On Facebook, York city merchant to customers: “You suck.”

Heading into the biggest retail weekend of the year, one downtown York merchant has a message for his customers.

Well, 99 percent of them (according to a post on his Facebook page).

“You suck.”

It’s an unusual sentiment for a business owner to have.

But 37-year-old Harry Smith, owner of Antiquita Glassworks, says he actually means it.

Smith posted a lengthy rant on his Facebook page today detailing how his business went dead when he moved from a stand in Central Market to his store at 25 E. Philadelphia St.

“None of you seem to know how to walk a block east from central market, or remember how to call or email one of the 1000’s of business cards I’ve given out,” he writes.

The rant continues:

“Hate me, or love me for this post, but nothing changes the facts of the matter — you have all let my business down, as well as this community, art scene, and enviroment (sic) – period,” he continues. “Now let the comments begin, but please remember I stopped caring what you think the moment I realized you stopped caring about my business. Consider us even.”

I checked in with Harry today about the post.

Does he really mean it?

As it turns out — yup. Pretty much.

“The city doesn’t, in my opinion, have it together,” he said. “I also feel as though a lot of my customers take for granted what’s around them.”

It’s not the first time a York business has lashed out on Facebook. And it probably won’t be the last.

Last year, the La Casa de Tapas owner responded to an angry patron.

A little background: Smith is a fifth generation York County businessman.

His family, he said, owned a bottling works in Glen Rock in the 1800s that later became Glen Traditionals furniture.

He graduated from York Suburban High School and moved into York city five years ago.

His stand in Central Market opened about two years ago.

At first, he said, things were, booming. As he described, it was “a landslide of money.”

Antiquita Glassworks sold a lot of things, mainly items made from repurposed bottles.

Little by little — especially after the market’s renovations — sales dropped off.

Hoping to breathe new life into his business, Smith moved into his current space in September. It’s just a block away from the market.

No big deal, right?

Wrong.

Things got worse.

“I’m tempted to go to Lancaster,” Smith said. “They actually have an arts scene. People utilize it. They don’t have to pull teeth to have people utilize one block on First Friday.”

So, today, he reached a boiling point.

Smith says he doesn’t regret posting his online display of displeasure.

It’s how he feels.

“People want to come down here and be seen, but they don’t want to utilize what’s important in the community,” he said. “To me, it’s a bit of a shim sham.”

Here is the full post:

antiquita

 

 

About Lauren Boyer

I'm a Business Reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News. I cover banking, investing and all sorts of manufacturing, from companies like Harley-Davidson to mom-and-pop operations. I don't go anywhere without my iPad or a large cup of coffee. Contact me with story ideas at 717-771-2062 or lboyer@ydr.com.
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15 Responses to On Facebook, York city merchant to customers: “You suck.”

  1. a person says:

    I don’t live in PA but honestly the crime in the city lately is enough to keep me away from all parts… maybe trying moving out the city!!!!

  2. Kathy Ruder says:

    Shame that this happens. I wonder if that is why so much of the downtown is gone. I’ve lived in the York area since I was six months old (both sides of the family here all their lives, pretty much and three of the four grandparents’ lineage have been in York County since the 1700’s). I’ve watched as business after business disappeared from downtown. There is only one way a business can survive and that is–it is patronized. :(

  3. Diane says:

    I bet his traffic will improve – everybody will just want to look at this person with such an attitude. God Bless free enterprise!

  4. Camden Craighead says:

    I side with the business owner. People in York City and especially people outside of the city do not support the local businesses that support local business people. Its a fact! I opened two unsuccessful businesses in York on west Market street one block before Newberry street and not only did I not get support from the people, but also the other business men and women in the city. No one cares to share information, help, or reach out when people try something different in York. I would never again entertain the thought to putting a business in the city limits again, not to make money anyway. I don’t entirely blame the people on the outskirts though. Blame the crime rate in the city, the racism that still exists in the county, the stereotype of the city.

  5. Chris says:

    The business has to have a product that people want. I know I have no need to buy repurposed bottles in this economy. I don’t live close to the downtown area, but I do visit one or two coffee shops and several restaurants and breweries.

