To The Daily Sun,
I didn't get a chance to look at The Sun on Saturday until about 2 o'clock, as I was busy working in my shop over on "the abandoned stretch of Water Street known as Vintage Row." I only picked it up then because I had been urged by a number of people to do so. All referred to Michael Kitch's article on the sale of the "three iconic downtown Laconia buildings" with varying degrees of alarm and dismay, and all were focused on one word: "abandoned."
(I think I heard the word "abandoned" more times on Saturday morning than I have heard it in the last five years put together.)
Now I'm sure that Mr. Kitch didn't intend to imply that the area was actually abandoned (which the dictionary defines as "forsaken or deserted: an abandoned building; an abandoned kitten."). I'm sure that he was eluding to some urban renewal effort of yesteryear that left a disconnect between Water Street and... oh, wait. That wasn't the context of his article. His very succinct article was simply describing each of the three buildings, including the number of apartments and commercial units.
So where exactly does the term "abandoned" (in the same sentence as "Vintage Row") apply? Customers and fellow business owners, reading it in context, applied it to the commercial units on that side of the McIntyre building (and who can blame them? That's what it says!).
To some, this may seem like a simple matter of semantics. To those of us who run businesses in that often-overlooked stretch of shops in downtown Laconia, it is horrifying. We have worked tirelessly to bring positive attention to that area, and I have personally been responsible for spearheading much of the work that has gone into improving those shops.
We are far from abandoned. We are viable, contributing members of the downtown business community, and though we struggle with minimal foot traffic and a location that sometimes feels remote, we continue to fight the battle. Any one of us could take our business to a city that is not in need of "revitalization." But we believe in Laconia, so we continue to do our part in revitalizing Laconia.
Words are powerful, and journalists have a responsibility to use them carefully. Please, before another word is written about Vintage Row, take the time to visit our shops: Imagine Gallery, Dumbledore Antiques, New England Porch Rockers, and my shop, Curiosity & Co.. You will find that we are alive and well over on Vintage Row.
Stora Montgomery Kamens
Curiosity & Co.
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