Wednesday, February 17, 2016

New and Improved?

There's a new pizza place in town. In a new strip mall in town. Grotto Pizza has come to Columbia. With an address on the 'other' side of Minstel Way, it looks more to be on Snowden River Parkway. I've seen some concern from long time local residents that increased development in this area is going to cause traffic headaches. Will Grotto be popular enough to test that theory? I guess we'll soon find out.

I think of Grotto as something special one considers doing at the beach. I know loyalties tend to be divided between Grotto and Nicola, and I don't intend to challenge anyone's preferences here. But I am wondering. If I can get that Grotto experience any time I want in Columbia, why would I want to go there once I get to the beach? It almost seems as though they'll be cannibalizing their beach locations by expanding into local ones.

So a Grotto's in Columbia may be new and improved, but will it make Grotto's at the beach feel same-old, same-old? Your theories welcome here.

Speaking of new and improved, I stumbled upon what looks like a major overhaul on the Howard County Government website. Two first impressions: it's visually cluttered and doesn't have a unified look, and it looks more like a campaign page for the County Executive. For fans of Mr. Kittleman, there's the nice touch of seeing him put that pesky County Council in their place at last. Good luck trying to find them. On the new page the County Council is reduced to the protagonist in a "Where's Waldo?" game.

If you support the County Executive, you'll be happy to see his photographs plastered all over the place. If you don't, you may find that aspect galling. What's more important, of course, is whether the new design helps people do what they need to do. Was there a problem with the old site which this redesign solves? If so, what was it?

My mother had a saying in regard to products at the grocery store, "If something says 'New and Improved!' it usually isn't." She cast a skeptical eye on such claims based on a lifetime of experience. I don't necessarily share her views. When it comes to Columbia I often find myself on the side of new and improved.

I won't dismiss this "new look" for the website out of hand.I'll need to give it a try and see if it does what I need it to do. So should you. I'm interested in your thoughts.

Same probably holds true for the pizza as well. I wonder if they do school restaurant night fundraisers. That could be fun.


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