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Merchants Keep the Vibe Alive 

By Susan McNeal Velasquez
By Susan McNeal Velasquez

I love to walk downtown and in the process have found unique stores, restaurants and favored backstreet routes that supply that sense of communion with our special town. Many favorite places have disappeared since I became a part of this community in 1986. Each time I grieve the loss of those businesses and the people who took the risk to actualize their dream and share it with us.

I still miss the Old Pottery Shack, Chicken Little, Cedar Creek Restaurant, Albertson’s, and more recently, Chico’s, The Colony and Dan the Cobbler. The list is massive. This isn’t to denigrate the new arrivals; it is just that those shops and restaurants live in my memories.

Positive remembering is the basis for the experience of safety, security and a sense of belonging that shores us up during the hard times.

One of my all-time favorite stores today is Duet, a woman’s clothing store that exemplifies clothing as art. It is my go-to place when I need something special or I simply want to bask in the kaleidoscope of colors and innovative designs that lifts my spirits and sparks my appreciation for talent and artistic genius.

A few weeks ago I heard that Duet was losing their space downtown on Forest. My reaction was visceral. No! My mood dropped like a rock tumbling off of a cliff.

Luckily, when I stopped in to Rock Martin Jewelers and shared my disappointment in learning about the demise of Duet, Michael lifted my spirits back to hopeful when he shared that Duet would be staying in town on Forest and in a new space.

That close call has highlighted my intent to shop locally whenever I can.

This past weekend, our streets have been packed with visitors. It seemed that every other person was happily eating ice cream or stopping to read the posted menus outside of our restaurants. I am glad that our restaurants are thriving, but I am concerned about the support of the other businesses in our village.

We are known as an artist community. It is time to actively support the stores that provide us the simple pleasure of being able to share a warm connection with the merchants. It is they who make a firm commitment to contributing their passion, their purpose, their talents and their creativity and as a result are an important part of making our town such a special place to live.

Susan is a local author and personal development consultant. beyondintellect.com.

 

 

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