General Blight


If the car dealership near our house was open when we moved in, then it was already shutting down. For most of the ten years or so that we’ve lived in our quiet village, the car lot has stood empty. The pavement had cracked in recent years, and weeds took full advantage of the opportunity to form a crazed, green web through the lot.

Now I’m imagining a gigantic spider that weaves weed webs in a parking lot right near my house. Good going, me.

Anyway, there was this large untended commercial lot right next door. Okay, that was the auto part factory. But that’s now a recycling plant of some sort. I don’t really know, which is actually very hard to explain to drivers that show up during off hours. They always seem to think that we have the factory over for dinner or have it watch our cats when we’re out.

“You don’t have a number?” a driver will ask.

“No. They didn’t even tell me they were going. Pisses me off, because I wanted to take my wife out and was counting on them to feed the cats.”

…The car lot is (was) next door to the factory, is what I meant to say. To recap: our house, the factory, the car lot. Also a car wash that sort of borders all of these properties, but that’s irrelevant.

The point is that about a month ago the dealership office was torn down. Now the parking lot has been dug up, and there seems to be foundation work being done.

I know that something’s happening.

We were curious what could be going in. It’s kind of tricky to start a new business around here. It’s a pretty sheltered community, despite being only a 15 minute drive from larger towns and about half an hour from parts of Ann Arbor. The arrangement of roads makes it so that there’s not a lot of traffic, and what there is mostly consists of trucks and other long-distance travellers. If you’re planning on taking advantage of the proximity to the larger communities, you should just put your startup money on lottery tickets — you’ll probably lose less.

We finally took a look at the sign posted on the construction site. It turns out that the store’s going to be a Dollar General. Those things are like blight fungus, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. I just don’t see how it fits into a small village economy. It’ll probably take some snack and sundries business from the grocery and hardware stores, but that’s about it. Is there that much demand here for cheap can openers and crummy pens?

We’ll see. I just hope the factory leaves a number at the Dollar General when they’re away.

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