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!