|Streetside in Hailey|
Lunching in bustling Hailey, after struggling with the heavy midday - not even rush hour - traffic on Main Street, we were startling to read this in the Idaho Mountain Express:
"Business for Ketchum retailers during the past winter was not nearly as bad as rumor would have it, a non-scientific survey by the Mountain Express indicates."
Business down? Well, you certainly wouldn't say so comprehensively. But so far this decade Ketchum has been losing retailers, at least, a net of 13 from 2001 to 2006.
Apparently last winter was reputed to be poor for business; and also apparently, that depends on which retailer you are. Nothing especially notable in that. But the story went on to describe many of the structural economic changes in the Ketchum area, including a decline in motel and overnight traffic and a great increase in condominiums, which seems to have diminished trade for many retailers. And retailers are concluding some new things. A Hailey bookseller who shuttered that business recently concluded that, after the opening and then closing of five sucessive booksellers in Hailey over the last quarter-century, maybe Hailey just won't support a book store. Why is less immediately clear, but offers some interesting grounds for speculation.
A tucked-away, seemingly routine story, but well-worth examination.