Thursday, March 5
Wait a Minute, Clay Bennett Owns a Bookstore?
Were one to compile a list of possible retail soups in which Clay Bennett would dabble his entrepreneurial finger, small-town bookstore owner would surely are one of the least-likely possibilities, perhaps right below running a laundromat in Ballard and above operating a GLBT Sex Shop in San Francisco.
And, yet, surprisingly, small book store owner is exactly what Mr. Bennett has listed on his resume, Owner, Town Center Bookstore in lovely Basalt, Colorado. (It's right there on the sheet, see it? next to Carpetbagging Owner of Seat ... well, let's leave that alone for one day, at least, shall we?)
Unfortunately for the employees of said store, the swinging ax of the economic downturn has finally landed upon their heads, as Mr. and Mrs. Bennett have decided to close the doors on their little operation. Naturally, as someone who has witnessed first-hand the havoc of which the Bennetts are capable and the rapidity with which they are able to yank rugs out from underneath unsuspecting victims, I'm less than enthusiastic about dancing a jig over the Bennetts failed store. After all, the dozen or so folks working there aren't exactly thrilled about it.
No, my reason for bringing this up is more pertinent to the operations of a certain basketball team in Oklahoma City.
You see, the bookstore's General Manager, Fred Durham, dropped an interesting tidbit of information while in conversation with Aspen Daily News reporter Brent Gardner-Smith. Quoting the article here:
"Durham said the Bennetts looked down the road at the challenges facing both newspapers and independent bookstores and decided to close up shop in Basalt.
“'When you have to write a check every month to make something work, you begin to say ‘Now wait a minute,’” said Durham."
Why is this relevant? Simply because Clay Bennett's fortune is tied extremely closely to two entities: Chesapeake Energy and Oklahoma Publishing, the Bennett's media conglomerate. We're all well aware of the sad state of affairs at Chesapeake (no need to document them on this site, surely), but it might surprise you to know that the Daily Oklahoman is no stranger to financial problems.
With the ongoing death watch of newspapers across North America, is it any wonder that the Bennetts decided that it might be a good time to tighten their belts when it came to their financial holdings? And is it any wonder that 99.9% of Sonic fans in Seattle are cursing the day the city caved in to Bennett's group last summer?
Because, mind you, if Clay Bennett is willing to sell a 10-man operation in Colorado to save a few bucks, don't you think he might have been the same about a basketball team in Seattle?