By Mickey Howley
I don’t know about you, but I like options. You know having real choices. And choices and options mean more possibilities. Basic human nature likes that. Perhaps you are like me and you do like to have those options. I would think we all like to have choices.
Growing up in a medium size American city, I had options and choices. But many of the options and choices required some effort, like a drive across town or more money. But if you put in that time or money, most what you wanted was available. This whole choice-option situation hit home when I was living in a small town in southern Oklahoma.
I was searching the town for a specialty plumbing fixture and it was just not available. One merchant told me, “here’s what might work” showing me the one and only option, “but if you want what you want, you got to go to Dallas.” I wasn’t too thrilled, the Big D was a 180-mile round trip. But that merchant essentially opened my eyes to how a small town works, in that your options and choices are either dead easy or impossible. It was an important insight. In a small town, if you can be happy with what is available, you’ll be fine. If you can’t, you’ll be frustrated. And might leave.
In Water Valley looking back over what options were in downtown 50 to 70 years ago, seems many feel there were clearly more options than today. I often hear about the town once having four new car dealerships. What folks mean when they say more options is there were more businesses.
I don’t think we will ever have a new car dealership again, that business model has changed. But what has happened in the last few year is many more businesses are back in downtown. Not the same businesses as before, but still businesses that serve the community and give the folks who live here options and choices.
One of the new options in the last few years is dining out in the Valley. There has been a steady increase in the number and types of places to eat downtown. Restaurateurs will tell you it is a hard business to be in – the hours are long, the work is tedious, the profit not huge, the customers can be fickle. But if you look at the top ten reasons why people find cities and towns desirable, the number one and two reasons are not jobs or houses or schools. No, number one is safety and number two is good restaurants. Some-times it can be pretty simple to feel like you have options and the place you live is nice—buy local and eat out.
This Thursday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Street office at 207 North Main will be the 7th Annual Mem-bership Meeting. We’ll have some delicious snacks from our local restaurants, elect new board members, thank people for the effort in bringing downtown back, talk about the future and have a good time. Please come on out. I think it has been a good and lucky seven years for the Valley. Hope to see you there.