Opinion / Guest Commentary / Our Readers Write:
Before our time in La Jolla, we heard how great Burns Drugs used to be. Then we’d ask why, and the answer was always — when you walked into Burns Drugs, you met someone who knew you. They knew about your daughter and her latest bout with bronchitis. They knew about your Aunt Ida and the photos she needed developed of her daughter’s wedding.
You got taken care of by your friend. The owner. A fellow La Jollan.
When you walk into the corporate chains that own the only pharmacies left in town, you get helped by a person who has no stake in your business or your community. You give money to a company whose decisions are motivated by stock price. You interact with a store manager whose only concern is not getting in trouble with the corporate office in Rhode Island.
Lowering prices below what locally owned businesses can afford to meet or outspending your favorite store on advertising, glitz and glam is what billion-dollar corporations specialize in. They have no problem losing money in the short run (a few months or years) just to put every last competitor out of business, because they know they can hike their prices back up and enjoy major profits in the long run.
Spending the money to force mom-and-pops out of business — to kill childhood hopes and dreams — is something that big corporations consider a cost of doing business. (How else do you think the world’s largest companies reached those heights?)
Some of you might realize that we’re going through some of our own challenges as a business right now, but this is not about us. This is about YOU. Because La Jolla is a lesser place for no longer having Burns Drugs around.
There is a war happening, but it’s a subtle one you won’t notice unless you pay attention. It’s a war not just being waged against certain La Jolla businesses. It’s being waged against a way of life that allows us all to open a store in our hometowns, not just to work as a salesperson or manager in one.
This is a war against entrepreneurship itself.
Please don’t take La Jolla’s great locally owned businesses for granted. Whenever you have a choice, patronize them. Or else, chances are, your children won’t have that choice.
Whenever we decide to have a coffee, we look for Peter at Brick & Bell, not Starbucks. Whenever we buy a card, we go see Nancy at Warwick’s, not Vons. Whenever we need to look good for a charity function, we patronize Andy at the Ascot Shop or Kaneta Harmon of Mia Brazilia, not Instagram.
We cherish our Sunday mornings with Sherry Ahern’s creation of the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market and see all the local people — farmers we know and love. When we go out for food on the town we talk to Steve at Nekosan, Giueseppe at Candor, Roberta and Stefano at Piazza 1909, Fabien and Vanessa at Lean & Green, David/Ryan/Steve from the WhisknLadle group among many other locally owned-and-operated businesses that make this town a beautiful and loving community.
We hope you’ll make a similar choice when deciding on your gym membership. Because sometimes, spending your hard earned money in the wrong place comes at a much higher price than the transaction.
— Brett Murphy and Kera Murphy are the owners of La Jolla Sports Club at 7825 Fay Ave., La Jolla. Brett Murphy is also president of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.
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