The fact is that you, Scotty?, know less about those businesses than you purport.
This is not about why places like The Reptile House are gone. It is: Why has nothing taken their place? I understand that now about your position.
I wish GR was more fun too.
No anger. Cheers, D-
I know enough to walk into a lame store and know it's lame. I think that the tendancy of the small hipster crowds in Bland Rapids over the years has been to heap attention or praise on the few nominal businesses that they can even identify with. A few become iconic, like Reptile, Vinyl, The INtersection (in its heyday), Scavanger Hunt, etc. If you go back farther there's Son's and Daughters (the hall, not the coffee shop), thursdays at 'Top', Club 67, The Carosel, evenings at the "ampetheater". Some are just dumb, though. Like Music Expresso. I mean, come on. It's not enough to praise a business owner for "trying". If the store sucks, then it sucks. You don't get a cookie for that. You get bancruptcy. That's business. I could care less if someone's heart is in the right place. Heart don't pay the bills.
You're right, though. Why so little? Why doesn't more go on? I think it's a few basic things. One, the vast majority of people in the Bland just plain suck. They're not going hang out at Reptile or sit in the sun all day Festival to see the Screaming Karats. This is the problem of there not really being a market for hipsterism here. There isn't a critical mass of hipster cash to adequately support much of a business community. Second, is the fact that there's a brain drain and a cool drain on West Michigan when it comes to this scene. I can't begin to name all the people I know who've packed bag and high tailed it to Chicago, Detroit, Portland, etc. These are people who now run GloNo. People in bands, Writers, really great bartenders and countless potential customers for businesses. For a lot of people the question has always been, "why stay in this shit hole, when I can enjoy the scene in so many other cool cities." The best of these people never open businesses here, for them this dale is past tense.
I know I come off as sarcastic as hell, but that's just my wise ass, jaded attitude bleeding through. I shopped, hung out and supported every Bland Rapids joint mentioned in this thread over the years. And I still live here. I could go on and on and on to prove my authenticity to the hipster gestapo. The only thing i purport is to have been here and seen it. I have as much a perspective as anybody to comment on it.