Schumacher Furs & Outerwear, after 111 years of business and one solid year of fervent animal-rights protests, is hanging it up in Portland.Owner Gregg Schumacher, who depicts the city’s core as dangerous and not conducive to retailers, said Tuesday that he’s moving his shop to the suburbs, though he wouldn’t say where.
“We’re leaving downtown Portland because we feel that it’s losing its appeal for people to shop in” said Schumacher, 51, rattling off a list of what he called his customers’ complaints. “The panhandling, the musicians on the street, the urination in the parking garages. Yes, the protests. But the whole place is not conducive to running a retail operation.”
Officials from City Hall to the Portland Business Alliance, while making it clear they’re sad to see downtown lose any merchant, particularly such a longtime institution, called Schumacher’s claims, in effect, bunk.
Good riddance. It’s not even that I particularly care about the animals so much as I find the enterprise very WASPy and devoid of style. It reminds me of the manner in which Dick Cheney hunts — stick a quail raised in captivitiy into a confined space and give the man a rifle to be used in between gulps of beer. If you are going to wear the fur creatures, I would prefer that it come from something you yourself hunted, which fits a bit more in the frontier history that Schumacher is an anachronism from seeing as it sways the scale from the luxury item (though its status as a status symbol has dissipated to the point where I don’t know who out there is impressed, and there’s another good riddance to be thrown there).
As for the protesters, I’ve seen them assualt customers walking out to the point where the customer has to take sanctuary in the convenience store across the street. It’s not exactly a case where I can sit comfortably in a “good guys versus bad guys” camp. I don’t know where the proper limits of their guerrila tactics lie — the chalked slogans are a more permanent reminder of them anyways.
I think this is what Randy Leonard (city council member) is speaking of with the words “I honestly had never been involved in anything in which I felt like the folks I was trying to help did not want to be helped.”:
along with Schumacher’s plea to have the protesters prosecuted under a Bush signed quasi-anti-terrorism bill — the “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act”.
The man should enjoy himself in whatever suburban denzien he gets his claims to, no doubt more hospitable toward wiping out the pesky protestors by any means necessary. I myself have the dream of organizing a large and sustained picket of as non-controversial a business as there is, just for dada-esque amusement… but that will continue to remain in the realm of my fevered imagination.