Letter: Small businesses are bullied while chains are coddled

Small business bullied while chains coddled

To the editor:

Years ago, whenever the city of Pittsfield became concerned about teenage access to tobacco products, it conducted very successful "sting" operations, with the end results focused on punishing those businesses blatantly ignoring the legal age to buy such products. There was no cap on tobacco licenses and neither was there a local newspaper celebrating the demise of a small business serving a neighborhood.

The Berkshire Eagle's editorial today (Saturday, April 2), along with politicians in Pittsfield, implying the owners of Zuke's Soups "got what they deserved" is not the kind of Pittsfield I grew up in.

Has the Board of Health ever considered the fact that small markets provide ingredients for recipes so that people don't have to settle for fast food, helping families avoid the tide of obesity? Instead of bashing those trying to invest in Pittsfield selling eggs and milk, we should be looking for ways to make them feel welcomed.

The idea that Zuke's Soups should be lumped into the same category as Cumberland Farms and "Big Tobacco" is cruel and borderline bullying. In typical Pittsfield fashion of late, when Big-Y needed a tobacco license for its new convenience store, the conflict was resolved immediately. Conversely, bullies in local government don't fear small business owners like Zuke's Soups because their smallness leaves them without much clout. The double standard is getting a little hard to take.

James Massery, Pittsfield The writer is a former Ward 6 city councilor.


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