Shedding Light or Shooting the Bull?

So what is our Main Street Chairman of the Board doing while a prominent Downtown business slowly dies?

From the Cherokee Tribune:

"Canton Main Street Director Ginger Garrard said she and the Main Street board were saddened to hear of Yawn’s Books’ closure, adding they have played an integral part of historic downtown Canton. “Yawn’s Books has contributed a great deal of involvement and love to the community,” Garrard said. “Their presence that provided so much to our downtown will be missed by many, many people.”

So the public now been told that the the Canton Main Street Director and the ENTIRE Main Street Board has given up on this business. THE FUNERAL SERVICES ARE ALREADY BEING CONDUCTED BUT THE PATIENT IS NOT DEAD!!

"Yawn added that while he and his wife, Stacy, love their landlord and the space on Main Street, the overhead of running the retail operation was proving to be too costly, prompting the need to downsize and re-imagine the business with a renewed focus online and through their publishing company.".

Three words: "LANDLORD", "OVERHEAD", "COSTLY".

Well any first year business student knows that it costs 10 times as much to develop a new customer then to retain an existing customer.

So I went to the landlord and asked about reducing the rent for 2 or 3 months and give the Yawn's time to try to sell to a new person who just might be able to make it work. There are still some 3,000 mom & pop bookstores in the country - SOMEBODY knows how to make it work.

Then I went to the Yawns and asked them if they would be willing to attempt to sell the retail portion if they had reduced overhead for a few months.

Yes it's a long shot but so what? Giving up is guaranteed defeat. Just the efforts of selling it would create articles in the paper, leading to talk, leading to interest in guess what??? DOWNTOWN!!

Meanwhile what's our Chairman of the Main Street Board doing while the Director of the Main Street board is conducting premature funeral services for one of Downtown's most prominent business? Chairman of the Main Street Board Bill Grant is flitting around deliberately stirring up a bunch of negative publicity about Christmas lights.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Casey Levitt December 02, 2012 at 09:04 PM
The time line on Bill Bryan's comment is a bit confusing to me. In my personal email box, as a customer of Yawn's Books and More, on November 14th I received the news that Farris Yawn and family had decided (past tense) that they would restructure their business and leave out most of the retail bookstore aspect as they moved into 2013. Consequently, in that email, Farris thanked their loyal customers and proceeded to announce that all books in the store were 50% off immediately. It was sad news to receive, but it did sound that Farris, his wife Stacy, and his parents had a plan and the decision had been made, the news disseminated. When the Ledger News reported the story of Yawn's closing its retail storefront on November 20th, Ginger Garrard gave the quote about being saddened by the closure and complimented the Yawns' contributions and presence in downtown Canton during their past 8 plus years. The decision had been made, announcement made and reactions quoted. No defeat. No premature funeral service. Thursday, Nov. 27 Bill Grant commented on his Facebook page about the cost and negative public opinion of the looks of the new downtown Christmas lights. Patch and then the Cherokee Tribune picked up the story. I do not discern any MEANWHILE in this time line. I just see mixing issues. The Yawn's will retain the meat of their business that is profitable; a good business decision. I bet we still see that part of their business in the downtown Canton area.
Bill Bryan December 02, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Casey you are definitely right about the Yawn's closing plans and they definitely will be relocating the publishing part of the business to a different and smaller downtown location. And yes it is surely a long shot that a buyer can be found for the retail bookstore portion of the business between now and the end of the month. But there is a chance. Last week when we spoke briefly, Farris did have a flicker of interest in keeping the book inventory in place for a couple of months if the landlord would work with him - and he might be willing to. It is certainly to the landlord's advantage to keep it as a retail bookstore. Commercial turnover costs are incredibly expensive. There are still about 3,000 independent bookstores in business, therefore there is still a market. It seems reasonable that somewhere there are people who know how to make the concept work. I started this effort the very first day I learned about the closing, therefore that timing was all I had to work with. Looking at the bigger picture, I just wish that we would just not accept defeat so easily. And I wish we wouldn't be so negative. Those lights can easliy be swapped out sometime next year with a different kind. As I said in my other blog of today, nobody showed the slightest interest in selecting Christmas lights even though we on the Council have been talking about it for 4 years. Finally, it's time to stop making wild accusations against the Council. We're just regular guys trying to help.
Change For Canton December 03, 2012 at 02:42 PM
What personality are you wearing today Bill? You seem to shift as widely as the reasoning behind some of councils schemes. Now you say the 6 of you...when in previous comments you are intent on saying the Gene is part of the council. Well, the issue IS NOT ABOUT CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! It is about the public paying attention to what you "good ole boys" are up to. You are so hypocritical as you say one thing and when it does not suite you..you move to another stance. Keep of the bullying Bill.
Bill Bryan December 03, 2012 at 08:46 PM
opps you're right Sandy. There are seven members of the governing body - one Mayor & six council members. good catch!
Change For Canton December 04, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Farris Yawn's public Facebook reply to Bill Bryan is in two parts as follows: I seldom comment publicly on political issues, but In this case I feel that I have no choice. Firstly, I do not appreciate my business being referred to as dead and ready for burial. We are far from dead; we are simply restructuring and eliminating portions of our business. Secondly, I do not appreciate my business being used to try and score political points at the expense of people that have worked tirelessly for years to improve Main Street, and have made great headway. Imagine what we could have done with this council working with us. Yawns will still be downtown and we are proud to be part of this community. With our restructuring and downsizing we expect to be in downtown Canton for many years, and I am sure another business will find a good home in our current location.
Change For Canton December 04, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Part II As a member of the Main Street Program board I have been constantly saddened by the council’s consistent decisions to talk the talk but not walk the walk when it comes to revitalizing downtown. You have often held up Billy Peppers and the Woodstock Program as an example of what should be done, yet you completely miss (or ignore) the fact that they succeed because the Woodstock council FUNDS their programs. They have money and staff (as in more than one person) to attract businesses and plan programs and events to make their downtown into a destination for shoppers. In addition, they appear to have the complete support of the council since we never hear any published criticism or sarcasm. Bill, my one prayer for the council is that you guys will start working with the Main Street Board and Director in making downtown Canton a place that people want to visit and shop. What merchants need from The Council is to work together for an even better Canton.
Bill Bryan December 05, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Farris, I'm truly sorry that you see my efforts in such a negative light. Please accept my apology if you feel I have hurt you in any way. I was only trying to help. Actually I have been working hard to make the case that your business is NOT dead and ready for burial. In any event, based on your note I assume that you wish for me to cease any further efforts to obtain rent concessions for you for the purpose of selling the retail portion of your business. I will honor that wish. With the exception of this note, I will refrain from any further public comment of any kind about your business. I'm pretty sure that many will continue to publicly and viciously criticize me for my genuine efforts but I will provide them no more fuel for that fire. I have no interest in "political points" - I'm pretty sure I'll go down in history as one of the worst "politicians" ever! I'm just a fairly successful businessman trying to give back to his community. I will continue my efforts to create a position of Director of Economic Development and to model our program after more successful ones such as Woodstock. My only interest is in helping Canton - and not just downtown but the entire city. Yesterday at 8:39pm
Change For Canton December 18, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Jay Saro December 19, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I think a lot of issues, in all levels of government, comes with elected officials who try to run government like a business. I see many people who did quite well in the private sector but find it tough to manage the pubic sector. I have worked in both and it truly takes a tough, patient, and strong willed person to effectively manage any level of the public sector. I found this article earlier this month and wanted to share it with this thread. http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2012/10/05/government-vs-business/


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