Many times since we have moved to Bethel I have asked the question, “what did people do here before the new store, theater, and pool opened up?” I ask it like once a week, but I never wanted to find out the answer firsthand. Unfortunately, we are one step closer to finding out for ourselves.
It was announced very abruptly Monday of this week that the shiny new Swanson’s grocery store, the one that had been open less than eight months, was closing. On Friday. It was such an abrupt announcement that most of the staff was totally blindsided.
It bums me out because it is the place we go to feel sort of normal. On weekends we shop at the fancier store and eat from the deli counter and it just feels nice. It is where the movie theater is housed as well. The theater will continue in business as it owned by the Bethel Native Corporation and not the store. The BNC also owns the building. I would imagine if they don’t get a solid renter in there pretty soon we might find out what Bethel is like without a theater as well.
Anyway, all week the store has had everything half off. Everything. From a tiny lemon to a giant TV to all the winter gear you could ask for. The first day it took over three hours to get through the checkout line. We weren’t really interested in going. It felt dirty to pick at the bones of a dying store that was about to put eighty people out of work.
It got hard to ignore all the people saying how much stuff they got, though. So we went after work today. This is what happened.
We found some great treasures. Velveeta cheese! Bleach! Bacons bits! Birthday supplies! Easter supplies! A new toilet bowl brush!
I know it sounds mundane but you have no idea how much we would normally spend on these things. It was kind of exciting…if you didn’t think about the fact that this store will be gone tomorrow night. Sometimes it’s hard to stay optimistic in Bethel. I think I’ll go eat some processed cheese food to feel better.