Do No Evil

A sad thing happened today.  Lee’s Ice Cream and Deli closed.  It was not that they were not successful.  It was not that they did not add to the community.  They just did not make ENOUGH money.  Ben and Jerry’s wanted to move into our complex.  But they would not open the shop unless they were the exclusive Ice Cream provider for 2 miles.  So the Reston Town Center just refused to renew Lee’s lease.


This was a mom and pop shop.  The owner’s adult children worked in the store.  The family’s whole net worth was tied to this shop.  But because they were not popular enough, they were dumped.


It is sad to me that in the pursuit of wealth, honest hard working people can be trampled by corporations.  Even worse to me is that our country has equated money with free speech and now corporations have more sway with our leaders than individual citizen do. 


I love Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, but I won’t be eating it here.  The cost to my community is too high.

By Ben Posted in Life

9 comments on “Do No Evil

  1. It doesn’t sound like Ben & Jerry’s is to blame, it was the Reston Town Center that was greedy. Ben & Jerry’s sounded like they had a standard as to the way they do business, in fact it sounds like to me that they were trying to keep from shutting down Lee’s by refusing to move into the community.

    The Reston Town Center is the bad guy here (of course they are a corporation too). They are the ones that forced Lee’s out. I wonder if the rent that Ben Jerry’s will pay will be significantly higher than what Lee’s paid?

    So it sounds like the you should not use the Reston Town Center to me. But hey that is just my opinion.

    You know cobbler is much better than Ben & Jerry’s anyway 🙂

  2. What if Lee’s became as big as Ben and Jerry’s, and Mom and Pop wore suits to their board room and their kids were the VP’s meeting them saying, “Boy, we’ve come a long way from our first store in the Reston Town Center. Anyway, there is this little shop owned by a couple of guys named Ben and Jerry….”

  3. It is a sad statement to our ethics as a society. Or lack thereof. I think I agree with Tim. Cobbler Ice Cream? There are so many fronts one could stand on. Though I see very few actually giving up their comfortable seats to do so. What will it take for the American people to remember who and where they are? And to see exactly what it is we’re squandering? “You say you want a rev o lutiooooonnn wweeelllll ya know…..” (she bursts into song) :-” <<– that's the whistling guy

  4. We had a similar thing happen here in Scotts Valley. Rosie’s, which was (in my opinion) the best of the coffee houses in town closed down so that Starbucks could move in. The upside was that the owner made enough in the deal to retire and be well-kept for the rest of her life (she was in her early 50s, I think). They gave her something like three times what she bought the place for a few years earlier.

  5. Judi’s right. Rosie’s was the best and, unfortunately, was also impossible to replace. Particularly with a cold and couch-less Starbucks.

  6. Tim, you are right. I don’t blame Ben and Jerry’s. I do blame the Town Center. Actually they have got a lot of bad press out of this whole transaction. But I am sure in 3-4 weeks no one will remember.

    The corporation that owns the town center just bought the Washington Nationals. It will be interesting to see who they drive out of that neighborhood.

  7. I disagree with Tim. I guess I have seen enough of this to know that these rules are how those types of companies force shopping centers/etc to pull stuff like this. If they were an honest company, they wouldn’t fear competition. I remember back when competition was considered a good thing, not anymore, competition is considered a problem. Mergers and takeovers are in. In fact, a number of years ago, that kind of policy would have been considered illegally controlling a marketplace, and would have gotten them slapped with a fine.

  8. Ben and Jerry’s makes a tasty product and can destroy most “mom and pop” establishments anyway. If they had came to the shopping center, would the traffic have been sufficient for both businesses? Were customers loyal enough for the small ice cream parlor? I don’t know, but perhaps it was best to get the bad news over with all at once instead of going through a lingering death filled with vain hope and bankruptcy.

    I wonder what private company turns down high profit business for the benefit of low profit small business? Private doctors and lawyers will take free cases, but corporations? I haven’t seen it except as PR.

    The really big culprit is Wal-Mart in destroying small retail America, IMHO. They are ruining small retailers who have survived in far lower rent districts than shopping malls provide. Or maybe the really big culprit is the American consumer. It gets complicated. I do sympathize with the several reactions, but it’s hard to know which way to point our finger. Perhaps it’s a systemic thing more than a mindset of the stockholders and managers. I suspect that everyone involved is most interested in maximizing profits.

    I say we should not discriminate. Let’s hate them all equally, individually and in sections. The government should subsidize and regulate boutique ice cream shops so that poor people can have equal access and choices.

    “Greed is good.” — Gordon Gekko (obviously a great evangelist, but just for the wrong team.)

    By the way, if you can figure out my opinion on this matter, then you are doing far better than me. d:c)

  9. I walked by B & J’s on Friday. $5 for a cone. Lee’s was $2.

    At Lee’s you could get a sandwich and chips for $5. Panera (its closest competition) $7.

    Shoving my foot up a Town Center Employees A**, priceless.

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