Lots of people have been saying lots of nice things about us lately. Mmmm. I <heart> that so very much.
And then after the nice things that are said about us, another question will sometimes be asked:
And it’s not asked with curiosity. It’s asked with a leeeetle bit of flat-out disbelief.
Some of you who read this blog are currently from the area (or surrounding areas), some of you have friends/family who used to live in small towns or currently live in small towns and you have a fondness for them. Some of you used to live in a small town and now feel nostalgic. Some of you never have and have a bit of a romance with the idea. All of these are fine. Because you, you fine folks who read this blog, probably would not ask that question. The question of “why?” But it gets asked a lot.
Why in this little tiny place would anyone want to open a store like The Butter Churn?
We gotta talk about this. It’s important.
Not too long ago Cameron, Illinois was hit with a devastating tornado.
Turns out that Cameron… Is too small to receive aid.
2 years ago I went in search of some help in opening The Butter Churn. I did A LOT of research about small towns, grocery stores, grant money, food deserts, etc… Then I found a program in Illinois that was supposed to be for small towns to have access to fresh foods! OMG! I about peed my pants with excitement!
But it’s only for towns that are bigger and for established grocers (like SaveMart or HyVee or Aldi’s – stores that wouldn’t come to a little town like Woodhull, because it’s…. too small).
So here we are. With this elephant in the room. And it’s not the big companies. It’s us. It’s not okay that Cameron is too small to get aid. And it’s not okay that small towns who really are small towns aren’t big enough to actually get the businesses that would benefit them.
Everytime that someone says “Woodhull? Why Woodhull?” I wonder What are they really asking? Or saying? That Woodhull doesn’t deserve to have access to a grocery store in their downtown? Or won’t see the value? Or doesn’t… deserve nice things?
The answer should be “Why not Woodhull?”
We’ve done our part. We have a clean store. We have good, quality food. It’s not a boutique and it’s not convenience store expensive. It’s not Wal-Mart cheap – but frankly – that’s a whole different conversation. You can walk into The Butter Churn and feed you and feed your family.
So when people shake their heads and say things like “Good luck. You’ll need it” I wonder who needs the luck? Do they not have faith in the folks that live there?
It’s time to ask those questions.
Because seriously. Why not? But it has to start with us. And now. I don’t want to hear this anymore, because EVERY ONE in a small town, big town, whatever – deserves aid. Deserves to have food that is accessible. And not substandard anything.