taking the time to post...I spent my youth in Cedar so Plainfield was the furthest my dad would go into "town". Be well.

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