When John Sawyer announced plans to close Sawyer’s News – a downtown mainstay for 64 years – folks lined up the usual suspects. Blame a bad economy, they said. Blame big-box stores and chains. Blame state tax laws that make cities dependent on sales tax revenues from big-box stores. Blame city parking fees and fines. Blame the city’s decision to replace parking meters with ticket dispensers. Blame the city’s erratic policy toward downtown renewal.
To the list, we might add one more: At a time when newspapers and magazines are struggling to maintain circulation, the stores that sell newspapers and magazines will also struggle.
There will be time for a longer conversation about a changing economy and about the downtown. (The bike store next door to Sawyer’s closed earlier this month.)
For now, it’s enough to wish this wasn’t happening. In Sonoma County, Sawyer’s News provides a one-of-a-kind selection of newspapers, magazines and journals – and it served as a meeting place for people who would take a moment to shake hands and talk about the latest community news.