10-05-2017 Letters and Commentary

Shop local

Dear Editor,

I have lived in the Coloma and Watervliet area my entire life. I love my home town. I have the honor of being the current President of the Coloma-Watervliet Chamber of Commerce and like every chamber we promote shopping local. A term that comes to mind is “If you don’t use it you will lose it.” Our local merchants not only provide needed items but they make it convenient vs. driving out of town to save a few bucks. Do you REALLY save a few bucks by driving past local stores when you consider time and gas?

For years I have heard people complain about prices at our local Harding’s Market. I admit there are a few items that are higher in price. However, what is the price tag on service? I recently moved and find myself closer to a big box chain store in a neighboring town. Every trip I made there ended with poor service and frustration. The next week I thought I will try this store’s newer location a few miles down the road. It was even worse. When you walk in they have everything a person could possibly need; in the grocery section endless varieties of foods and options. The sales seem decent; however, you have to buy this and that to get another free or a certain dollar off and if you don’t choose the exact combination, NO DEAL, literally. Along with the frustration of jumping through their hoops there is no effort to accommodate the customer, bag your own groceries, load them, and don’t get behind.

My husband will not shop anywhere except Harding’s Market in Coloma. He loves Fred’s Meat Market and their Deli. The employees go above and beyond to provide over the top service, it might have something to do with the foundation of their service, the decades of mentoring from Tony Forestieri. Tony knew the meaning of customer service and he instilled it in the employees. If you worked under Tony at some point in your life you learned a valuable set of skills, diligence and passion for serving customers. They still ask, paper or plastic? They bag your groceries, take them to your car, and load them. They check your egg carton and if an egg is cracked the bagger runs back to grab a replacement. If you forget something while in line the bagger will run back and grab it for you. A few weeks ago there was a sale, buy a watermelon and get a carton of strawberries free, I didn’t notice and while in line the cashier asked the bagger to grab the free strawberries for me.

We also have B&B Outlet in Watervliet, a locally owned and operated grocery store offering discounted items and essentials like milk, bread, etc. Great service, friendly employees, and you can’t beat their prices. The owners Ben and Beth Wagner support their community through many sponsorships and by volunteering on committees that make a difference in the community that they live and work in.

Those big box stores might have 1’000s of options to choose from but there is one thing you can’t find there and that is service.


Karla D. Smothers

Athletes don’t kneel

Dear Editor,

You commented last week that the debate of athletes not kneeling for the National Anthem and the U.S. Flag was a stupid debate, that these athletes were showing free speech.

Let’s look at this from some slightly different angles.  First off to me not standing for our anthem or our flag is demonstrating against our entire country and the “freedom” it stands for, this person kneeling is in essence demonstrating against the very ideas and laws that give him free speech in the first place.  Our country and our flag deserve our respect at all times because they represent the freedom that allows us to speak up for or against a cause.

Spending my money and attending a pro ball game, I came to see athletes play a respectful professional game of ball, not to see a protest.  It would seem that these athletes standing for our anthem would be as much a part of their “job” as throwing a ball.

We could debate even if America is still a free country.  Get a piece of land and a back hoe and start digging a basement for a house and see how fast someone shows up demanding your permits to build this house.

When we talk free country some of what some think is or should be free is not.  While considered a free country do we have to make a law for professional athletes to behave in a professional manner and stand to show respect for the country as a whole.  Considering they are making a whole lot more money here playing ball than they would in any other country and if the U.S. does not deserve their respect let them go to Canada with all the actors that went during the last election.