Monday, March 15, 2010

In my first writing on this blog I said, "The thrill of seeing a business through to its opening day, no matter how big or small the business, still provides the owner a "rush" that is greater than a narcotic." This is especially true for a small town. EVERYONE'S eyes are on you and your building, at no time more than just before you open. (Once you are open the eyes go looking elsewhere and then you are down to the matter of running your business, much less colorful than starting it.

I hope that opening Quilted Strait (Kris' business which she is moving from Port Angeles) is done at least half as successfully as Eric and Kim's re-opening of The General Store. I say "re-opening" because they are not the first owners of a business in that location using that name. A week before they opened I walked by and talked with Eric, who I had just met, about such mundane issues as "What do you do with the cardboard to be recycled?"

Have you ever thought about that? We live in a society of double packages, wrapping a good in plastic, then re-wrapping everything in cardboard for shipping. So the plastic goes in the trash at home, but what about all that cardboard. Eric said he took three TRUCKLOADS of it to the recycling center, but it was tiresome, costly, and frankly was cheaper to just throw it in the trash dumpster (which he was not going to do).

But a town like Port Gamble is unlike most in that there is no "alley" where one can hide the ugly dumpsters, no place to keep them "out of sight, out of mind." There is the waterfront, where no one dares to tread (except during festivals when that is the ONLY place to park). So the solution from Tom, the head of maintenance, is to hide the dumpsters close to the water and ask the store owners to walk their cardboard to them. Sound like extra work? You bet. Something to complain about? Not here. Many of the shop owners, like Kris and I, also live in the same block and we don't want dumpsters in our yards any more than you do.

So next time you are in Port Gamble look and see how many dumpsters are in sight. Yet another advantage I've found in the way small towns solve problems. Cooperation. This town is dealing with employees cars, trash containers, yard debris (I started to prune a tree here and the clippings quickly disappeared) like you can't do in a big city ... by asking everyone to pitch in. It works here.

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