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Masonville, Colorado- A Kate’s 8 town

MasonvilleColorado~ a beautiful, picturesque little (un-incorporated) micro sized, 20140626_133444unincorporated town (wide spot in the road)  has all eight of the assets that every community shares. The fact that there really in no ‘town’ per-se, is not a problem.  A skip away from Estes Park, Loveland and Ft Collins– it is still a slice of the wild west and feels like it is miles and miles from anywhere. (which it kinda is- ank8s average of 30 miles to ‘anywhere’)

Masonville easily covers all the assets:  Architecture, Art/Culture, Cuisine, Customs, Commerce, Geography, History and People.

Every things fits into one of these categories, and every town- even a ghost town- has a story to tell about each one” – Kansas Sample Foundation

Here’s my ‘story’ on each element;

Geography– Masonville was originally platted in the Buckhorn Canyon following a  small discovery of Gold.  It is surrounded by the stunning foothills and rolling meadows leading up to Estes Park and the Buckhorn, Redstone and Big Thompson creeks. It is an area considered to be part of the beginning of the “Front Range”.  Gold, Silver, Tungsten, Copper and Nickel have been found there along with a host of other lesser ores and small gemstones.

The winding roads leading into Masonville make it a popular destination for motorcyclists and bicyclists alike.

20140626_133558Art/Culture  A part of Masonville holds a mini western ‘town’ and many sculptures and 20140626_134359paintings.  In part they tell a story about the West that Was and in part just for whimsy.

Commerce  For a town with only TWO businesses, it sure is a busy place!!! The  Masonville Mercantile  is an incredible little year round Emporium that serves many markets- everything from unique gifts to the wedding and historical re-enactment markets. Their milliner even

derby hats

photo by M. Vendegna

makes award winning hats for the ladies at the Kentucky Derby.  The Nostalgic West Leather Shop is a ‘go to’ shopping hot spot for all things leather. Dusters, cowboy hats, quality bike leathers (we have some from there!) gloves, gifts and accessories.

 

Cuisine – While there are no traditional food places to eat at in Masonville,  each year there are a number of events from farmers markets to BBQ’s that draw huge crowds. – A great way to meet new people and enjoy the beauty of the area. (and there’s always the snacks at the Mercantile!)

People – Many of the local residents of the Masonville area have roots that run very deep.  Members of the Milnor family has been in the area since the late 1800s. bikes masonville

Each year tourists from all over the world visit Masonville too. I have met people from England, Scotland and Australia while hanging out in Masonville!

Architecture – The Mercantile and the Hotel (now privately owned) were originally built closer to Buckhorn creek, but later moved to where they currently are. The store has been added onto over the years. But the authenticity of the wild west remains. Across from the store, is a small outdoor chapel and ‘wild west town’. Much of it was built with reclaimed lumber from original buildings to the area.   Read here for some history on the Masonville store.  Down the street, the old school is still there and has been turned into a private residence, as has the hotel.

History- Named for James R Mason, Masonville itself  was originally platted in the 1890’s, masonville-school3though there were already families living in the area at that time.  The Kitchens, Milner’s and Sheldon’s to name but a few. – The local history is rich with stories of cattle rustlers and mountain men, pioneers and tourists.  And the life story of Cal Carter, Masonville’s last goldcal-carter-mine1 miner is quite extraordinary.

Customs- Where to start?? Many years ago the mercantile hosted the Masonville Mercantile Ball at the holidays.  I am not sure if they still do, as we have been gone from the area a few years now and I have only been back in the summers.

But I do know that Masonville plays host to a number of Steam Punk, Wedding, SASS, bike runs, Sunday-go-to-meeting, BBQs, Farmers markets and more.

These are a continuance of the customs from olden days when people congregated at the local store for fellowship, to hear the news and get entertainment.

Stay tuned for more Kate’s 8 towns!

~Katy~

Katy is a speaker for  rural and small communities and small business as well as a columnist for AgWeek.   www.taitandkate.com for more information

 

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Roadside kitch- It gets me everytime

What can I say- I like cheese. The cheesier, the better. I am a sucker for it every time.  Especially the ones that you have your head in the picture.   Leaping tall fences, cutting off traffic, abruptly stopping the car… I am guilty of all.

