It's taken a while, but I finally feel I have my ducks in a row concerning how I want to handle the pricing of my business for local. I was with a group of women last night discussing local and talking about the size of our community back 30-40 years. It was sad to hear them talk how much change there has been in our particular 'rural' community. Now, compared to the 50's-60's our community of 1300 was around 2400 at that time...a thriving metropolitan rural community. I did not know the community in which I live, then, since I am a transplant. I would love to have seen it in it's heyday. I can only imagine now.
The women commented that there were farms everywhere and most everyone had a dairy cow or two along with their other cattle. Parents, grandparents and children were farming together on these small farms. Fast forward to today and the land is blotted with abandoned farm houses and barns, our schools have consolidated, and the land is more vast it seems now that so many of the individuals farmers have lost or sold their farms and big corporation farming has come in and taken over. The young farmer concept was a concept of the past, not of the future, or so I am thinking. Young farmers that want to get into farming, really cannot now because land is selling for too much and much of the land when it does come available is being sold at a higher price to those corporation farmers.
Big corporation farming too hits a rural community where it hurts as well. No longer do they buy gas, feed, seed from the local area in which they farm. They support those communities from where they are from, or bring in their own gas or their own feed and seed. I think relaying this to you I am doing pretty good at stating the problems. I listen to others and talk around the local watering hole, but I was raised city like I've said. The closest I came to a cow was seeing it from my car window on the land, or watching the "Ag kids" load a school bus at a location set apart from where the city kids did. So I think I have learned something these years living in rural America. I do know too I have a lot more to learn.
I don't have as much to learn as the professor from UC in Berkeley CA. The instructor Jackson Kernion that is teaching actual classes to students and took to Twitter to shame "rural Americans" and those who aren't "pro-city." Fox News quoted, "They, as a group, are bad people who have made bad life decisions...and we should shame people who aren't pro-city."
He said "they" should have higher health care, pay more taxes and be forced to live an "uncomfortable" life for rejecting "efficient" city life," Really? REALLYYY? And this guy is paid by UC of Berkeley to teach his 11 philosophical courses? If you were to ask me, they should hang their head in shame. Jackson Kernion is really so far off the mark, and since receiving so much backlash from his comments, he's deleted his tweet. I sincerely hope that he is discredited overall and with that thinking run out of town. He has no clue about rural life, and it angers me the venom he used. Why open your mouth at all about something you know nothing about? Only because you can and you can mislead students who are gullible and listening in earnest? Man, it angers me.
Rural America is alive and well, by the way, and loved by many. Small communities are thriving and some even growing because citizens love where they live. Ben Winchester, a rural specialist from the University of Minnesota Extension and promoter of the rural brain gain migration concept supports this. One reason why the government's statistics reflect that the rural areas are being depleted is mainly because those rural areas are being eaten up by the metropolitan areas. But the brain gain is reflecting:
So here I am, working for small and local through my employment, business and website www.travelackroads.today. My business is not just about rural but small business whether they're on the country roads or on a city street. I do believe in rural because I have lived it for 35 years, and see raising children and living in rural truly as a lifestyle and one that we want to keep. The difficult part may come that in order to keep ruralism, we have to support it. We cannot run to the Walmart's, the metropolitan areas for their health care, and other businesses IF we have them in our communities. An occasional out-shopping trip will happen because that has become a pastime for Americans, but when it comes down to it; we snooze on this we lose. Or in Pat McGill's words, if we don't collaborate, we evaporate. Small rural cannot afford that, so working hard is required in educating our youth, our adults and working together as retailers and citizens to thrive. Once there is thriving, growth hopefully follows.
Joe Bartmann with Dakota Resources, at RuralX '18 Summit encourages us to be rural-shapers and it's up to us. There is a new rural happening and I want to be a part of it. So Jackson Kernion, you deleted your tweet and found out that surrounding yourself with only people that believe like you can come back to hound you when you share thoughts that are very much asinine. I'm thrilled personally that you felt you needed to take your tweet down and that there was feedback on it. I hope someone takes you by the ear and drags you into a ruralistic lifestyle you know nothing about and get some education. I just had to speak up.
