It’s been said many times before that no one likes Renton…until they live here. Then they love it! Growing up here, I took it’s charms and convenience for granted, along with the plentiful free parking, beautiful park areas, etc. Leaving to find BIGGER, greener pastures in neighboring Seattle, I never imagined I’d return to my home town. Now that I’ve been back for a few years, I wonder why I ever left. Returning, I saw Renton with new eyes.
Take a moment to think about our city and what sets it apart. What are the key elements that make Renton Rentonish? I think about those places that are like none other anywhere else: our natural features and special places, and of course, our small businesses.
Journey with me into a potential dystopian future, in which all small businesses have closed. Downtown Renton is a long line of boarded up storefronts. You have to go to Starbucks to get coffee, because Liberty Cafe, Common Ground Cupcakes, The Met, and Luther’s Table are closed. I hope you really like Red Robin, Applebee’s, Denny’s, or fast food, because those are your dining choices.
With all the small businesses closed at the Landing, you are left with big box options: no Poggi Bonsi, C’est La Vie, Creative Mom Toys, Eyes On the Landing… <sarcasm> At least the Big Box stores save you money, right? </sarcasm>
In this alternate reality, Renton looks like EVERY OTHER CITY. Having a fancy chain coffee store is not something to brag about, move here for, stay here for, or even remember.
In our reality, small businesses all over our city are struggling to survive, and we, as citizens of Renton, need to take responsibility for the demise of many of our city’s great small business assets (think Happy Delusions). More are on the chopping block if we don’t intervene (Old Renton Book Exchange). We are responsible because we chose to patronize big chains, rather than small businesses.
How bland does Renton have to get before we lose a sense of what “Rentonish” means? If we don’t want a city that looks like every other, it’s time we stood up and fought for it before it’s too late. Fight back by changing your shopping habits. Choose to RelyLocal!