Small Town America

Posted by Janice East on

This week I listened to a well-known pod-caster talk about time saving things in the new year. I took issue with some of the things that were said. As a small business owner and maker, who the podcast was targeted at, I felt there was some disconnect with how things work here in small-town America.
She ask why anyone was still going to the bank, dry cleaners, and many other places... have food and almost everything delivered to you, use online banking and doctor apps, instead of going to an office.
Well, on the Rural Route, 12 miles from town, there's not even pizza delivery.
Yesterday was my errand day. In an hour and 50 minutes, I drove about 28 miles round trip. I shipped items made here on the Rural Route of East Texas to several other Texas towns and other states. I went inside (gasp) the insurance office and the bank. I made my deposit and got change for our show coming up this weekend, where we get to meet and visit with all of you.
I stopped and picked up vases for an upcoming wedding at two different locations and also received an order to make a large arrangement for a mantle, while discussing wedding details. 
I got feed for the cows and donkey treats.
Along the way, several ask about our business and when our next shows were going to be and about our website work. I got to tell them about what I'm doing and that the Mineola Antique Fair is this weekend. One of them ask to be my Facebook friend, right after our conversation. I met a lady last fall, because I was delivering an online order to a local business and left there feeling upbeat and inspired - I made a new friend that day and we ran into each other again today.  One ask about pig shirts - well this farm girl is on it - we gotta make some new piggy shirts! Oink, oink!
While in a checkout line, I hugged the neck of a lady I used to wait on, in my former job, and got to wish her a happy belated 90th birthday. I hope I'm still shopping at 90! 
The folks at the feed store know us by name, our Instagram handles, and our donkeys names!
Flossie (one of our donkeys) is famous in a small town and online! Y'all wear her on t shirts and she gets to visit all kinds of places!
We had conversation at the bank, a place where they often ask about ailing family members and I've done floral work for them in the past. 
You see, in small-town America, they often know you by name, there's connections, conversations, and networking, that happens when you walk in a place. We support each other and cheer for each other or simply hold the door, for someone to go ahead of us. They invite us to set up at their events and show up to support us when we are there. We are there to help, when the need arises. 
Don't get me wrong, I love my online business and the opportunities it's allowed to meet and work with people all over the world. Actually, I've got the best of both worlds, living in a small town and getting to work with people any and everywhere, through the World Wide Web. I am very thankful for every sale and do a little cheer when they come in. Sometimes I recognize the names from social media or events. I do think of each of you and wish you the best, when I send my packages. It's personal and we put a lot of heart, care, and time into everything we make. 
Big box store online deliveries or that big website with 2 day delivery (don't call it free delivery, because they charge you a yearly fee) and bank apps - they don't know you by name or your donkeys name and they're certainly not the ones who support our small, handmade businesses. They don't compliment the shirt you have on or care that you made it and that you can find them in my shop or ask how your "mama and them" are doing. Granted, sometimes I can't get everything in a small town and I do order from the big places, but I certainly shop local / small business if I can. I have paid a few pennies (or even dollars) more for things, if it means I can support someone I know, like, and trust. Maybe it takes a few minutes longer, is that really such a bad thing??? Most days, I get dressed and I've made my shirts and all of my jewelry has been made by fellow artisans and makers. For Christmas, I planned and made sure almost all of my gifts were made or purchased from small businesses. I shopped at the all of the shows we were set up at last fall, to find some unique gifts.You see, connection between fellow vendors or small business owners and employees is a good thing. 
Some time saving things I do: I coordinate my trips to town and never go for just one thing. We never leave home, just to go out to eat, or just to pick up one thing in town. I can't tell you the number of business cards, I've handed to people in waiting rooms - a place where I will either be working on my computer or have sewing with me, so I'm not setting with idle hands and they ask about what I'm doing.
I'm writing this, while Jeff is driving to feed at the farm. I often work on my social media post and graphics, while he drives. I'll also make out my to-do list for tomorrow and look for some cute pig graphics, while he drives or answer comments and emails. (We spend about an hour a day commuting.)
Maybe living in the city is your thing and you like everything delivered or your laundry picked up on your door step, by someone you don't know, that's ok, but I'll continue to live in the country and judging by how crowded it's getting, there's lots more who feel the same way. I love some modern conveniences, but sometimes there can be a disconnect among us, when too much of that happens. We need the interaction and the connections between people. My soul was fed by the ones I interacted with today. My creativity sparked. I got to hear what others want to see and that they are planning to come to our show soon. It was good to take less than two hours to run errands and I'll say it was a pretty productive time period. 


Oh and this new shirt I made and wore to town will be on the website soon or you can find it at the Mineola Antique Fair this weekend. The Cactus Motor Inn is an original design I created this week, featuring a camper, cactus, and leopard print. I was at a stumbling block with the design, till I walked down our driveway and saw my own camper sitting there with cactus painted all over it and I got the vision for how I wanted the design to look. 

If you're like me and love the small-town life and the Rural Route, you may like this t shirt as well - it is definitely inspired by our life out here in the country, where we work, live, and where we will wave if we see ya and certainly stop to chat at the post office or bank. If ya ask, we will tell you about our little business and our folks, and we will tell you it's good to see you and we actually mean it. 

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