As the saying goes – We vote with our wallets

MONTCLARION: July 20, 2012

“Put Your Money Where Your House Is”.  The owner of Farmstead Cheeses and Wines shares this slogan in response to last week’s Town Crier column on the closure of another small business, The Tulip Grove. The question I posed was “are we doing enough to support shops in Montclair?” Diamond, who is also the vice president of the Montclair Village Association, says over 200 businesses make up Montclair. “We’re dentists, psychologists, cheesemongers, chiropractors, barristas, bagelmen, cobblers, grocers, bankers, realtors, chefs, bakers, kitchen mavens, computer repairmen, camera shop experts, wine and liquor purveyors, booksellers, and a myriad other professions who are committed to making Montclair Village a fun and useful place to visit.”

     Diamond, himself, has a home here – and a business. He says he wonders what his community would be like if there were no shoe repair shop, or pharmacy or computer repair place. “I shudder when I think of the suburban sprawl that I see in my travels  – chain stores, big boxes and franchise restaurants as far as the eye can see.”  His message – indeed, his plea – is that we consider the power of our pocketbooks. It’s the power to make or break a small business struggling to succeed in the village we call home.

Email bag: Reader Elizabeth Rynecki alerted me to the fact that  vandals have smashed two of the climbing horse statues at Montclair Park. “What drive people to damage our community?” she asks. “Is it cultural? Socioeconomic? Indifference? Drunks? So sad.”  Sad, indeed. Yes, a work order will be put in for repairs, but until then, one horse has a smashed skull and the other is missing an ear. And small children who see this lose a little bit more of their innocence.

     Book it: It’s another new book for longtime Tribune columnist, Dave Newhouse. The man is a writing machine! This one’s an Olympic-related novel called “White Lightning”, just in time for the summer games. It’s a sports story/murder mystery with a sprinkle of social commentary and “a dab of mythology added to the mix”. Dave says you can find it on for $5.99.

In memory: I’ve been remiss in not covering the death of an extraordinary Oaklander. Elfie Larkin passed away this spring, not long after her 100th birthday. She was a pioneer in the Coast Guard – one of the first SPARS, or women reserves. She taught in the Oakland Schools and was a tireless volunteer in the community. Elfie’s legacy lives on in many ways, but the most visible is a plaque in her honor at the Oakland Zoo, where she was a longtime docent.

     Animal tales: Fairy tales can come true – it can happen to you – if your name is Gus. The soulful stray pooch who’d been living at Oakland Animal Services since March has a new home. During last month’s Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon, a family who’d just lost their dog to cancer saw a Facebook posting about Gus. They drove out immediately to meet him and fell in love. In all, 127 animals found new homes in just two days of the adoptathon, which raised more then $107,00 for the animal agency.
     Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-723-2525, by email at or on the web at

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