Oakland, Berkeley, And East Bay News, Events, Restaurants, Music, & Arts
Bonnie---don't know who you talked with but Country Cheese has NOT experienced an increase in customers or profit since the MM changed hands. You must have talked with someone who did not understand or did not know. You should speak with one of the owners and they will tell you. It's quite the opposite in terms of revenues and they feel the results of MM carrying the exact same brands at prices so low, it's impossible to match.
I appreciate how MM is nicer since the new owners came and yes MM always carried some tea, some cheese, some chocolate (I think). BUT now they have expanded in those areas (and others) carrying the EXACT SAME brands as the smaller shops and underpricing them. If the small shops go out of business, of course MM's prices will rise. And to what end? To have some empty storefronts? That won't be good for the area. To have a Walgreen's move in? No thank you; we have enough of those! This isn't about being regressive or having grudges. It is about maintaining one of the few corners in Berkeley where independent small shops remain and where one can have a real feeling of being in a neighborhood. People of all ages hang out having pizza, coffee, or bakery goodies and there are some regulars who make a habit of it. That is so rare in this day and age. Economists have shown that more businesses of the same type draw more customers--e.g., all the restaurants on the top of Solano compete with each other but help each other by drawing more consumers. Thus it also helps MM to have the small shops there as a draw; it is not simply that MM is the only draw. So it is in MM's interest to have the other shops there stay healthy rather than drive down their ability to survive.
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