The second home market collapses, as formerly affluent out-of-staters suffer investment losses. Manchester stores start leaving for outlet malls closer to population centers, shopping meccas that are doing better because gas prices make long drives expensive.
Bennington, with its manufacturing base eroding like those in the Midwestern rust belt, has more holes in its downtown retail streets than its impoverished artists can decorate with unsold works.
Scenarios like this might have come true had the American economy slid into a true depression, but it didnâ€™t. Not only are doom-and-gloom visions inappropriate, they are in some cases diametrically opposed to what has happened in the past year.
The ski areas had a good winter, and this summer they showed they were still valued as places for families to gather and enjoy a range of activities. Manchester took a hit in retail sales in 2008, but has seen new stores replace the few that left and seems likely to post a retail recovery in 2009.
Manufacturers in the Bennington area sometimes needed to downsize operations to weather the storm, but that sector has made more money in than expected and has been adding back jobs due to a lucrative military contract. And donâ€™t mourn for downtown Bennington, which is enjoying a huge boom in tourism thanks partly to having added a herd of life-size, artistically decorated moose as an attraction in addition to its deer park.
The nationâ€™s economic debacle showed the wisdom of diversifying investment portfolios. Bennington County, which is so diverse in character than the Northshire and Southshire are almost two different counties, likewise has shown that with more than one kind of bedrock strength, its takes more of an earthquake than breaking bubbles to demolish the economy.
See the full article on the VermonBiz website.