Discovering Downtown

 

I’ve always tried to make a conscious effort to support small businesses as much as I could. I spend a considerable amount of time and money in Target, but I use a regional bank, eat at privately owned restaurants instead of chains whenever possible, and buy most of our hay and bunny food at a small pet shop downtown instead of the more conveniently located PetCo.

This weekend made me realize that as self-congratulatory as these efforts are I should be trying harder.

We weren’t downtown for alfalfa or to visit the tattoo parlor, the two most common reasons we’d visit that area, but in the pursuit of candy. Saturday afternoon the businesses on Main Street handed out treats to the several hundred costumed children filing their way up and down crowded sidewalks. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, another opportunity for Alaina to wear this year’s outfit and another half dozen or so Kit Kats claimed by me as tariff.

 

scarecrow kingdom

 

It was also a brilliant marketing move, a way to raise awareness of a pretty diverse group of shops and eateries that many people, myself included, might not be aware of.  Among the places that were either new or I was just unaware of were a music shop, a jewelry store, a store selling handmade artisan gifts and decor that I will admittedly never walk into and a collectibles shop with racks of comic books that I can’t wait to visit. There is a steampunk themed coffee shop with table games and another coffee shop with rooms full of used books for sale.

 

support downtown

 

Most surprising was that the second floor of one of the large downtown buildings had been converted into three “escape rooms”, a new mystery solving trend where groups of people try and solve increasingly difficult puzzles in order to “escape.” Friends of mine from other parts of the country have been talking about these for a while now and I’m thrilled that I won’t have to travel far to try it out.

 

support downtowns

 

When I was a kid “downtown” was a single roomed general store with a gas station across the street at our town’s only stop light. “Main street” was the last stretch of dirt road leading to my friend’s horse farm where we would stage old-west style shoot outs. Whenever I traveled to an actual city I knew this to be the area I needed to find for bars and restaurants.

If you have one of these areas in your community and haven’t been in a while, do yourself a favor and check it out. You might be surprised by what you find there.

 

Fall Is For Foodies

 

14 thoughts on “Discovering Downtown”

  1. The town I just moved from does a weekly farmers market downtown. It’s a big to-do everyweek. Vendors come form small stores, or family farms. Always live music, yoga in the park, and the community is unbelievable. I miss that town so much, I miss it’s dedication to a thriving LOCAL commerce. <3 I'm so lost in Orlando I don't even know where to begin.

    1. That sounds really great. Hopefully you will find some sense of community where you are now, it just may take some time and be on more of a neighborhood scale.

  2. When I was growing up the downtown area of my town was slowly fading away as crime and derelict buildings were taking over. Today, they are trying to bring it back, but it’s still not there yet.

    1. Ours was in danger of this happening also. I knew there was an effort at revitalization underway, I’m just a bit embarrassed that I was so unaware of the progress they had made

  3. Hi Jeremy, what a clever tactic on the part of the business owners. It is good to support small local businesses when possible. We don’t have a downtown area on the island, but where I grew up in Exeter there was a definite downtown, it would be nice to think it was a busy little area now.

    xx

    1. I don’t know much about how it is in the rest of the world, but here big box stores like Wal Mart have really done a job on the little guys.

  4. That’s the great thing about my town. Most of the shops are local and every Halloween they also have trick-or-treating for the kids. Its a great way to show parents what shops are there and the kids get more candy. We don’t have a steampunk themed coffee shop though. I really want that in my town instead of Starbucks, lol #anythinggoes

  5. We also have a wide selection of small businesses near my home and recently I went for a walk through the street and realized there were several new ones. As someone who makes her money off designs I sell on the internet, I was disappointed I had neglected other small businesses for so long. This year’s Christmas shopping is primarily being done in those small businesses! #AnythingGoes

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