Route 66 News

Notes from the road

I’ve tried to glean a deeper look at the crisis in Needles, Calif., over the possible loss of its only grocery store, Bashas’. The grocer chain filed bankruptcy a few months ago, and it is set to close 10 stores in response, including Needles’.

This recent story in the Mohave Daily News provides additional information about the city’s effort to keep the grocer open.

Ideas include possibly returning some of Bashas’ city sales tax to them or lowering their electric rate to help them offset their lease payments, which Williams said were $17,500. Because Needles has a municipal electric company, they might be able to offer Bashas’ an incentive on their electric bill to the city, which currently runs around $25,000 per month, Williams said.

Bashas’ pays between $2,000 and $3,000 per month to the city of Needles in sales tax, Williams said. California does not tax food, so all of the tax money collected is on aluminum cans and non-food items sold at the store. […]

“From what I understand, it’s a landlord issue,” he said. “It’s not Bashas’. Bashas’ wants to stay.”

KABC-TV also filed a report a few days ago on the crisis. One thing that was reported that I didn’t know is that Needles has no public transportation. So if the grocery store closes, there’s no public option for people to ride a bus to the nearest grocer 20 miles away.

And a letter to the editor by J. Maier in the San Bernardino County Sun had these interesting comments:

[C]an anybody tell me why we are helping everybody else in the world but fail to take care of those who work each and every day, and those past and present who have served our country with honor many who lost their lives for the freedom we all enjoy today?

With that said, I am asking folks like Jack Brown (CEO of Stater Bros. markets), actors and actresses, pro sports athletes, talk show hosts like Oprah and Dr. Phil, Bill Gates, etc., to step up to the plate and simply “help our own,” once and for all!

I’m still absolutely stunned that a town like Needles, Calif., which numbers more than 5,000 people, may lose its only grocery store. A grocery store may be a private enterprise, but they’re as much of a necessity as power, water and shelter. If Bashas’ leaves, maybe it’s time for a nonprofit, publicly owned store.

— Check out the Greetings from Coldwater blog, which is a fictional account of a young woman, Sierra, who buys a historic motel on Route 66 in eastern New Mexico.

— The Road Crew musical group will perform at the Route 66 & Classic Car Festival in Litchfield, Ill., starting at 7:30 p.m. on June 25. The group, based in Nashville, recorded an entire album based around Route 66.

Essential Travel reports that travelers from the United Kingdom are increasingly drawn to the United States as a destination. And a UK travel representative said that Route 66 is “still a firm favourite.”

— Here’s Claudia Heller’s latest entry in her series about Route 66 towns in the Mojave Desert. This one delves into the desolation and history of the town of Bagdad.

— Finally, Willem Bor of the Netherlands has completed another 1/25 scale model of a Route 66 landmark, this time the Twin Arrows complex in Twin Arrows, Ariz. Here’s a photo of the model he sent me:


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