Letter: Give Main Street a chance, please

To the Editor:

There was not a single person shopping on Main Street in downtown Ridgefield at noon Saturday, Dec. 16 — the height of the Christmas shopping season.

In case you forgot about what your Main Street looks like, it’s very New England-y. There is snow. There are shops, antique buildings, Christmas lights, well-decorated storefronts, and lots of good cheer.  

Just no people.  

As I walked down the street, shopkeepers were peering out the doors in the hopes of seeing a prospect or two. There were none. Really none.  

It didn’t look like the Main Street of a quaint New England town at Christmastime. Especially, the Main Street of a fairly affluent town of 22,000 people who have enough civic pride/concern to initiate a zoning change to restrict landlords to renting to retail tenants on the first floor. Maybe it’s not high rents that keeps retail away, maybe it’s a lack of revenues — 22,000 people and not a single one on Main Street. Really, it’s sad.

Look, folks, I get it — life is busy and the mall seems to have a lot of stuff in one place. Online is getting easier and easier. But if we want our Main Street to consist of anything besides real estate offices, banks and Chez Leonard, we need to sometimes buy something from somebody on our Main Street.

Halloween and Christmas Stroll are great crowd pleasers and a lot of fun but generally are net losses for the shopkeepers. There are constant requests of the shop owners to donate/advertise/give back to the community, but they don’t get a lot of support from the community. A lot of hard-working entrepreneurs have invested their savings and hearts and souls into small retail businesses on our Main Street and have lost it all.  

Please, give Main Street a shot.

Now, look at the second picture (below) taken at noon on Sunday, Dec. 17.  Things are looking up — there are two people!

Robert P. Burke

Ridgebury Road, Dec. 17