Sunday, December 6, 2015

General Store

Now that the County Council has voted to allocate $50,000.00 of the County's surplus to a study of the Oakland Mills Village Center, I guess we will be soliciting opinions from the community. You know how I feel about a multi-million dollar sports complex that displaces OM residents. It's disgraceful.

But yesterday I had an experience on a Saturday morning that made me wish...

I stopped by to visit my husband's high school club who were having a bake sale at Kendall Hardware. Now I am already familiar with Kendall Hardware from my years of running out that way to teach at Pointers Run. It is a true mom and pop operation with personal service and they have always had what I wanted. They truly have some of everything.

And they are just so good at making space for other businesses which the community enjoys, like the Snowball stand in the summer, fresh produce, too. At Christmas time you can buy your tree there. But I had never been there on a Saturday morning before.

Let's see. There were my husband's students having a bake sale. There was an older gentleman there promoting his book about railroad history. (Signing it, too!) And there was a waffle truck. The joint was jumping. And then it was time for Santa to come so folks could have their pictures taken with their pets.

This place is The Center of Town. Long ago, a town's General Store boasted much of the same: a little bit of everything, a space where you were bound to see your neighbors, personal service. If Kendall Hardware is still offering free popcorn, well, isn't that the modern day equivalent of the cracker barrel at the General Store?

I wish that we had something like that in the Oakland Mills Village Center. Obviously we don't have a space available to fit a Kendall Hardware. And the rent charged for Columbia Village Center retail is exorbitant. But what I would give for a business that offered a little bit of everything, with community involvement and a sense of place thrown in.

Too bad we can't have a place like that by day and Second Chance by night. That would cover all the bases.


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