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Masonville, CO

Thankfully my sons were always game for another stop on our adventures.

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Terry Bison Ranch, WYO

 

I think my love of Roadside Kitch began in the early ’70s with a long trip to the east coast and my first sighting of an oversized Bobs BigBoy! Or maybe it was Burma Shave that grabbed me  with their signs…”The monkey took one look at Jim and threw the peanut back at him“(Dixon, CA)

Roadside attractions became wildly popular all over the US in the 1930s when we began to “See the USA in our Chevrolets” and continued well into the 60s. – They were to grab your attention and get you off the road and into town.

dinosaur-murdo

Man walking Dinosaur   Murdo,SD

The general intent was that if they got you to stop to see the worlds biggest ball of twine, then you’d probably stay for dinner, get gas  (think “eat at Stuckey’s and get gas”) and maybe even stay the night or do a little shopping.

 

The idea is still the same today, except most roadside attractions are now in predominately rural areas.

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And I still stop at them. I doubt I will ever be too old to enjoy the novelty of roadside attractions.

~Katy~

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to town….. Now GO HOME!

Welcome to our town … NOW GO HOME?

Ever felt this way when visiting or thinking about relocating to a new rural community???

no outs“You’re not the first, nor will you be the last…

Small towns are not all sunshine and rainbows ~  there is a darker side.

Don’t get me wrong…. We WANT to LOVE the town we chose to live in or near.  We WANT to be a PART of the community. We WANT to grow old here and feel welcome. But really – how do you think we feel when we hear:

“We don’t need your kind of help!”

What kind, exactly, would that be? Can you be more specific than just a general shunning?

It takes people who are thinking of the future of their community and the impacts on its current residents as a whole, to embrace and welcome with open arms the “new” people.

“We” don’t expect you to become our BFFs or to involve us in every aspect of your life. But a simple “hello” at the gas station or a “How ya doing?” or “Can you help?” once in a while goes a long way to help new people become part of the community. Blatant silence when you’re standing 3 feet from us is poor manners, no matter where you live.

And I have lived all over the United States — much of it in smaller communities or very rural areas.  Many have been very welcoming of “outsiders,” some not so much.

I was recently in a sparsely populated town that desperately needs any new people it can get.  I was chatting with the economic development person – ED for short — and she relayed this story:

ED: “Did you deliver that WELCOME basket to XYZ family yet?”

Welcoming committee: “WHY should we?? They’re not going to stay anyway.”

Holy smokes! What??? Really???? 

This community was in the national news for its “unwelcome-ness” (read about it here: http://bismarcktribune.com/news/opinion/mailbag/small-towns-are-not-welcoming/article ; more links to this story at the bottom of the page).

I know this community. It directly mirrors my experience in the central part of the state.

Love us or hates us… play nice. Our kids are in the schools and we shop and eat here! WeFF2085-D-2 pay taxes that help keep social services in place – important services like ambulance and fire. We volunteer – at least we try to, when allowed — for events and clubs. We belong to the churches.  And when something bad happens, we are here for you.

Even so, would you believe several upstanding long-time residents have asked me:

If “hubb’s” passed away, you’d sell everything and move, right?”

Welcome to our town … NOW GO HOME. Ugh!

Another well-intentioned but unproductive statement came from the ED of a town in the center of the state:

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this is the message ‘outsiders’ get loud and clear.

We will never allow another business that competes in any way with XYZ — they are our biggest tax base. ”

 

I have seen it time and again, and it’s not easy for us either. Many of us offer to “divorce” or force the “local” to move away again. We withhold our monies from the community, quit volunteering, close businesses, or choose to not start them at all. Our attitudes and frustrations transfer to our children, making them less engaged in the town and far less likely to ever return. That’s a loss not just for us personally, but also for the community at large.

Many people who relocate or return to small towns come because they have some sort of ties. Others come looking for a quieter lifestyle or a new start.

