As I am writing this, I am sitting on the banks of the Gulf of Mexico listening to the waves beat against the sand. The clouds are dense, the fog is heavy, the locals are wrapped in warm layers as the temperatures have not climbed out of the fifties yet. I keep replaying in my head that my son, my money wise son, was swindled out of $60 yesterday at the local Coach Outlet - it was a wallet that he could not pass up, or it was a saleswoman who told him that men should carry the best. Either way, that was an entire day of wages for him at the Rhodes Farm. He stacked wood, moved tree limbs, and fed cows for the money - all of those things I doubt the saleswoman had ever done or heard of.
We are tiny little consumers in a big world of money. These thoughts play over and over in my head. Where does the money go? How do we spend so much? Where are we spending our money? Money Matters. Money Talks. Money makes the world go around.
On my last market analysis, I remember dozens of folks commented we need a small donut shop. Donuts, yes Harps sells them, they are very good. However, there is an attraction of going to the donut shop, sipping coffee, and watching your grandkids feast on a donut as large as their head. Ever heard of Hurts Donut? Research it! The Maple Bacon is to die for.
Within walking distance of the condo, I am staying at there are dozens of mom n pop shops. Dozens. I ran to the Winn-Dixie last night as the pharmacy was closed to grab some medicine for my son. The Winn-Dixie was slow. The mom n pop shops were overrun with visitors. Why? Nostalgic? Unique? Different?
Every Dollar General (by the way I am a huge fan of Dollar General) has yellow and black signs. It is their signature. Every Dollar General I have been into in the past 5 years has boxes and carts parked everywhere, a sign for Now Hiring, and a broken checkout. It seems to also be their signature. I love Dollar General because they provide the things we can’t get elsewhere, and they provide jobs for our people. However, I don’t feel we need more Dollar Generals, we need more Mom n Pop Shops.
We need to fill the holes we have in our community and work to make our place so attractive to visitors that are burning up the roads to get here and keep those that live here shopping here.
Don’t think this is possible? Research the community Caledonia, Missouri - population 131. I read recently during one event they strategically planned they drew over 20,000 people to their community. The shops, restaurants, and lodging were overrun with people wanting to see what this nostalgic little community had to offer. This has become a norm for the small community. There is not a day that the ice cream shop has not been busy. In Caledonia you can watch quilts being made, buy shoes, clothes, eat fried chicken family style, buy antiques, and stay for a week. They filled the empty holes.
Their roads aren’t worse or better than ours. They do not have brand new sidewalks. I am not even sure all the buildings are air conditioned, and some might be heated by wood. They made it work.
We can make it work. We can revive our community without additional taxes and cost to those that live and invest here.