The Herald News, Thursday, October 12, 2017 – Page B2
In a city known for feasts, the opening of a Market Basket turned out to be a festa of a different sort.
“It’s just a grocery store,” the professional funspoilers say. “Why is everybody going crazy?”
Well, in a city where entertainment options can be a bit limited, and free entertainment still more limited, a new store is a big deal indeed. For those who drove to New Bedford to shop at Market Basket, it’s a bigger deal still. And indeed, a quick stroll through the store last weekend revealed a near-holiday mood.
And why not?
Fall River is perpetually plagued by the notion that other places have things we do not.
That’s partially true in the sense that bigger, wealthier towns have bigger, better things than we do. In some ways, Fall River is perpetually the poor child who never gets to have the fashionable clothes, or the “must have” sneakers. There are a lot of other small cities in the same situation.
The rich kid has so many toys she can’t play with them all, but the child of less wealthy parents treasures every gift.
This is not to paint Fall River as a ghetto. There are plenty of nice things in the city, and plenty of nice people who are making a living.
Still, things could be a little prettier overall, a little more exciting, a little more varied.
And that, of course, is what made the first weekend of Market Basket such a riotous, but goodnatured, celebration. Surely other, smaller celebrations will attend the opening of the shopping center’s other tenants, before the long winter closes in on Fall River and going anywhere is more likely to be a job than a pleasure.
Their numbers decrease every year, but there are a lot of people who remember downtown Fall River as crowded with stores, packed with people, a source of great excitement, and a destination for city residents and others.
There are a lot of people who remember the Harbour Mall as a destination, a place where you could shop, get something to eat, see a movie or go to the arcade on a teenage date.
The South Coast Marketplace may well come to occupy the same place in the hearts of this generation.
Greatly anticipating, and then greatly enjoying, the opening of a new grocery store may well be the definition of harmless fun. As such, should be encouraged, not diminished.