Whatever the reason — remember that YOUR” town was NOT settled only by people who exclusively knew each other. Its original settlers tried to make it welcoming and accepting, and to help it grow and prosper.

We need to keep that pioneer spirit alive – for our own good and for the good of our communities.

~Katy~

Additional links: http://bismarcktribune.com/news/columnists/julie-fedorchak/how-welcoming-are-we/article_4f27a470-20b9-11df-ae85-001cc4c03286.html

http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/florida-family-gives-up-on-small-town-north-dakota/article_cc28bcda-1a87-11df-8d88-001cc4c03286.html

Katy is a writer and speaker with Tait & Kate ( http://www.taitandkate.com ) –   She believes in the good, and knows the bad and the ugly of small and rural community living and business and feels it’s important to share ALL the stories.  Tait & Kate will bring affordable solutions, fresh ideas, enthusiasm and a smidge of irreverent humor to your town or business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Shop local’ is not an entitlement!

The “Shop Local” movement is wonderful.  It has done so much and brought tons of awareness and added sales for so many businesses and communities, especially small & rural towns.

Having lived and traveled all over this great big United States, I have spent  much time in very small towns. Over the years- long before “shop local” and “shop small” became catch phrases, I noticed that a considerable amount of shop owners seem to think they are entitled to your business.

As a business owner, in any size community, it is your prerogative to ignore customers, treat them badly or carry shoddy merchandise.  You have choices. But when you do choose to treat your customers badly you have no right to expect them to patronize your business.

   Did you know it only takes a customer 7 seconds to form an opinion of your business??

Do not make the mistake that just because you may be the only such-and-such in xyz town, that the good folks have to shop with you.

    ~Nothing could be further from the truth~

UPS, FedX, USPS are our friends  along with Amazon, EBay & Etsy and a whole host of other options that are Not YOU.  There are neighboring towns or we may just chose to save our purchase for the next trip to the city and spend ALL of our dollars there.

People are not obligated to shop with you just because you have a business. You have to earn it.

But if you are friendly and helpful, even when you don’t have what we need, we will remember and patronize you regularly.

Try to remember that even in a small town, the people who live there do not owe you a living. It’s up to you to make us want to shop there. You have to earn it. And it will repay you ten-fold.

~Katy~

 

K-8, K-eight, Kate, Kate the Great

Okay- it’s really more like the Kansas Sampler, but that doesn’t have the same ring as ‘Kate the Great’ does it?  logo

  “Kate’s 8” will actually  be a regular feature on the towns I visit and what I see as their “8”

According to the Kansas Sampler Foundation, there are eight things every community has. No matter their size, large or small, they can all drum up their eight with a little creativity.

Once you identify your eight, begin building on them and see how many ways you get people to come to your town!

The eight are:

Art, Architecture, Geography, Commerce, People, History, Customs & Cuisine

IMG_7363How do YOU define each in your community??  Is your Art murals? Is it sculpture? Is it the garden layed out in the design of the Queen of England? -Use your imagination

Even if it’s only the Avon lady… it’s still commerce! And it counts. It’s a start. And obviously somebody believes.

What is your history? Do you have a museum? The only stone jail in the state? When was your community settled? A long tradition of ‘old school’ music?   100_0219Find your own version of history and use it.

Cuisine is everything from Sunday church picnics to that fabulous smoked ham the neighbor makes. Maybe someone makes the best pies this side of the Mississippi. Maybe you have the BBQ joint.

People are everyone. You have people. That’s a start!   Tell stories about them. Celebrate376935_3912363420016_771502863_n them!

Customs can be anything from the yearly Church Social to the community Christmas Tree. It can be past customs. (that way it can also double up as history) Did your town used to have something? Do you celebrate Ukrainian Easter or other ethnic holidays? What do you have?

Architecture– I love architecture. All Kinds! Old buildings (especially with vintage or art deco designs or signs… Oh, hey! That’s also Art!! Bonus!) , 2014-05-18 11.20.40new buildings, churches, schools, barns, out houses etc… What do YOU have?

