I live in a small town with a two-block long small-town-looking main street that fits the mold so well it’s often shut down for a few days at a time while film crews shoot TV movies there. Check out this Ford Mustang commercial. I drive past those shops at least four times a week and have never really stopped to see what’s inside. We go there sometimes to visit the library or eat at some of the restaurants, but I’ve been curious to see what else Main Street has to offer.
I love online shopping. We live 30 minutes away from most of the stores I like to visit and I have an aversion to people and crowds. I also like the convenience of finding just what I need, doing price comparisons, reading product reviews, and getting free two-day shipping. I know online shopping is destroying retail and I’m part of the problem, but it’s just so much easier and more affordable that sometimes I just can’t help myself.
I used to refuse to shop at Walmart after watching the documentary, which was much easier to do when we lived near a town with a Target and Walmart right next to each other. Then we moved here where Walmart is pretty much the only option for many items. For three years I stuck with my boycott, even if it meant driving much further to get things, but I finally caved when I was nine months pregnant and needed something in the middle of the night. Convenience won out over convictions.
So partly to assuage my guilt about my online and Walmart shopping forcing mom & pop stores in small town America out of business, I decided to participate in this year’s Small Business Saturday, a day set aside the day after Black Friday to promote local businesses and encourage shoppers to look beyond the big mass-market stores. I figured I could see what these smaller shops in my own town have to offer, whether I ended up buying anything for Christmas gifts or just kept them in mind for future purchases.
At first I thought I would hit every store on Main Street but once I got there, I decided to skip the meat processing shop (because I somehow missed the deer hunt this year) and the place where they sew custom dance clothes (because all my ’80s dance-off leotard needs have already been met). And a few places were closed including the archery store (how did I not know we had an entire store devoted to archery?) and the adult trike store (I did know about this one but I still wonder how our town has an entire store devoted to adult tricycles).
I really wish the store that sold quinceanera dresses was still in business but it’s been replaced by El Cowboy which sells really fancy cowboy boots, hats and shirts (and Daisy Dukes, if you’re in the market).
I knew we had a new thrift store in town (called Twice Blessed) but I didn’t realize it was so big. If my kids knew we had a thrift store within biking distance, I’d be in a lot of trouble. I bought myself a $3 skirt, some sweet retro ties, a lovely Christmas sweater, and this magnificent jacket for my son. Yes, it is even shinier and puffier than in the photographs and yes, he does wear it to school.
Also, there were some good book finds. I’m not sure what Katherine did to deserve this but it looks pretty serious. Maybe I should read the book to find out.
Also, anyone in need of some National Geographics?
I was surprised to learn that we have a frame shop in town. Morganson Custom Frames & Sew Forth is half frame shop, half quilting store. I bought some lovely handmade cards, fabric quarters and a quilt pattern. It’s not big but it’s classy inside and the quilt patterns were pretty cute. If only I were still a quilter.
Next I visited Trading Talents, a store where several vendors sell their craft items. You can find doll clothes, tutus and superhero capes for kids and all sorts of inspirational quotes for grownups. Also, for those who might be interested, I noticed a sign that said they do vinyl lettering so you can make your own quote-filled signs if you’re not inspired by what they have to offer.
The last store I found was probably my favorite – Forget Me Not Flower & Gifts. It’s not a big store, but there’s a lot of variety if you’re looking for gifts: purses and jewelry, children’s books and toys, retro Pyrex dishes, tea sets and dish towels, food gifts, and even some old books and records, plus it’s a flower shop too. Everything was reasonably priced and I think I’ll return often.
I bought several items there but I don’t want to ruin anyone’s Christmas surprise by sharing. I did buy one thing for myself, though. This book will be a companion to my copy of Fascinating Girl. Super classy. I can’t wait for our next reading.
I’m really glad I finally decided to see what my own little town has to offer after living here seven years. Now I know of several alternatives to driving 30 minutes to Provo or 5 minutes to Walmart and I think I will feel less guilty as I drive past these shops knowing that at least I now know what’s behind all those store fronts. The next time I’m out dancing in the streets maybe I’ll stop in for another look.