The Block Island Times

Publisher's Note: treasure family businesses

May 05, 2012

Treasure family businesses
I recently learned that Jamiel’s Shoe World, once the largest shoe stores in Rhode Island, has closed its doors. An institution in downtown Warren for 75 years, it was a family owned and operated business at one time employing 80 people.
The owner said they fell victim to the recession and changing buying habits. Younger customers now purchase shoes on the Internet or select from the shelves of big–box stores.
Not all our readers may be familiar with Jamiel’s. When Betty and I were living on the mainland and raising our children it was a frequent stop. But we all know of a store like Jamiel’s.
Owner Francis Jamiel told the Providence Journal that people today “don’t really care about the service. They don’t understand that a shoe needs to fit properly. I see a lot of people walking around in shoes that aren’t sized right….”
Every time we shop at a large chain store we contribute to the decline of family businesses. I myself am not innocent in this regard.
Somehow the Jamiel’s story really hit home. Towns all over our country have lost the shops and banks and service providers that gave a sense of place and community. We are fortunate that every business on Block Island is a family business. In fact, there is a nice selection of family businesses in South County also. It is something to treasure and support.  
— Fraser Lang

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