IMG_6944Geography is  everything from the sweeping vistas of the prairies to the woodlands and in between.  Every place has geography. Rivers, lakes, mountains and so on.

So, go on! Be creative. Involve everyone. Ask around. You’ll be amazed at how differently each person views ‘the eight’

“Kate’s 8”  will be ongoing features of the “K-8” that I find in the towns I visit.

What’s in your town?

~Katy~

Need a speaker? Call us! We give talks on rural and small communities and business and how they can grow using just what is at hand as well as showcasing fabulous ideas that other towns have embraced and turned into huge wins.  www.taitandkate.com  We can also show you ways to get the C.A.V.E (citizens against virtually everything) people on board too.

 

 

 

Let the kids have a seat at the big table! (Reasons to have teenagers on board)

There are a multitude of reasons WHY a community should have teenagers participating on the boards and councils. ~ But I will limit my self to just a few!

1) According to a University of Nebraska national survey of rural youths, 50% (that’s right folks! FIFTY PERCENT) WANT to return to their communities in the future.

That’s a fabulous number! Now what are YOU going to do with that information?

     What is your community to have to offer these returning ‘youngsters’ down the road?

RuralXTrio

Dylan, myself & Camden at the RuralX Summit

 

Jobs? Things to do? Places to hang out? Wi-Fi hot spots? Entertainment for new families? Buildings to start businesses in?

I would bet if you asked these youngsters what they would want to have, you would be surprised by their answers. If you let them, they will help you carve a new future for your community.

I met two extraordinary young men at the RuralX  conference in Aberdeen a couple weeks ago. They were the youngest attendees at 16 & 17 years old.  Both want to “come home” to Miller SD when they are done with school. Both want to open businesses.  Both want to be able to express their ideas now to council and desire to be a part later. They want  to listen  us and for us to listen to them.   Luckily, they live in a rural community that embraces young and old alike!

2) A vested interest in the community makes a difference. Most of the time it seems that my father’s community_gardengeneration is the last to truly be a vested part of a community at a young age.  Really think about that. For hundreds of years, people were expected to shoulder adult responsibilities and participate in community events at a young age.

When and Why did we stop expecting our children to be a part??

When these youth feel valued and a part of the community, they are more likely to participate and volunteer. They will readily step up and lead the charge for whatever task is at hand.

(I could name a number of communities where the youth are put on ignore. It doesn’t bode well for those particular towns future.)

You could coordinate with the school so these youth get credit for attending meetings and so on.

I believe this is doubly important in rural communities. Without a large population to draw from, we need to build from within.  Let them participate, share ideas and be a part.

Everybody wins.

3) Trust ~ Pretty simple, huh?

teenLet me give you an example;  You trust the local teenagers to be LIFEGUARDS at the pool, responsible for your children.  You have faith in their judgement that they will save a drowning child.

So why would you not trust their opinions or ideas?

Sure! Some of their ideas may be far fetched to us. But I am sure some  of ours were just as far fetched to our ‘elders’. But without the dreams and forward thinking and enthusiasim, rural communities will wither away.

So put a little trust in these kids and give them a seat at the big table.

Together we can make our communities better for all.

~Katy~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A tale of 3 cities….My first adventure in small town advocacy

Okay- so maybe not quite “cities”…. Cope, Anton and Idalia  are technically listed as OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“villages”

I happened to land in Cope in a quirky twist of fate… You see, many years ago, we bought acope4 001 café sight unseen on a handshake at a football game in Denver. That’s another story.

Cope had a population of 97. We helped grow it to 101.

Now, if you’ve ever lived in a very small rural community, you KNOW that revenue is hard to generate and so is entertainment.

We had the bright idea of starting “Café Racing”one summer.  We had a little go- cart, and cope4 001so did another family in Anton (pop 20) and another in Idalia (pop 115 +/- at the time)

So, we decided that to drum up business for each café in our towns,we would race around the café in Cope one weekend, and the other towns the following weeks… and then repeat.  ~you could call it ‘Redneck Revenue’~

It only lasted a few months, but it was fun and did what it was supposed to do.

