Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Not The Best Laid Plans

I do not live in Lake Charles, LA, but I work there and spend an awful lot of time there. It is not a big city by any reasonable definition, but it is full of bizarre hilarity all the same. Let us discuss two such instances of said hilarity today.

Several years ago, the O'Reilly Auto Parts chain bought out the Hi/LO Auto Supply chain. The new O'Reilly store in Lake Charles occupied the old Hi/LO building for quite some time, but recently moved into a brand-new building a block or two away. This building is across the street from an AutoZone store, but I guess that makes sense. You can make your buying decision based on store preference, pricing or whichever side of the street you happen to be driving.

Anyway, this move left the old Hi/LO building unoccupied for a time, but some entrepreneur decided it was exactly the place to open a new business. And what sort of business did he open? An auto parts store. Yes, just a block or two from the former tenant of the building and a competing rival national chain. An auto parts store with the surely-unauthorized name of "Best Buy".

(For the record, there is a "Best Buy Auto Parts" in existence, but it is based in Canada.)

I have no idea what engineered this stroke of non-genius, but it did not pay off for those involved. In the entire time it was open, the only time I saw customers in the parking lot of this auto parts store was when there were people buying watermelons from the back of a guy's pick-up truck. I cannot remember ever seeing anyone buying something from the store itself. Needless to say, it is closed now.

More recently, Capitol Cyclery, a bicycle store of long standing in the city and former Schwinn dealership, moved to a brand-new building just across the street from their former location. But their old location was not vacant for long. There is already a new store there.

You probably are way ahead of me and have guessed that someone has opened a new bicycle store directly across the street from the old bicycle store. I am now wondering if it's the same guy behind the ill-fated auto parts store. I mean, you'd think it would almost have to be, wouldn't you?

Oh well, at least there's another place for the watermelon truck to park.

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