Blog Archives

What does your entryway say about you?

An entryway says so much about a building. It is space that is often overlooked, but sets the tone for what is ahead.

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Urban Indigo    Oakland, CA

What does yours say about you? It can tell us what type of business is in there. If it  is open or closed.

Is yours welcoming?  Does it tell a story? Spark the imagination? Tempt you?

An entryway can also be art. It can be so many things!

In Berthoud, Colorado a joint effort between the city, 11261827_1529547420689260_6503898361766391575_obusinesses and homeowners produced Entryways of Berthoud to showcase art and their community. They invited folks to submit photos of entryways and these were then turned into notecards and posters.

An entryway for a business has many functions and is an important part of the establishment itself.  It may act as the local bulletin board in a rural community, or set the tone of the business.

An entryway can provide a striking entrance with uses of color and architectural details. Or lead into a more formal atmosphere with more subdued touches.

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Chop & Wok Scottsdale, AZ

 

Similar to the beginning a chapter in a book, an entryway establishes a story that has yet to unfold.

An entryway is also a very affordable way to change a businesses dynamic.  It is a spot where risks can be taken, and even on a limited budget, have a remarkable effect.

img_8317Think about the places you frequent. How do they make you feel? Welcome? Not so much?

We like our homes to be welcoming and inviting. Our businesses should be too.

How can you use your entryway to enhance your business or community?

~Katy~

Katy is a rural and small town /small business speaker, consultant, advocate & writer.  She believes many small communities can grow from within using resources already at hand and creative strategies and leverage those to attract new families, businesses and customers.  Do you want Tait & Kate to come speak to your community or group? Email us at info@taitandkate.com

 

 

 

 

 

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The heartbeat of a community

 

historic-downtonw-lincoln-magnifying-glass_0I just came back from a whirlwind trip through parts of California. Most of my jaunts out there are like that.(I grew up there)  Have to squeeze them in between calves and crops, you know!

While I was there I treated myself to a morning stop in Lincoln. This gem is +/- about 30 miles North East of Sacramento on Hwy 65.

“Downtown is the heartbeat of a community”

At the turn of the 1900’s Lincoln was a “boom town”.  I would imagine it began it’s decline in the 1970’s or so.  Back in the 80’s I bought my horse hay at

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I used to buy hay in this beautifully revamped building!

the feed store on the corner and the standing joke was that Lincoln had to “borrow” its Saturday night police from Marysville.

Over the years Lincoln has grown. And grown. And Grown.  OUTSIDE of the city border. Downtown became sadly neglected. Building were run down. Store fronts empty.

About a dozen years ago the good people of Lincoln- many of them “old timers” came together to revitalize the old section.  Building were revamped, they enticed people to come and see the possibilities and did some creative wheeling and dealing to get the storefronts filled.  Here’s a great video on it:

Several years ago a friend of mine asked if I had been to Lincoln lately, and I said Not in years, nuthin’ there!  So she cheerfully informed that there was indeed plenty there.

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Everything from food and antiques to a fab quilt shop. -All things to pique my interest.

I found much to like and did some shopping 🙂 much to hubby chagrin.

Fast forward another few years. This trip I had time to spend the entire morning and early afternoon.  So, my morning was spentimg_7938 having coffee with my son at a sidewalk café and walking all over Old Town. We had a wonderful time exploring and visiting with shop owners! Everybody was so friendly and helpful. Our only bummer was that we were there before the museum opened, and by the time it was, we were already around the corner at Kim’s Café having late ‘brunch’ (an outstanding café with heaping plates of down home cookin’.)with other family in the area.

Lincoln boasts a number of eateries, antique stores, boutiques, thrift shops, wineries, brewpubs, gardening/gift shops and more.  It is quite the bustling area, offering something for everybody.  Even my son was practically giddy when he found a shop that interested him.

Nearly every single store has outdoor seating and all have wonderful signage designed to attract attention. Several of the buildings have beautiful murals on them. Even the lone ‘box’ store is in keeping with the Old Town vibe.

~ The seating is amazing. Just by sitting down outside the coffee shop, people TALKED as they went by! And when People talk, Community happens.~

img_7935“Honoring the past while embracing the future”

Lincoln also hosts many events to draw people and have a good times- Everything from antique car shows to food truck extravaganzas and in between.

When you’re not busy eating, visiting or shopping in one of the great shops, take a little time and drive around the ‘heart’ of Lincoln and its neighborhoods.  The architecture in amazing.

A stop in at the Lincoln Area Chamber was on my way around town and I had a wonderful visit with Tom Cosgrove, Chamber director. We had a few minutes to chat about the creativity involved with attracting businesses back to Downtown, and how rosy the future looks.

Rebuilding Lincoln wasn’t (and still isn’t) all sunshine and rainbows. It took loads of grit, outside the box creative thinking, vision , dreams, browbeating and hope.