~Yes~ our little homemade go carts were wildly unsafe… kids strapped in with old back braces screwed to plywood and borrowed bike helmets…. But we all made it safely  and the kids still talk about that summer.

Café Racing  was a lesson in cooperation and collaboration with other towns. It was the start of “could be’s” Which led to other adventures….and bright ideas

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Part of the “Toasties” café crew ~ Carmen, Dale, Jens & me

 

Now I am using over 25 years of gained knowledge to help others get things started in their communities and learn to connect with neighboring towns.

~Katy~

 

5 things Salesmanship is- a sell is a sell part 4

When most people hear the word Salesmanship, they immediately associate it with that pushy salesman at the department store or car lot.

~That couldn’t be further from the truth~

Here are 5 things that Salesmanship is:

Salesmanship is “the art of enticing someone to buy, see or do what it is you are offering”  It doesn’t matter what you are doing, or what you are selling.  And it is indeed an art form.

Salesmanship is “sharing information and not being afraid to direct a customer to another store if you can not help them”. (more on this subject in another post)

Helping-Customer-620x480Salesmanship is more than knowing just what you carry in your store. It is also “knowing what the other stores have (not just the competition), and things to see and do in your area.

** Many years ago, when I was still in my teens, a wise woman told me that the more I knew  about what ‘we’ had and ways our customers could spend their time nearby, the more money I could earn on repeat business. **

HOW RIGHT SHE WAS!!

Salesmanship is “building relationships”  You don’t need to become best friends with your customers, but simply remembering (or keeping a cheat sheet) a name, or the fact that they golf, have kids etc… gives you a reason to give them a call and  remind them to return  “I remember you saying your son would be getting his license soon, Shall I start looking for a good used car for you?”  or at the market… “Hi John! How’s that swing coming? Why don’t you pop by the pro shop and we’ll try some new drivers”  ….”I heard you love waterskiing~ did you know there’s a great lake just right up the road?”

*People remember that you took the time to remember something about them no matter how trivial* and they WILL return to places where they feel wanted and welcome.

Salesmanship is “being awesome at the art of the subtle upsell”.  You don’t have to go over board. Simple statements work well.  In a small community market- remind your customers on Saturday afternoon that you are closed on Sunday and to get what ever theytumblr_nxrhq38DPX1rr65iwo1_1280 think they may need for Sunday BBQ.   At the department store- Instead of “you should get a tie to go with that shirt” try  “we have some new ties that would be very dashing with that shirt you picked out”

We’ll throw in a bonus here~

Salesmanship is “being a teacher”  a  part of salesmanship is educating the customer on your product or region (or whatever it is you have to Buy, See or Do)

 Do what you do so well, that they will want to see it again and bring their friends  ~Walt Disney~

Katy

Read more:  A sell is a sell. Period, ,  A sell is a sell – part 2  and

A sell is a sell -part 3 Looks matter

Read the rest of this entry

What do a seamtress and a coffee roaster have in common?

Community.

That’s what a seamstress/creative and a world class coffee roaster have in common.

“When people talk, community happens”Becky McCray

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Me and Jo

(And let me tell you…. Jo and I can TALK!!)

We are a community. A community of entrepreneurs. A community of women. A community of small town advocates. A community of creatives . A community of givers and do-ers~It only takes two to be part of a ‘community’

~The funny thing about our “community” is that we don’t even live in the same town. Not even the same part of the state!~

I met Jo Kahlifa , at a local Pride of Dakota event a number of years ago. We instantly became friends and have since done a number of exciting things jointly both personally and with our businesses. ( check out MoJo Roast and read about her and the coffees)

IMG_4902The fact that we are a “community”  was driven home this past week when we attended an OTA conference. (NorthDakOTA,MinnesOTA,SouthDakOTA)  Part of the purpose was to bring together creatives from towns across a tri-state area to help transform where we live into great , re-envisioned communities. Places where people once again gather and talk to each other instead of about each other. Communities where roots are put down and dreams are realized.

Community matters. In so many ways. And Community is not always where you live. Often it is what you do.

~Katy~

 

 

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