Atlas and Alice - Issue 7

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Page 33

Atlas & Alice | Issue 7, Summer/Fall 2016

Must Be the Location I just lost another tenant: that’s five in as many years. Vicky’s Pet Shop, Shaya’s Healing Stones & Crystals, Alana’s Judaica Boutique, Mimi’s Party Supplies, Lisa’s Sports & Fitness—all out of business. But stores close all the time, for good reasons beyond anyone’s control: the economy, competition from big-boxes and online retailers, mismanagement… Still, other stores in this same shopping center, some only a door or two away, have been thriving for years or decades. And the shopping center itself is well-trafficked—it’s just my location that’s become a commercial dead zone, that can’t keep a retailer in it for more than a year. The electricity and plumbing works fine, though, and there’s a goodsized stockroom, a back door to receive merchandise—there’s nothing physically wrong with the property. So if it isn’t a physical problem with the actual retail space, and if the general location is fine—then I’ll have to look deeper for an answer. I can be a touch introspective now and then: especially if it might benefit me. Hell, maybe I should look into those crystals Shaya sold—for nine months, anyway. Ah yes: serene Shaya, the yoga teacher out to spread love and enlightenment by retailing stones and crystals bought wholesale from a Chinese sweatshop devouring young women and belching out black fumes of death. When she signed the lease, I’d predicted she wouldn’t last the year—but why keep the space empty when here was cash at hand? I was right, though: I don’t think Shaya had even one profitable month. Her knack for business was—laughable, if I’m being polite. What surprised me, though, was how angry she got at me, personally, when she had to close up shop. What was it she called me? “Hypercritical, controlling, and manipulative.” That was an interesting meeting. And there was one more thing she said—Oh. Yes. The retail space was “set up to fail.” “How so?” “It has a negative energy.” I rolled my eyes. “Well, why don’t you use your crystals to change it?” “I tried,” she retorted. “Sometimes the energy is the energy.” Sounds like a bunch of hippie bullshit, but who knows? Maybe she had a point. All right, then, fine. I’m willing to open—ugh—my heart chakra and meditate on her accusation. Had I really set up all these retailers to fail? I went through the defunct stores, one by one, and I did start to see a distinct pattern. I had scoffed at all of them, not just Shaya’s flaky New Age shop. Take Vicky’s Pet Store: I thought pets were too much hassle, too much noise, too much mess and responsibility—ergo, the dog and cat accoutrements she sold were a ridiculous waste of money. Energy bars for dogs and refrigerated gourmet cat food—seriously? Now, it’s 33