Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our Stewart's closed on Sunday. It was a very sad day. Four unknown employees of corporate came who seemed to have little purpose aside from counting inventory and standing around blocking the aisles with plastic containers, making it difficult to shop. No free cone promotionals were to be seen.

They have now removed the sign and thrown most of the interior into a dumpster in the parking lot. The store is already listed on the real estate section of the Stewart's website with a deed restriction -- no convenience stores. We also have leaned the three to get the axe: Camden, Castleton, Saugerties.

Friends of Castleton Stewart's are in full swing, however. The company's stonewalling has only strengthened our resolve. We continue to attract media attention. The "Stand With Castleton. Boycott Stewart's" campaign is moving along. Much more to come, so stay tuned.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Our media attention continues to grow, and the FB friends site is adding members. But Stewart's continues to stonewall, parroting the same tired statement over and over again. They should fire their PR person, because seriously? They suck. They may be good at thinking up new ice cream names and promotionals, but they are in way over their head when it comes to crisis.

I wrote the paragraph several days ago and saved it as a draft.I have not gotten back to finishing it until now, and surprisingly, the sentiment is fine. We have had television and newspaper coverage galore, and now we even have the support of some elected officials. No matter -- Stewart's refuses to budge. The shop is scheduled to close tomorrow.  I am not giving up -- and will go into boycott mode if they lock the door.

This 2014 documentary, “Save Our Stewart’s,” chronicles the struggle of the Friends of Castleton Stewart’s to prevent a popular village grocery store from closing. The store is one of the few remaining businesses on Main Street, and its loss is devastating socially and economically for the tiny Hudson River town in upstate New York. It is a powerful film about the people of Castleton-on-Hudson and their protest to save their Main Street store, and ultimately, their community. It starts with a news story and then continues with a rally and finishes with Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin’” (1964). 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I have written little here about this or anything else lately, because "this" + work + personal matters are all-consuming. "This" is the fight to save our local Stewart's shop. I learned on October 8 that the company planned to shutter store #138 forever at the end of October (later discovered the actual date to be 10/26). Apparently they associates were informed 10/1 or so. It wasn't a very public announcement, the way opening a new or remodeled store is. I suppose someone at the Saratoga headquarters is aware that closing a 40 year old store will be unpopular. A resourceful volunteer started a petition, which is how I found out. 

This is a devastating loss to the village, and as a loyal customer, it it heart-breaking personally as well. So I switched into high gear, making this effort my #1 priority. I've been sending facebook messages and then writing letters to the company, targeting politicians in person and electronically, making phone calls, preparing packets for the media, sending tweets #saveourcastletonstewarts , creating fliers that have been handed out by foot patrol, and establishing a facebook group called Friends of Castleton Stewart's. The story has now been picked up by the Times Union and YNN. We are having our second rally at the store tomorrow.

So far the response from everyone except Stewart's has been enthusiastic. The company has relied on boilerplate (with the same typo, lol -- sloppy, sloppy, sloppy). If these efforts don't work, we will switch into chain-wide boycott mode. It will be hard, but I know I can get it going. But we are not there yet, and won't be for eight days. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014