(This Letter to the Editor has been submitted by Jessica Tanski of Decorah):
I may be new to town, but it's safe to say that I am more in the loop than those who may have walked around the block a time or two. Being employed by a business in Decorah, it is a part of my job to know what is going on in town. No really, it is part of my job to support the shop local movement and ensure that fellow business owners also thrive in the downtown environment.
With that being said, I have read the post, and several affiliated posts, regarding what type of businesses folks would like to see in downtown Decorah. I must say, some of the answers frightened me, especially for a town newbie!
I may have only lived in Iowa for a month and a half, but more than three-quarters of the "wanted businesses" already exist. Yes, they truly do exist; they are not a part of our imaginations. Sometimes we just need to take a step back, rather take a few steps down the street, and explore what's out there.
--"A really good bakery" "A bread shop"
These folks clearly have never been into the Oneota Co-Op. In fact, if they have, they would have most definitely seen the racks of freshly baked breads from local bakeries that are in plain view as soon as you walk in the door. Artisan breads… you know, those breads with all the different seeds sprinkled on top, homemade dinner rolls, sandwich rolls. You should really check it out some time!
--"A Pastry Shop"
While Pinter's Candies and Gifts has barrels full (literally) of old-fashioned candies that us "big kids" grew up on, they have windows full of freshly baked pastries. Over 12 different flavors of cupcakes; plus turnovers, cinnamon rolls, scones, chocolate covered bacon, and so much more! Take a tasty trip down memory lane, as they would say, and dive head first into the barrels of bulk candies, pastries, and gifts.
I'm pretty sure a new clothing shop just opened downtown, Sports World. A big Under Armour Neon is in the window… you can't miss it… or maybe you can! They have tons of men's athletic wear. And, while we're on the topic, so does The Decorah Hatchery. You can discover plenty of men's clothing lines at this store.
--"A Shoe Store"
Apparently these folks have never 'stepped foot' in The Good Foot downtown. Women's shoes, men's shoes, kid's shoes… with great brand names, too. If you stop in on the right night, they have little treats out for those who are shopping to nibble on!
--"A Drive Thru Coffee Shop"
Now, please correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Magpie coffee shop deliver? Sure, it may not be a drive thru, but they have a neat peddle bike with a box on the back with their name on it to keep your food and coffee safe while on the trip to your location! Plus, it's a coffee shop people… go and get the full coffee shop experience. That's the problem with America--we are so always on the go that we don't take a moment to breathe in life and experience it. Go sit down and have a cup of coffee at Magpie's or Java Johns, you will not regret it.
--"A Used Book Store"
Ever stop by the little park in the center of town by the Co-Op that has benches to sit at and tables to eat at? Well, under the covered gazebo, you'll find a Tiny Library that was built. It's not big… it really is tiny. But, you can grab a book, bring it back to swap out with another, or just add a book that you're not reading anymore! Sure, this may not be a bookstore… but there's actually two of these Tiny Libraries in town!
Sadly, these are just a FEW of the answers that were collected. Now THAT's Scary, isn't it?
So, while I may be a "newbie" to town, there is a pressing underlying issue here. We, the people of Decorah, should be less concerned with the "what ifs" and "wants," and be more concerned with what we already have. Take a walk up Water Street and realize that most of our needs are already there, we just need to utilize them!
This is what the whole "Shop Local" and "Shift Your Shopping" campaigns are all about! Shop local, support the community, support fellow business owners, and enjoy the fresh baked breads and pastries, with a side of coffee. Or, in my case, enjoy the coffee with the side of pastry.
So, I am now going to challenge each and every one of you. Go ahead and go buy a pair of shoes at The Good Foot, walk down Water Street to Magpie's for a cup of coffee, and stop by Pinter's to get a cupcake along the way. And, if you drop some icing on your shirt men, go grab a new shirt and either downtown location! You'll be surprised at all of the wonderful things you can discover!