Berkeley is changing

I read an article in the NYTime’s National Report on Sunday about a book store, Cody’s Books, closing in Berkeley.  Cody’s is closing.  The once famous and fantastic store on Telegraph Avenue has been losing money for years and finally said enough.  Other stores on Telegraph Avenue have taken a nose dive too.  Why is what the article was really trying to answer or at least give the reader something to think about.

Times has changed.  Berkeley has changed.  The students have changed.  The neighborhood has changed.  The cost of homes have changed.  A once radical socially progressive area has turned into something else.  Guess what, so has the majority of the country.  Look who is running the country.  The demographics have changed.

Andy Ross, who owns Cody’s blamed a lot of it on the competition such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Locals will tell you it is either because of the City of Berkeley, the homeless, U of California, the war in Iraq, Ronald Reagan, the Internet or lack of parking.  I agree with some of that but not all of that.  There happened to be a picture of Cody’s in the paper.  Lots of space.  Why didn’t Andy Ross changed with the times?

Changing is happening everywhere.  There is always room for new businesses and businesses that see that they need to change based on what is happening around them.  Why didn’t Cody change the store.  Sell more items but books, create a coffee/food area, downscale the space, venture into other areas of retail that complimented the books, etc.  Is it sad they are closing, sure but someone else will come in with new ideas and regenerate Telegraph Street into something new and different. 

This is no different than taking sections of cities that are being revitalized.  Telegraph Street is exactly what has happened on 8th Street in NYC.  The customer that shopped their 20 years ago does not exist anymore or at least there are not enough of them to keep a whole street in business.  Read the neighborhood, read the customers who live here now, make the changes that are needed to keep your customers happy and keep new customers coming in the door.  Restaurants that are around for years continue to do that or they end up closing too. 

If you don’t change with the times, you can’t stay with the times.  It is that simple.