Yes, when I heard the news that Anderson Place Market is closing, not of the owners’ design, I went home and cried.
I received my bachelor’s degree in finance. When I was sitting in my last finance class that was about valuation I felt as if I were in heaven. It amazed me that “good will” could be translated into numbers useful to make business decisions. Since that business class I’ve always been amazed at the magic of numbers. It has taken me almost my entire adult life to know that there are some numbers that should never abstract a business reality — that of the deeply personal. Yes, there are businesses that are deeply personal. One such is Roseburg’s dear mom and pop, Anderson Place Market.
When I moved back to Roseburg, I was leaving behind a network of friends and family in Portland. I found a cute duplex right off Harvard Avenue. I had no friends here in Roseburg at all even though I graduated from high school here. I loved walking, but I never could go very far because I have a poor joint system. But Anderson’s was always walking distance to me.
With one transaction some certain day, putting money over the counter for a stamp and lottery ticket, I experienced a lesson: Money can be personal. You see, the other person taking my money was living his passion day in and day out. Those people who owned Anderson’s were people of love.
The more I visited this wonderful store, the more I didn’t feel alone. They had their grandchildren there all the time. Yes, all the time. Those little ones lived by Grandma and Grandpa as they worked their life, which was this store. Mama of the little ones worked the cash register while feeding the kids. The high chair was there for the newest little one. Grandpa fed the pigeons with his wee grandson of 3 to share the excitement and wonder of birds at his footstep.
The popcorn was warm, and the beer in the cooler cold. And like many mom and pop’s, there was tons of candy for the sweet tooth begging to be fed.
Anderson’s “good will” valuation should never be abstracted into a number. When I could go to a small store and be part of the love filling every corner and every space, there is no number that could express it. The true valuation of Anderson’s is that it is more than the sum of all transaction throughout its lifetime. Seeing love become a dying ember is indeed sad, because that kind of value brought to the store day in and day out will never be replicated.
OK, I’m sensitive, but isn’t it time that sensitive should return to commerce? That person taking the money across the counter has a real life, one in which she needs a roof over her head, one that needs money on the table. That person perhaps cares about you more than you realize.
So, saying goodbye to Anderson’s is a sad goodbye because it is a love lost. I can only ask that this dimming light be honored with a hero’s farewell. That kind of love can not be replaced.
So, Anderson’s: I’m so sorry you are leaving our town one light dimmer.
Lorelei O’Connor is a painter and poet who has a degree in finance from the University of Oregon and did graduate studies at Marylhurst University. She graduated from Roseburg High School in the mid-1970s and recently returned to the area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.