RetroRick July 8, 2012 @ 12:31 p.m.

The problem for small town merchants like me is not a the lack of government studies, committees, subcommittees, subsidies and economic plans sponsored by out-of-town politicians done by out-of-town consultants who have never operated a shop or anything other than their laptop and a slide show.

The problem is the low volume of retail customer traffic driven by the smallness of the small town itself, further dilution of traffic by malls and chain-led shopping centers, online retailers and the weak economy, essentially in that order.

Downtown Fallbrook has an alarmingly high retail vacancy rate and has taken on the early symptoms of becoming a retail ghost town like so many thousands in history before it. However, the merchants that remain here do so because they provide something not easily, if ever, found elsewhere. We provide unusual goods along with a passionate level of personal, owner-led customer service that customers cannot find in chain stores or online. We provide an engaging retail experience that first-time consumers were not aware even existed but are always excited to discover. Downtown Fallbrook is a goldmine of such retail excellence, but most of that gold is largely undiscovered.

While annual festivals and periodic classic car events are nice, the traffic benefits received are both incidental and temporary. Yet the experience we small merchants provide is both ongoing and permanent. It simply needs the opportunity for its discovery by consumers from near and afar and in its own right.

My goal is to make my shop worth the drive from anywhere. I’m sure I’m not alone. If the government truly wants to support small business and entrepreneurs in the small towns that they otherwise leave for dead, then instead of taxing us it can do precisely the opposite and create tax-free enterprise zones by forgoing all sales tax collection and identifying places like downtown Fallbrook as retail sales tax havens. No one wants to pay taxes anyway and sales tax holidays are a proven retail business builder used tactically. They can be a bonanza for small towns when used strategically. The effect would be an offer of a field-leveling discount that will drive destination-specific demand and retail customer traffic day in, day out. This is a simple and effective way to get consumers to discover and try us out. The rest is up to us.


bohemianopus July 4, 2012 @ 7:51 a.m.

Great article! I've never been to Fallbrook, but now I intend to visit.

It is a shame that the old concept of a "downtown" is disappearing. I hope they can keep the "charm" as long as possible.


Ruth Newell July 4, 2012 @ 6:23 p.m.

Don't go on a Monday--many of the shops downtown are closed! Thanks for reading, Bohemianopus.


nan shartel June 24, 2012 @ 9:53 a.m.

i love the idea of a more natural unrefined commercially town...i say if Fallbrook is happy being the way it is then let it be

it's all about charm...and Fallbrook has an abundance of charm

i lived for 16 years in a small town that was fast fading into a spare landscape

but 16 years later it was still going strong...just a little jewel of a city 40 miles south of the Columbia had a pharmacy..2 gas stations 2 markets...a newspaper... and about 1000 permanent resident who bought local and liked it that way

over the years new happened...the hotel was refurbished...a radio station was founded...a pizza deli opened ...the hotel opened a fine dining room serving free range everything

many would say that town limped along....but the residents would say it was just taking a leisurely stroll into the future



Visduh July 18, 2012 @ 7:20 p.m.

Excellent report! I'd guess that what you revealed here is about 90% of the homicide case against the three. Why did it take so long to pry all of it loose? Oh, I know, it is that it would contaminate the jury pool. (As if more than a small minority of potential jurors pay any attention to these cases, or read any newspaper, or [sadly] avail themselves of the Reader.)


SurfPuppy619 July 18, 2012 @ 8:55 p.m.

There is pleny of evidence from just what I read-just from the cell phone use in Fallbrook. Thye are done, all of them.