Sunday, December 14, 2008

Domino effect in Savannah, GA

In the relatively small town where I live, Savannah GA, there are more and more signs of recession.
  • Like everywhere else, houses stopped selling. We did not get very anxious about it, as housing around here had gone up much faster than salaries: this can only go on for so long.
  • The neighbors at the fringe of society in our neighborhood disappeared: the mom who was on drugs, the couple who "worked to drink", the entire household of some freshly installed students that we suspected of selling drugs.
  • The new commercial building, pretty and well located, did not rent. It is usual for old business locations to stay empty for a year, but for a new building, it is surprising.
  • Places that had little excuse for survival started going, going and were gone. such as the Linen and Things specially designed for people much older than me (I am almost 70 years old: it does not leave many customers of an older generation), the fast food which was always dirty, the fabric store where the manager hated all her customers, the antique shop which was filled with expensive junk, the restaurant where nobody ever greets you. They are gone, it may be sad, but it is healthy.
  • We lost the very nice couple next door and their five kids. They both worked in construction, lost their job the same day and could not pay the rent. In six months, unemployment in Savannah has gone from 4.7% to 6.0 %. Construction, manufacturing, leisure and information are hit.
  • Shops that I really liked disappeared, the nice small Mexican restaurant just slightly out of the way, the great little store of wine and cheese, who went from fair business to loosing money for the last five months.
  • Smart places are in trouble like the elegant extended stay hotel nearby, the best restaurant, the gallery owner.
  • LOWES sent me a card offering me 10 dollars if I spend $25.
  • A friend of mine lost his job in the local newspaper... but we made it in the New York Times with a sad story and a beautiful picture.

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