An article in today’s The New York Times, “But Will It Make You Happy?“, provides a lot of ideas on rural tourism and rural retail, even though that isn’t even the main point of the article. Spending less and spending smarter, however, are components that fit in line with rural tourism and rural retail. The author writes about Wal-Mart and other retailers responding to the recession and less consumer spending by focusing less on selling stuff and more on selling experiences. That is what rural retail should be great at… selling experiences. Yes, stuff is part of that, but rural businesses can provide a nice cheap excursion, great customer service and some unique stuff. Whether by choice or necessity, consumers are seeking more value and a better, more fulfilling shopping experience. Rural areas like Centerville, Bon Aqua, Lyles and the rest of Hickman County can offer that experience… we just need to work to keep it and to continually improve it.
Now, some people who have lived in Hickman County a while might long for shopping malls and lifestyle centers and power centers that follow population density. No doubt that is a shopping experience, but the same one you’d find in Nashville or Jackson or Atlanta or Dallas or any other city. The funny thing is there are people who would love to go to a real hardware store like the one on Hwy 46 in Bon Aqua or Prince’s in Centerville or shop at a real farm and feed store like the Co-op or the Bliss’s place off the square. Or, they’d love to go into Centerville Marketplace where Korie knows the person who supplies her stuff and if she doesn’t have what you want, she can send you to Remember When a few stores down. There are still lots more shops and restaurants, no two the same – all with a unique personality.