Black Friday blues |

Black Friday blues

On Black Friday 2012, we talked to three stores catering to men’s interests, among them Carson Valley CarQuest.

CarQuest didn’t even survive to see today, closing two weeks ago.

Today we say farewell to Scolari’s Food & Drug after 23 years.

A black Friday indeed.

Meanwhile those box stores who waited until midnight to open are already behind those who invaded Thanksgiving evening in an effort to be first to sell a big screen TV or game console made in another country.

Once, Minden and Gardnerville merchants could count on residents’ reluctance to leave Douglas County. Families could purchase groceries here, buy tools, automobiles, a variety of goods shipped in by train and later truck. Until the mid-1980s, Highway 395 was a dangerous two-lane country road, famous for its bloody accidents. Now it’s a reasonably civilized highway that allowed people to live further from the twin towns.

As neighborhoods in the north grew, increasing numbers of Valley residents saw little benefit to traveling south for goods. Just before the great recession, the fastest growing portions of the Valley were around Johnson Lane and Jacks Valley Road. When the recession hit, those shops that were clinging by a thread found it cut. Stores that catered to wealthier clients found fewer shoppers year over year.

While sales tax numbers appear to be making a recovery in Douglas County, that ocean isn’t floating all boats.

Many lie broken by the shore, or beneath the waves where they’ve foundered in rough economic seas.

We’ve heard a lot of blame on our politicians for the big box retail vise Minden and Gardnerville merchants find themselves in, but competition’s a rough game, and things have been changing in Carson Valley for a long time.