Perhaps it's because Daylight Saving Time has ended, and the local businesses have their lights on as I come home, but for some reason, I noticed the travel agency in the ground floor retail space in my apartment building this evening.
And why wouldn't I notice it other days? Because the business is confined to a small office at the back the retail space it formerly occupied alone. Most of that space is a dry cleaner, a shirt laundry, and an alterer. It's what has the lit signs. When Hubby and I moved to our building, it was a quiet, somewhat old-fashioned neighborhood amenity -- quiet, and a little sad. Even in an internet age, there's a place for travel agents, especially in a city like Washington with such a large and varied international community. But surely, one or two desk's worth of specialized travel agent is enough.
There's another former travel agency near church -- no, former isn't fair. Again, there's a desk in the back of the retail space, and it specializes in Japanese travel. The owners, reading the writing on the wall, contracted the one business and filled in the rest of the space with a Japanese grocery. So most Sundays after services, I'll get bean sprouts, tofu, packaged curry, mochi and the like. I had never gone by when it was just a travel agency.
The stories are quite alike, so why "a tale of two travel agents"? Shouldn't these be different, contrasting stories? Sure, but I can't find another travel agent around here to compare or contrast…
I'm thinking of churches, of course. And I'm not sure churches are the travel agencies yielding space to stay in (smaller) business, or are the new enterprises making the most of the new situation. Perhaps both. But it's easy to look at a church contracting in its space, or "rooming" with another entity and see it as regression. But it might just be the future, and future worth having.