This summer much of our downtown has been taken over by film crews, cameras, lights and action. Also lots of mud, and not from local sources. There have been four productions so far this year, two of them almost back-to-back.
What began as charming interludes has become less enchanting to many merchants and residents. The township declared itself to be film friendly in 2001, but why did we do it and what exactly does that mean? More importantly, should we continue this policy and if so, under what terms?
Film production can provide a boost to local economies by bringing temporary customers to local business, and there is no doubt that occurs in our community. Food outlets are booming, the hardware store sells bits and pieces to hold stuff together, but it is not a win across the board. Each merchant negotiates their own compensation with film location managers who are naturally incentivized to get the best deal for their employers, and some are more fair-minded than others. Most small business owners prefer regular, loyal customers to temporary ones. A vibrant downtown requires profitable merchants. Let’s not contribute to the obstacles they face in being just that. Buy locally! KG