GoNOMAD is lucky to be located in a prosperous New England town. I know this because when I walk to the bakery, I pass by shops that are full of customers, a real estate office brimming with listings, and a hardware store with a full parking lot. It is reassuring to live and work in a bustling village, and South Deerfield, MA is indeed a small town that works. The stores provide the goods that the people want and need and so they thrive.
Many small towns in the U.S. are dying off, nobody wants to live there, and the shops, bars, and restaurants we take for granted are not thriving any more. Like a human being, the energy that comes from people coming and going and the exchange of money between them is needed to keep a town alive.
I thought about this tonight when I walked through a new natural foods grocery and restaurant that just opened up in Easthampton, MA. It was shiny and new, and open at 7:30 pm, but there were no customers there. Located in a converted mill, this new store is not on the way, and won’t get any drive-by business. I felt like I was watching a business that would not succeed. It felt terrible because the new shiny store was lovely, and carried a wide selection of organic foods. I hope that I am wrong but it felt indeed, much different from the prosperous street where I run my business, like somebody has made a gigantic mistake by locating there.