Over Christmas I’ve talked quite a bit with my Dad about the local politics in Alingsås. One thing that kept comming up was the strange way that local politicians look at the town. In response to Allum in Partille (a new, very boring shopping centre) they are constructing a new indoor shopping centre at Kvarteret Storken. Unfortunately they are likely to only try to attract the regular, boring hig-street crowd of stores, i.e. the exact same stores that can be found in Allum. I can’t see how that ever will attract someone to drive to Alingsås for some Saturday shopping. You can get all that, and a lot more by going to Gothenburg.
Partille had basically nothing in way of stores before Allum, so there it was actually an improvement. In Alingsås it’s likely to decrease the small-town feeling and hence drive away people rather than attract. Why don’t they instead do something different, something that truly sets Alingsås apart?
Currently Alingsås is a small town, with cobblestone streets in the centre and award winning preservation of old wooden buildings. There is really only one shopping street, but it’s full of small stores with character rather then the impersonal chains you find typically find. This should be extended and pushed further. I don’t mind the idea of an indoor shopping centre, but don’t give up the space to boring chains. No, make sure there is room for smaller intriguing stores. Stores you won’t find in other places. I.e. the kind of stores that people would love to travel to for shopping. Add the numerous cafes that already exist and I think you have a unique and winning combination.
Of course it would also be necessary to make it easy to open a store in Alingsås, how else would there be the kind of experimentation that is necessary to make this happen? Of course it’s most likely that the local politicians will squander yet another opportunity to put in some effort and be rewarded thousandfold and instead make sure that Alingsås ends up being yet another run-of-the-mill medium-sized Swedish town. It would be such a shame!