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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries Online

Mixed feelings about Athol development

My Grandma used to joke that if they ever paved the streets of Athol she was going to close up her craft shop and move away. Most of the streets remained unpaved in her lifetime, but Athol definitely changed. There are two gas stations now, two fewer bars, a little grocery store and a highway interchange that bypasses the city and gives Highway 95 drivers a limited view of the town: The backside of a scrapyard and stacks of rusty cars. Bayview Herb says his blog is getting a ton of hits thanks to his scoop yesterday about a proposed shopping center. There's definitely a lot of interest and some mixed reaction. A lot of people are happy that they might not have to plan a trip to town to stock up on groceries, especially in winter. There is concern, though, about bigger retailers coming in and knocking out the smaller guys like Athol's Little Town Market. I watched business at Grandma's craft store dwindle after JoAnn Fabric's and Michael's craft stores opened in town. She used to be one of the only retailers of the special Red Heart yarn that old biddies loved for their crochet projects. Customers came from as far away as Spokane to buy her yarn. Once the big box stores opened, she couldn't compete. Convenience comes at a cost, no doubt. I think Athol, though, is ready to grow.



Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.