As if the last iteration of the takeover of our beloved general store weren’t bad enough, we now have the closest thing to an Island franchise at the helm of the oldest retail business on the Vineyard.

Per thee Vineyard Preservation Trust’s website, Alley’s is like “walking through a portal in time when people made do with less, bought goods from their neighbors, gathered round . . . to trade news and tell tales.”

Not to romanticize it, but that’s generally how it was until the new director changed it all. Tone-deaf to what is near and dear to those of us fortunate enough to cherish the sensibility of the old Vineyard.

It had always been a community gathering place, a place one could stop by on the way home from work for a loaf of bread or nails to finish that shingling project. For the past two winters this “community center” was either closed or had quite limited hours, necessitating our elders and neighbors from Aquinnah and Chilmark to trek down to Vineyard Haven for a quart of milk.

Now we will see how respectful the new owners are of the community they serve. Hopefully they’ll have the intelligence to avoid overpriced tchotchkes and purely gourmet foods. Give us lightbulbs, detergent, hammers, organic milk and veggies . . . and of course treats for the children. No matter what, money will be made.

But please, keep it real, keep it local.

Jess Davis