Success feeds on success. Each small step lead to the next one and each one was progressively better and bigger. The energy in this beautiful town is incredible.

I will definitely be back again. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Art, Architecture, Geography, Commerce, People, History, Customs and Cuisine– Yep! Covered ALL of “Kate’s 8” items that all communities begin with.

~Katy~

Katy is part of Tait&Kate– rural and small community speaker and advocate. TaitandKate can help your community fill your empty store fronts with outside the box strategies and build community from the inside out.  

Want to book us for your next meeting or conference? email us at  info@taitandkate.com

 

The last Pattern Maker~This is the story of US

A story of US. Of America. Of Small Business. Of Dreams. Of Passion. Of love of craft.

People who love their craft, live it every day.

I just saw this video today, and I was simply moved. Not by the memories of my Grammy who was a noted seamstress  in San Francisco, nor because I am also a creative type.

But because this grand lady, Chris Ellsberg, lives and loves her craft of pattern making. By ‘craft’ I do NOT mean ‘crafting’… It’s more like craftsmanship, or trade.

You see, Chris is a pattern maker. One of the last the United States.  It is an old trade. One that is difficult to master.

In her 80’s now, Chris strutted into Raleigh Denim Workshop   and volun-told  the owners, Victor & Sara, that she was going to work there. (Love her Moxie!!) For  FREE, until they could afford to pay her.

She has been passing on her knowledge and love of craft to a new generation.   It is thrilling to watch their story unfold.

I would love to meet them all! It sounds like they are a ‘family’ working at Raleigh Denim Workshop.

Helping each other to hold fast the dreams.

I am inspired. This story has so many lessons we can all learn from. Lessons about community, giving, teaching and inspiring. Of holding on and letting go.

It is much, much more than just a story of an old woman and a young couple.

~Katy~

 

 

Praire Palaces = Opportunity

(Property owners name withheld  on request)

On occasion I drive by “Betty’s” place NE of Washburn.

Every time I think  two things immediately.

1) WOW! I want to stay there!  

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possibilities 1/2 mile from town!

 

2) WOW! The income potential.

It really is  quite a marvelous place for her family to get away to.  These converted grain bins  are actually sleeping rooms (2 are storage) and the Quonset has a livingroom, bathroom and kitchen.   ~The family meets up here for a week or so every year.  There are no other buildings on their land.

I often think what a simple concept! Primitive camping with nature right at your fingertips- but ‘town’ right down the road. Or a great for seasonal Craft selling or farm market. The novelty of the painted buildings would make me stop  in a second driving by!

We live in a very rural community. What a draw this could be for any small community! Think of the possibilities.  Quick weekend get-aways, retreats, family reunions, bird watching, star gazing etc.

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The color draws me in!

It’s quirky, fun, interesting and draws you in.  It immerses you in the country in a way that being in a hotel can’t.

 

WHO would be your customers? and WHY are they your costumers? 

Well, me for one. As someone who frequently traveled cross country with the boys, a place to run and shout in the country would have been my first stop! Photographers, wild life viewers, hunters, crafters, history buffs, picnickers, day campers – all manner of people.

Now I know, most of us have seen great converted grain bin ‘houses’ or farm dwellings used for major events.  But this, on a most base level has oooodles of easily do-able possibilities without as much upfront capital.  Just a little sweat and imagination.bin

Want windows? Scavenge some from old buildings. Want to add a porch? Again, use salvaged lumber or bricks.

You are only limited by your imagination.

As a Primitive experience, you wouldn’t need to provide all manner of luxuries. Primitive means just that. A bed. Maybe an outdoor BBQ or fire pit. If you wanted to- a solar shower and out-house or inciner-loo would do.  You could easily offer a booklet detailing the best nearby places for scenery, bird watching, great food, places of interest and  local history. It would be easy enough to partner with the local café or bakery to provide boxed lunches/dinners or baked goods.

Also as a primitive experience, you may not be as subject to the same stringent standards as a ‘hotel’ would be. (Definitely  something to check on, though)

Remember- Your great grain bins or other buildings don’t have to be on a farm! You can be on the edge of town, or by the park, or maybe you have an extra large lot… Again- imagination.

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What could YOU dream up?

 

Most states  have an Agri-Tourism department. They may  provide property signage, can help you decide what type of insurance is best. (Many farm policies already have a rider for  ‘guests’) and other aspects of your new business.

 

Agri-Tourism is a very sustainable, viable income. The USDA also has grants and low cost loans available. Many communities have Micro-loan programs to help you on your way.  You can also list for FREE you great Agri-tourism place on many sites such as : http://www.agritourismworld.com/ that let’s you list by state.

Here are some great links to get you started:

http://www.uvm.edu/tourismresearch/agritourism/saregrant/getting_started_agritourism_cornellext.pdf

http://www.ndtourism.com/articles/north-dakota-agritourism#whatisagritourism

http://oklahomaagritourism.com/

 

~Katy~

 

 

 

 

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