If you have ever been to the historic Old Town located in the heart of San Diego then it doesn’t take long to notice that many of the shops and carts are owned individually by small business owners. Many of the owners spend 5-7 days working at their cart, shop, or store and put completely everything into their business. They carefully choose employees and hand pick the merchandise they sell. Many businesses have been created from ambition and now have many returning customers. To see some examples of these shops, visit the Casa De Aquirre Building on Twiggs Street. A total of seven different shops occupy the inside of the building while over a dozen surround it. Each shop sells unique items to limit the competition with one another. For instance, Old Town Kitchen sells all San Diego grown ingredients and other various kitchen items. Across from Old Town Kitchen is Celia’s Fashion Dolls which has a diverse selection of dolls, dream catchers, and other toys for young children. A few feet away, tin signs, hats, sunglasses, and license plate handbags are sold at the Urban Wave Company. The list of shops and the items they sell continues but each sells distinctive items. A shop named “Five and Dime”, located a few stores down, recently opened causing a stir with many of the vendors around Old Town. After walking in the store you immediately take notice to many of its items. Almost every item in there is hot-selling item at another shop. The shelves and racks are over-flowing with products seen around the Old Town Market Specialty Shops. As a walked down one aisle, I noticed a rack of graphite necklaces identical to the ones sold at D & O imports for a lesser price. As I kept walking, I went into an aisle of salsa bottles which were shelved n next to oven mitts and aprons. These items are distinctive items sold at Old Town Kitchen. When I walked to the other side of the store, I passed a display of large belt buckles, similar to the ones sold at Amore Leather. There are close to 50 identical items in Five and Dime that can be found at many of the small vendors and shops in the Casa De Aquirre Building. Not only are the items strangely similar, the prices are drastically lower. Although many people can apply the phrase “Business is Business”, you can’t ignore the fact that it’s a slap in the face to many of the other business owners who now have grave concern how their small business will survive through the slower months now. In such a tough economy, it’s shady and incredibly selfish to create a store from the specialty items sold at the Old Town Market. To be completely honest, there isn’t much anyone can do about this situation. The Five and Dime store is privately owned and isn’t under the same regulations as the Specialty Shops of the Old Town Market which means what they sell is completely up to the owners. Now many small business owners are forced to lower prices even though they have considerably less merchandise. Only one questions lingers, “when will they start selling Café Coyotes Tortillas?”

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