Monday, December 5, 2011

Miracle on Main Street

Saturday Jack and I were in town at his office and as were were getting ready to leave he mentioned the event going on downtown. It was called "Miracle on Main Street". It's a movement to try and revitalize our downtown area. Many small towns have lost their charming shopping areas. Some have found a way to make them inviting to tourists and town folk alike. Ashland has felt the economic crunch for years. With big factories that have left, and big box stores that have sprung up with strip malls and convenience stores to boot, it killed a thriving downtown. We headed off to see what was happening. There are stores still there that have managed to keep in business and others that are hoping to increase in business. So I decided to take a few pics and share them. We talked about what was here when Jack was a boy and what was here when we moved back in 1977. I wish I was a blogger back then and had some comparison shots...it's just not the same. But we had a pleasant walk and went into a few places. Ate a delish lunch at the Chinese restaurant...and we could hear the rukus from the chili cookoff that was going on in one of the buildings. I hope a miracle can happen here. I'll take you on a quick tour with us! This is the outside of a cute coffee shop that seems to do a good business and the food is good too. I blogged about them last year when my Mom was here over Thanksgiving.
There was a time when these streets were lined with parked cars and the sidewalks were crowed with holiday shoppers. There were jewelery stores, men's and women's clothing stores, card shops, office supplies, pharmacies, shoe stores, 5 and 10's and a 3 story department store. Many others too. The malls and the Wal-Marts, the Targets and the K-Marts made sure that didn't last. Shop keepers just could not compete. Even if you could get shops back, people don't want to park and walk a few blocks anymore.
This sign says it all..it's a kid's clothing store. Kid's Kountry has been around forever too. When stores started pulling out of downtown Kid's Kountry held their ground. Urged and encouraged others to stay put. But many just couldn't compete and left. Inside you'll find really good, and also very cute, children's clothing, shoes, school uniforms, tutus...you name it!
The front of Kid's Kountry.
This is an interesting store. Yes, it's a bike shop. They sell wonderful bikes and accessories for biking. I never have bought a bike from here....I should though, I need the exercise. But the real story is the shop owner. Friends who do bike and shop there tell me he remembers your name...forever. If you walk in there 10yrs later he will greet you by name. Now, that could mean he only has a few customers and it's easy to remember just a few folks...or it could mean he's weird...or maybe he's like my hubby who has a wonderful ability to remember people's names. I'll go for that explanation!
Sitting over on the corner is Mike's Music store....whenever I see it I think of the movie with Judy Garland where she gets a job at Christmas time in a music store. It was one of the movies that inspired "You've Got Mail" with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan...but I digress! Thankfully there's a place where kiddos can get musical instruments for school...I still have a saxophone on a closet shelf that was used by one of my kiddos.
The Candy and Nut Shoppe has all the homemade chocolate and other confections you could ask for. It's another business that has been a staple of Main Street.
I guess the real miracle is Home Hardware has been here forever...even before me moving here! It's a miracle that having a big box store move in across from the Wal-Mart has not put it out of business. In fact, it has a strong following. First of all, the employees are there in plain sight and actually know how to help you..and the service they have on appliances is good and reliable too. They would even help you carry out your packages if needed. You can find everything in there from paint, to toys, to do-dads and thingamajigs....Santa is there too! My Christmas wish would be that a true "Miracle on Main Street" would be a revitalization of many small town, downtowns like ours. You just gotta believe!

11 comments:

Munir said...

I understand what you mean. Our old town of Wappingers Falls has changed so much. It is loosing it's "quiantness". Old eighteenth century homes are being purchased by architects and are being turned into mini plazas. when I visit there, I could cry because the charm is fading away. I am glad that you guys are doing something.
I hope that you are feeling a bit relaxed. you sounded soooo tired. Take care of yourself,like you take care of others.

Bonnie said...

You look like you have the best little shops around you. We have nothing like that around here, and if we do, I have no idea where they are.

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acorn hollow said...

I work in a small store on Main street. Our main street does pretty well and we have a good mix of stores. So glad you got to stroll your main street it is important to any community.
Cathy

Sandi said...

I'm glad that some parts of your town are holding their own. I think it's pretty much the same, where ever you go. Our town is trying hard to revitalize, and the upper section is doing a little better than the lower (older) section.

It's sad, because I've lived here my whole life and there is very little downtown that is the same as when I was young. We had some great department stores, shoe stores, etc. likely the same as you. One of the theaters has been remodeled, and I hear it is looking good. Maybe that will help.

Kim said...

It is a struggle to keep downtowns going. This summer our town began a large revitalization project.
Your downtown looks lovely with all the cute little shops.
P.S. We still have a 3 story Dept store thriving here. Its rare and I love it.

Sue said...

We had a hardware store in our downtown area that went out of business a couple of years ago. It was so sad, and we've lost other businesses too. Our downtown is becoming more of an upscale restaurant row now, and while it still keeps the village charm (they are very careful about how everything looks), it isn't quite the same for me as it was when we all went there to shop more often than not.

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rosaria said...

So many old towns have disappeared because of the big chains. We lost more than business; we lost our memories, our one-on-one relationships, our trust in each other. Glad to know that many towns are rallying to support and resurrect their old towns.

Darlene said...

It is too bad that so many downtown areas are dieing out. Palm Springs has been experiencing this for some time. They have spent so much money trying to revitalizing the area and nothing has really worked there. It used to be such a great little town when we lived here in the desert in the sixties. Our Palm Desert never really had a town town area, so we haven't hurt that way, but oh my, how many businesses have had to close their doors because of the bad economy. It is truly depressing to drive around anymore. We have a new commercial district that went up just before the economy failed and there are so many empty buildings that it looks like a ghost town there. So many people lost so much money when they invested there. It looks like your town is still up and running though. Let's hope it doesn't get worse.

Darlene said...

It is too bad that so many downtown areas are dieing out. Palm Springs has been experiencing this for some time. They have spent so much money trying to revitalizing the area and nothing has really worked there. It used to be such a great little town when we lived here in the desert in the sixties. Our Palm Desert never really had a town town area, so we haven't hurt that way, but oh my, how many businesses have had to close their doors because of the bad economy. It is truly depressing to drive around anymore. We have a new commercial district that went up just before the economy failed and there are so many empty buildings that it looks like a ghost town there. So many people lost so much money when they invested there. It looks like your town is still up and running though. Let's hope it doesn't get worse.

karen said...

I just love a really nice old downtown. Where I grew up (in Orange, CA) the downtown is really cute. They used it in that movie "That Thing You Do" with Tom Hanks. I've always loved going there and walking around... and eating... and shopping.

Michelle My Bell said...

I'm a former military brat, and have been living in the city ever since as an adult. I've never been able to experience the feel or surroundings of a "small town." Sometimes I see movies with small towns and think, wow, simplicity :)