Newton’s downtown gives me something my hometown never gave me: a sense of pride.
I’ve been here for two months so far, and I like the square. Just a few weeks ago I bought my dad a couple of philosophy books from Timeless Stories, and I’ve seen more movies than my budget probably allows at the Capitol II. While it looks enticing, I’ve avoided Worth the Weight, because to be honest, I’ve got very little worth and too much weight.
My point is, my home town of Platte City has a shameful excuse for a downtown. It has a bank, a bar and a courthouse. Several businesses have tried to start up downtown, and they just go out of business.
There’s two reasons behind that. People in Platte City don’t care about downtown businesses. We are less than 20 minutes away from several major shopping centers, and it’s hard for a niche clothing store to compete with the brands and prices of major retailers. Second, Platte City doesn’t have a Darrell Sarmento.
Now, granted, I’ve heard they’re one of a kind, but my point is Platte City could use someone whose job it is to promote downtown and local businesses. Ridiculous Day is a great event where I personally got to meet a lot of dedicated business owners. Darrell was able to promote their businesses through events and attractions that drew in a lot of families.
But, Darrell can only do so much. When I was covering Ridiculous Day for our front page, several businesses were either media shy or very offended by the idea of me talking to them about their business. I promise, I don’t bite.
If a reporter ever approaches you, as a business owner, and wants to talk about your business, talk our ears off. It’s free advertising. I talked to the owner of Mode Huis, which is one of the most unique businesses on the square, and I learned how dedicated everyone is to that store. One employee described driving through the snow-addled streets of Newton to open Mode Huis.
It’s my job to share those stories. It’s my job to tell our subscribers and whatever blessed soul buys a single copy of this paper about how wonderful your business is.
And you know what? I love my job.