As we begin to dream that spring will be springing before we can turn around, I find myself thinking about the words of country singer Alan Jackson who nailed more than the vocals on this one, and he was exactly right. It definitely is alright to be little bitty.
“A little bitty house and a little bitty yard, little bitty dog and a little bitty car…”
Of course, it’s okay to be little bitty; however, when little bitty applies to the size of a town, it’s just a fact that the town will have to work many times harder to promote itself and stay afloat economically than will its larger counterparts.
Why is that, you might ask?
Of course the answer is actually quite simple: money, money, and money. It is very hard for small-town businesses to stay in the black with only their locals for customers.
So, what must the small town do?
Again, the answer is simple on paper and quite hard in reality: City officials have to find a way to woo visitors to their town and ultimately into local businesses. So, how do they do it?
Well, for starters they have to do a lot of homework to discover what it is about some of our smaller Texas towns that makes visitors flock to them. And, equally important, what is it about other small Texas towns that visitors avoid? Obviously, this requires time and travel because to understand the elephant, officials must first view him, right?
Unfortunately, all of the above is the easy part. The hard part begins when officials develop a plan and begin to implement it to citizens who may be less than pleased with forced change. AND, unfortunately, the first thing that is usually needed is a cleaning project, which should, of course, begin with the business owners themselves.
Grabbing the old weedeater and getting rid of the grass and weeds growing around the sidewalk and the edges of the streets is a must. Why would a visitor passing through town stop at a business that looks not only less than prosperous, but “ratty” to boot?
No one said that it would be easy, and it all boils down to whether a town, its officials, and its citizenry are tough enough to play and win a very, very hard game or whether they are not. The choice is, however, up to them.