Happy Saturday, all. While those of you in Hib-town may be winding down from the Red Ore Run , gearing up for the Jubilee Parade, or just trying to stay cool at a nearby lake; here I am at my apartment in Iowa taking a chance to reflect on last week’s Support Hibbing Independents Initiative.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but last Friday and Saturday were definitely an eye-opening experience for me. Some of my coolest discoveries were as follows:
- The Odd Shop has a great line of greeting cards which use vintage photos as well as an excellent selection of Hibbing postcards.
- Surprise: Bikes on Howard has popcorn and slushies. Not sure if this was a special occurrence or everyday thing, but I definitely noted it while pricing bike seats.
- Amateur artists like myself can get great deals on art supplies at SoHo where I picked up a couple of canvases, brushes, and a beginners set of oil paints for less than $15.
Honestly, I had a number of ah-ha moments experiencing downtown Hibbing last week. Some delightful, others sobering; but one of my favorites was like visiting an old friend and I’d like to share it with you.
Howard Street Booksellers
After a quick trip to the Hibbing Historical Society on Saturday morning, I ran over to Howard Street Booksellers. I feel like I have history with this place and the owners, Joe and Mary. They’re good people, who know their customers and really know their stuff. Last year when I was looking to buy some books for my darling little goddaughter they were able to explain transitions in the publishing of my favorite Golden Books and help me select titles with better quality bindings, which I never would have noticed on my own.
So last Saturday when I walked in the shop, Joe greeted me with a smile. We exchanged pleasantries a bit and I explained I was looking for a couple of good reads to take out to the lake with me that afternoon. He gave me my space to browse, but I knew he was ready and willing to offer suggestions or answer any questions. While I was browsing for “the perfect book” I happened to overhear snippets of Joe’s conversations with other customers.
|Thanks Joe, for being such a good sport and letting me capture a pic for the blog!|
“How’s your mother?”
“Well, it’s similar to the other series you were reading. . .”
|Dylan-themed display near the entrance.|
These are the kind of places I want in my hometown. Shops that make you smile when you walk by, even during off hours. Places you can go to find what you need both in terms of goods and services, but also in the sense of community. These are spaces that celebrate the unique in a world that is often a little too cookie cutter.
So, in closing, was the Support Hibbing Independents effort a success? Well, I don’t know. There was not a literal mob of people at Howard Street Booksellers, but who’s to say that business was not “up” at many of our local establishments? I do know that my sister’s shop experienced an uptick and I hope others did as well. I think it’s a step in the right direction, but there’s a lot more that can be done.
In the end, it’s about getting people’s attention, changing attitudes, and changing behavior. That’s tough work. That’s long term work. Although “Support Hibbing Independents” may be over, I think this movement is really just beginning. Let’s continue to talk about and work for supporting a growing small business community in Hibbing. Together, we can make a positive impact!