I’m feeling reflective as we are nearing the new year, new decade, and 1 year anniversary of the founding of Middle Path Nutrition and Wellness. Prior to opening, I got the question, “Why Canton?” on more than one occasion. Though I won’t argue that it is certainly a plus to work closer to where one lives, and spare a long commute, the real driving factor was the desire to serve the community I call home.
Some people dislike small towns – they feel it is stifling, or invasive, because everyone knows so much about everyone else. I grew up in a small town and could certainly see some validity in such points. But I moved away as a young adult, and lived in a very large city for nearly a decade, and though I adapted and learned to appreciate some things about it, I also missed the simplicity of a small town. Small towns are closer knit with their stories, and often carry their rich histories on the tips of the tongue of all the locals. Small towns are the lifeblood of Americana.
I’ve come across some press that speaks of how small towns across America are seeing more revitalization over the course of the past decade – as many people have been leaving larger city metro areas in search of a quieter life, or a closer community to raise a family in – or whatever other host of reasons the articles may come up with. I’ve certainly been witnessing it myself here, and I’ve been a part of it no less!
The beauty of supporting your small town, and revitalizing a small town, is that it creates a unique thumbprint for the region. Suddenly you meet people face to face in the shops who actually have a vested interest in providing great customer service and real human connection, because they are your neighbor, or they go to your church, or your kids are in school together etc. The individuals providing for the needs of a community in a small town, are able to create spaces and offer product and services that are special, more curated and unique, and just for you – as opposed to the big-box, cookie-cutter appearance of the national corporate offerings.
In a small town, residents are more able to have a voice – to the city officials, to the business owners – and to be heard. Better able to help shape the offerings of what is around them, in their community, for the enrichment of their own lives. Sure, maybe you don’t always get everything you’d like from it, but getting to express your interests more directly is a privilege that is far more lost in bureaucracy and numbers in larger cities.
I’m writing this now, in a sense, as a little love note to small-town America. Being in business here a year now, meeting folks new to the area or even new the state, and hearing what lured them to this beautiful region – and meeting so many people who’s families trace their roots back to these hills and coves over several generations – has been so much a pleasure!
I invite you all in! I love to hear your stories. I love to share. I am grateful for everyone here who has been so supportive and encouraging, and I’m grateful even for just each curious person who’s wandered in the door, sometimes amazed to see this little town waking back up again. I thank those who’ve said to me, “It’s about time Canton had a place like this!” or, “I always hoped we’d have a place like this!”, and especially those that have thanked me… because it lets me know that I’m meeting my mission in helping my community.
Be individual, be unique, be proud!
Be connected, be supportive, be humble.
I think that nicely sums up all the best of small-town America.