(Posted on LinkedI & Facebook)
I'm sitting in west river South Dakota near my home and with family enjoying time together. It's great to have a few days off from work. But even greater to spend some time with family because we do not live near each other.
As I spend this necessary time with the business of Travel Backroads; my day job has been quite demanding. My day job, if you are not aware, is helping Deuel County in SD with economic wellness, growth and thriving. It seems like a thankless job sometimes, but I learned a long time ago that pats on the back are not required and that kudos come with seeing a job finished or well done. I survive with the latter by helping entrepreneurs, housing, business awareness, business collaboration, and community betterment. I personally thrive on it and I commit fully, not haphazardly to this passion of mine. If I meet with criticism, I'm not too shook as I know I'm doing the best I can with what I have as knowledge, and grateful that I'm always learning. Someone new, one day, will be able to too their hat in the ring and work their magic.
While in the Black Hills I had the chance to stop in, at one of my all time favorite businesses, and that is the House of Scandinavia. (Anyone notice my different car? My white one met a deer one night last month.)
Carmen Graves, daughter (and her siblings), of the Watkins, have been handed down the scepter of operations since their parents' retirement. I have been going to this store since I was a little girl. Stopping more in my adult life I have come to the realization that I'm grateful and blessed to have an appreciation for my Scandinavian roots; thanks to my Grandmother Nordin and the traditions we celebrated at Christmas. However, when my grandfather married and they started their family in Rapid City, having come from Milaca, Mn and Sweden, my grandfather Bernhard Nordin said "We're in America now, we will speak English." Much of the language and extras were not passed down through the generations, much to my dismay.
I've made my final decision within my business Travel Backroads to change my pricing. Keeping it affordable was always my goal and making it easy for businesses to get in the directory was the aim.
It's a one time listing fee; then you're in, like Flynn. The membership gets you in the directory on all the pages that apply. It also gets you social media coverage on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube for videos, and Yelp. Hiring Apple for a brief period has helped me get recognition on other platforms and Siri! This next summer you find my business as part of Glacial Lakes & Prairies Tourism publication as I've paid that price for my small & local business listers. I love promoting and have a new page also for "Testimonials." I so appreciate my customers' backing my business, and saying so.
I think one of the biggest aspects of my business are the maps. I reiterate; there are so many great stores and businesses that are on the backroads or on a city street, why miss them? Why not let others know they are there. I love it!
Travelers SHOULD know these stores are near them. Wouldn't you want to know? Like Clear Lake has these amazing women's clothing stores for ALL sizes (even curvy)
--why go I-29 when you can go Hwy 15 in east central SD. Then, if you get there, keep heading north to Milbank and stop at Linda's, or Milbank Flower or Whimsy on Main.
My next quest as part of my business is to show "Specialty Products" in their own category. (Homemade donuts like at Wall Drug--do you know this particular passion?) I KNOW for certain that others have their favorites --homemade malts, caramel rolls, specialty coffees, truffles, and more. Why not showcase these places just for what they are known for?
My next focus are Murals. They are not a trend, and seem to be artistically showing up on rural South Dakota community walls. So, I'm starting a category too for those. Organizing on the directory is a challenge because I want everything found easily; and I'm a self-appointed and self-taught webmaster; videographer too. Murals tell their own story and what communities want to say. They're great and the SD Art's Council is helping many with grants for their creation.
So, call me. Let me work for you. I want to promote you. I want to promote your business, your town, your product. I will do my utmost to show you how fiercely loyal I am to you. Check out my directory, follow me on social media and get on my blog's emailing list.
If you're not a biz, then please "say it forward" to your town's businesses, Chambers of Commerce, or a friend who's a store owner. I would really appreciate your help in my quest to drive the passion to go local. We cannot sit back, it's up to us to drive traffic to the diamonds in the rough.
Simply put, I'm always working, learning and growing with new things in-store.
with Travel Backroads