A private equity firm specializing in self-storage, Crystal View Capital (www.crystalviewcapital.com), purchased Ken’s Korner, the least glamorous shopping plaza on our Highway 525 backbone. They are raising costs for a dozen local businesses. How can we keep this community hub from turning into just a place for our stuff?
Private equity firms are like scorpions.
There’s a fable about a scorpion and a beetle at a river’s edge. The scorpion offers the beetle a ride across on his back.
“But you will sting me.”
“No I won’t, I promise.”
Once across, the scorpion stings.
The beetle says, “You promised.”
The scorpion says, “It’s in my nature to sting.”
Osprey, property manager for Crystal View Capital, says on their website: “Osprey Management believes in the mom & pop businesses and we want to see them survive!” Trust us, they say. We’ll only turn empty storefronts into self-storage. But they are scorpions. Their business model requires maximization of profits.
Some suggest we boycott the self-storage, not fill their property with our stuff and dollars.
Let’s see. Do we really need more storage units?
Some are crucial. Business inventory. Temporary storage as people move out or in. Some, though, are more optional. Surplus stuff that’s neither used nor sold – out of sight out of mind. This could be turned into dollars with an afternoon of sorting and then listed on Drew’s or Craig’s list. Or donated to our thrift stores. Our units, stripped of excess, could be shared, halving the cost. Stuff could go in a shed on our property, an upfront cost with a long tail of savings.
There is liberation in having less. Boycotts can work once we realize we don’t really need what a corporation is peddling.
Our island residents might be at odds on issues, but we could come together to keep our rural character.
We can shed our storage units. We can #shopkenskorner. Perhaps rent empty spaces for our businesses. We can write to Osprey (email@example.com) that promises to support local businesses, and hold them to their word, scorpions though they may be.
The beetles, united, might just win.