I had someone recently ask me why I wanted to have a cafe in downtown Mebane. Would it not have been better be closer to the outlet mall? Would I not attract more business in that area of town? The answer of course, is Yes to both HOWEVER..I grew up with a downtown, spent many years in another small town with an active downtown and I like the idea of eating and shopping downtown.
Many of my favorite childhood memories occurred in downtown Watertown,NY where I grew up. On Saturdays, when I was young, my best friend Chris and I would get together and walk (yes, children walked then!) downtown for a swim at the Y and then lunch at a little cafe. Back then, I think we paid fifty cents to swim and our meal (hamburger, drink and we split an order of fries) cost around 1.50. We would shop with the small amount of left over change our parents had given us (we had Woolworths and many other shops-couldn't buy much, but we sure could browse). Other times, there were movies to catch (we had three theaters, The Avon, The Town, and The Olympic to begin with, through the years each one closed), snacks to grab (the Karmel Korn Shop had the best popcorn ever!!) and always whole day's worth of fun to be had.
As we grew up, we attended dances and activities downtown, took our dancing lessons there and so much more. Most of our social life was located in downtown.
Years later, I moved to Wytheville, Va and again, found an active downtown. I spent my time with my children strolling downtown, visiting (if you know me, I love to talk!), shopping and eating in all the wonderful shops. Our church was downtown and so were all the activities and our festivals. My baby shower for my daughter, Sunni was held at our downtown church; my girls scout troupe and little cheerleaders met at the rec center located there. Sunni, like Chris and I earlier, had dance classes downtown (this past year before she moved, for a short period she taught dance-downtown here!).
While some downtown areas seem to be disappearing, others are revitalizing and becoming more active. I think there are a lot of people like myself who remember the downtowns of earlier times, the happiness found there and the possibility of recapturing that for our selves and our families.
So, why downtown -because it is filled with good people and lots of memory building activities. There is much to do in downtown Mebane and I love the unique shops and the peacefulness. Our city has done a wonderful job making our downtown beautiful with the trees and plantings. We have the sweetest little park area and many other really pretty places to sit and enjoy on a nice sunny day. You can always take a walk and visit all the shops, take dancing lessons, eat meals and find snacks. Now, if we just had a movie theater....Okay, I can dream.