EDITOR’S NOTE: A season of giving; a season of shopping

The holiday season is upon us, that joyous time of year when we gather with family and share our blessings.

Sadly, there are those with few blessings to celebrate. They deserve joy, too. And that’s where Renton’s generous people have stepped up – again. The proof is in the smiles.

Look at Page 1 of today’s Renton Reporter. There are three people with the brightest smiles I have ever seen, put there by those of you who filled the shelves at the Salvation Army Renton Rotary Food Bank. Now that’s joy.

Just a reminder of what Masango likes to tell us: Need knows no season.

Today marks the start of another season, the holiday shopping season. The Friday after Thanksgiving Day is known as Black Friday. I should Google the reason why sometime.

Also on today’s front page, you’ll see a Christmassy photo that Celeste Gracey shot at Mary Clymer’s happy delusions gift shop on South Third Street. It’s a lead-in to Celeste’s look at just a few of the many shops in Renton where shoppers can find almost anything to give to a friend or loved one. Don’t just stop there. If you need more ideas, just check out the list starting on page 16 of local businesses participating in the Curve Card discount program. Good deals, good stuff. The makings of a great holiday season.

Again, sadly, there are businesses in Renton that also need our help. Sales during the holiday represent a big share of their revenue during the year. For many, a successful holiday season can make the difference between staying in business or the owners losing their life’s savings.

Downtown Renton has lost a number of businesses recently, although others continue to spring up. One icon, the Uptown Glassworks, is in trouble. Paul Sullivan has said that on Christmas Day, he’ll close his doors if he doesn’t have investors to keep his shop afloat financially. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Three restaurants, all with loyal followings, have closed in recent weeks – Calico Cheescake/Cafe Lure, Fin n Bone and Billy McHales. They were all run by talented owners and chefs who got caught in the economic downtown.

Calico’s Joe Kennedy – and his cheesecake – are well-known in Renton. I talked to him recently; I’ll write more about the state of restaurants in Renton later.

Kennedy has declared bankruptcy and is now looking for work, something he hasn’t done in years. His landlord, Don Schumsky, perhaps one of the savviest retaurant owners in the land, is looking for another tenant.

Kennedy is a good example of how small businesses operate on small margins. Business was good, but then there are those taxes that everyone has to pay. If we as a society want small businesses to survive and thrive, then we need to ensure our sometimes business-unfriendly taxes aren’t the final nail in their coffin.

Happy Holidays from the Renton Reporter!!

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