Vidakafka, a women’s clothing and lingerie store, stands just a few feet up Tinker Street from Joshua’s Café, which I profiled last week. This store has survived in Woodstock for decades, which is a considerable achievement. Shops fail with alarming frequency.
Myrna and I stopped in Vidakafka a couple of times. Myrna loved theatrical clothing and lingerie, but she just couldn’t find anything that fit her. The shop doesn’t carry clothing that fits a petite, slender Asian woman. How many petite, slender Asian women live in Woodstock?
That is a discussion for another time. Woodstock engages in endless hand-wringing about race and racial prejudice. Woodstock is 99% white. So, just about everything in town is, as it probably should be, geared to sell to that white majority.
I received an e-mail from a reader yesterday, in reference to my bit about the Cub Market, that I will quote in full:
“Must you put down small business in a small town that is already suffering from the close proximity of the big box stores?”
Well, I didn’t “put down” Cub Market. I just didn’t play the role of cheerleader. I wrote honestly about that shop. It’s very overpriced. How can it help but be overpriced, considering its size and location? I will probably patronize it on occasion. I appreciate the cleanliness and the effort to provide some style.
I like the big box stores. Price is an important consideration to me. I don’t know why I should feel any particular allegiance to mom and pop stores in Woodstock.
I do understand that arguing for this allegiance is a popular stance in Woodstock. Many of the hipsters in town want to return to a 19th century manner of living. I’m not saying this derisively. In this vision, small town living matters. Small scale businesses and industries are good for the soul. The individual lives within a scale and structure that is more humane and spiritual. This is the “back to the land” vision of the hippies.
I understand, but it doesn’t have much to do with me. I like working for the corporation. Middle class American life is great. Shopping at Costco saves me a lot of money. If Woodstock businesses can provide goods and services that interest me at prices that aren’t outrageous, I’m happy to patronize those shops. But, I don’t have any obligation to shop in Woodstock. I don’t live in this town for ideological reasons. It just happens to be a very nice place to own a home.
So, while I wish shops like Vidakafka well, I seldom patronize them. Myrna bought her dainties at Victoria’s Secret, in Chinatown and online. Vidakafka has managed to survive for decades, so they must have developed a formula that works.