  6. John says:

    So let me get this straight. You figure out that your current business model is not working in the current location, and yet you blame it on your customers on a global stage. Surely that’s going to boost sales, knowing that the owner doesn’t care about his customers.

    • T Anderson says:

      I bet this “business owner” received trophies just for showing up for a rec league sport as a kid. Its YOUR business! WORK IT! Sorry Hon, you don’t blame the public when YOUR business doesn’t work. You make it work or move on.

  7. York city resident says:

    Anyone holding on to that much negativity could ever bring positive into his life.

  8. Louis Woodyard says:

    It is sad that some business in downtown York struggle…they say crime…York is as dangerous as any other place in America. There has been a stigma on York and it’s citizens for a long time. I am York born and raised and understand how that stigma occurred, but that is no excuse for the downward spiral that seems to have a choke hold on the community. The writer writes about the “little boxes” that some hold fast to….so true about my hometown. I experience people that have those boxes in my business also.

  9. Robin Fuller says:

    Lancaster does have it together when it comes to the variety of privately owned stores , eateries , and bars. Really like going to downtown Lancaster so much to do.

  10. William Anderson says:

    He gets free advertising. A description of an interesting business. Hopefully it will bring him customers

  11. Coach BC says:

    I hate to overuse a word that is frequently used these days, but REALLY?
    This business owner is not taking ownership of the problem. It’s much easier to blame customers, blame prospective customers, blame the city… He is taking no responsibility in this. If his marketing strategy is sending emails and business cards and that’s not working, try something else! If he had created customer loyalty through the relationships he created and the products and service he provided, he may not be having this problem. I know people who followed their hair dresser to 3 and 4 different salons. Create THAT type of relationship and you’ve got customer loyalty. When we blame others for our lot in life, we stop solving the problem. Take ownership and solve the problem.

  12. Jim says:

    I have seen this attitude so many times from people who simply don’t understand free enterprise. It is NOT incumbent upon your customers to patronize you. It is incumbent upon YOU to give your customers something they want to patronize.
    Nobody has ever gone to Central Market to buy repurposed bottles; people go there for the experience and happen to buy repurposed bottles on impulse. Nobody is going to go out of their way (not even by a block) to come to this man’s new shop – because he has removed what they want from the equation (the experience of Central Market).
    He made a bad business decision – incorrectly valuing the imagined allure of his product as somehow more important than the Central Market foot traffic – and now he is suffering the consequences of that decision. That’s how free enterprise works – you are free to succeed, but you are also free to fail!

  13. Marc says:

    In the past, I have always tried to go out of my way to support buying local. However, this past year, my wife asked many local businesses for small donations for a school/church fundraiser. Most things companies donated were small denomination gift cards and/or products. Very few York City businesses were willing to help. The same ones that often bash large companies because non of their money stays in the community. Funny how the evil Wal-Mart gave a nice donation. Makes me think twice, before I deal with the parking headache of the city, and patronize these local business.

  14. Scott Bohlen says:

    What was your plan? Were you being strategic? It sounds like you were hoping, gambled and lost. Hope is not a strategy (It’s also a book that you should read) Getting angry at your past customers helped nothing and now others will feel uncomfortable coming into your store. You made the right move of raising your prices and going with a broader market area. You have really nice merchandise and are obviously passionate about your art and craft. I have seen your stuff in person and I think I met you as well… energetic and personable. Maybe this will spin your way with all the local publicity… Hoping for you really. But concentrate on those that truly are willing to pay for your good stuff and someday others will see the value of your product and actually pay you what you are worth. Attacking your customers was short sited and offered really no short term upside, other than you might have felt better. Speaking as a former business owner (200 block of W Phila St) I can tell you that location makes all the difference. Moving around the corner can make all the difference in the world. Did you check foot traffic? Do sample counts on a few days to see how many walk by on different hours? Where do your clients come from? You may have done all of that but other factors caused it to fall flat. Disappointing I am sure. But again, calling out your past clients wasn’t a solution. I’m sure you will overcome this and it sounds like the internet will be your friend… It is certainly how I run mine now. FaceBook and word of mouth networking was low cost and no store front… way easier that the first business that required a yellow pages ad and other advertising. All these are a sign of the changing times. Good luck to you.

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