By Mickey Howley
When I pick up this newspaper every week out of my mailbox, let me just say for the record regular columnists don’t get a discount on the subscription, I first scan the front-page pictures for what is new in Yalobusha. About half the time it is a bad vehicle accident. Reminds me always to slow down and be careful.
Often enough it is a photo of some Main Street activity or some aspect of economic development. Those I really like. Occasionally when it is a slow news week, like a couple of weeks ago, somebody like Tommy White will be on the cover.
And, unless there is a front-page headline about the county supervisors getting frisky, I’m heading over to Betty’s Week. And there last week on the front page, Betty was writing how she enjoyed having new businesses on Main Street, but she had never set foot inside James Peacock’s business — J Clayton’s Eclectic Arts Gallery. I did a little fact checking; I went by and saw James. He said that was correct, Betty had never been inside his store and he has been open 22 months. It is 150 feet from the Herald front door to his. James even noted that folks even closer than Betty had never been in. That’s too bad; it is a nice gallery and frame shop.
Now I know you are thinking I just bashed Betty for not being a good Main Street person. No way! Betty is like my WV mom, my son thinks her son is the greatest — long story, it is a tuba thing — and Betty is truly an anchoring force for this downtown. She has been most of her life on WV’s Main Street. I think she is great and that’s why I look forward to reading her column. She is a big Main Street supporter.
And if you read Betty’s column last week, she likes the new energy downtown, she really loves that buildings and businesses are coming back. But here is where she is honest about herself; just plain human nature, she has a routine. And sometimes that routine is hard to adjust. And that’s why she has never stopped in at J Clayton’s.
Now beneficial patterns of behavior and daily routines are not bad, actually they’re very good, recent study suggest that established routines are significant part of longevity. But an occasional adjustment is also fine.
And Betty’s column made me think about my own set patterns. Which stores I visit and which ones I don’t. So other than my appetite needs and auto parts addiction — my clunker fleet has an average age of 23 — there are not so many stores I visit on a regular basis. And even a few, like Betty, I have never been in. That’s not good. That is going to change.
There are some 60-plus businesses or professional offices in Water Valley’s historical downtown — more than that if you count the whole town. That’s a good number of stores, but not an impossible number to visit in a year. Just stop in, say, “Hi,” look around. You might see something for you or somebody else. And that would be good for business in the Valley.