Do you live in or by an "Old Town"? You know what I mean, it's the historic part of a small town that use to be the center of commerce, there's normally a court house, a few church steeples and hopefully a street lined with thriving independent business'.
I'm lucky in that Kelly Ann's Quilting is located in such a town, Old Town Warrenton. I've recently had the opportunity to visit the Old Town section of Charlottesville Virginia that has a thriving section that is closed to vehicle traffic and loaded, and I mean loaded with shops and restaurants and people..tons and tons of people. Just yesterday I was in Old Town Fredericksburg Virginia, and while it was lined with lots of retail shops and some interesting places to eat I was totally surprised to see so many places closed on Mondays.
Having a business in an "old town" I'm always looking for ways to enhance someones visit to "my town" by seeing what others have to offer or how they might go about attracting crowds of people. Both Old Town Warrenton and Old Town Fredericksburg have on street parking that is some cases is limited to 1 hour and Charlottesville has a closed to traffic downtown area. I know that Warrenton will never close off Main Street to traffic but while shopping yesterday in Fredericksburg I overhead a merchant complaining about the 2 hour parking they have on the street going so far as to saying "they might as well post a sign that says "don't shop here or we'll give you a ticket". This really got me thinking, are the merchants in my "old town" bitter about the parking? and ya know what, NO, they are not bitter but we know we have issues but I've never heard a merchant in my town talk like this. We have one hour parking on Main Street but right behind those buildings are two hour and all day lots and we're happy to direct people to them.
The other thing, I noticed yesterday was the number of retail and restaurants closed on Monday, I scanned my memory and ya know what, all of the business' in Warrenton are open and so are the restaurants. Is my old town perfect, no, but I will say we are a welcoming town and happy to see people walking down Main Street and all of the side streets, greeting people with a smile and a warm hello.
I still would love to have the busyness of Charlottesville, the outdoor cafes, the unique shops but then that comes with being a college town so I'll continue to travel to other old towns and see what's going on and then travel back to my old town with a smile knowing that it really is the greatest old town around. So...tell me, do you have an "old town" that you love?
Until Next Time