Saturday, October 24, 2015

Take Me Home, Country Road

This is day 24 in my 31 Days series on sustainable dwelling. For an introduction and more posts, head here!

My passion for supporting brick-and-mortar businesses sprang primarily from living (and working) in Northwest Arkansas, nestled in the Ozark mountains and filled with artists and artisans of all types. So going to funky Fayetteville to visit family also means a chance to reconnect with shops and shop owners that I've been keeping up with via Instagram.

Not that some don't take orders over the phone (there was this shirt, see, that I'd wanted all summer, and then they posted a pic of it on the sale rack last week and there was only one left in my size...) The Mustache (and their sister home-goods store, The Anchor) are some of my favorites to visit/cyber stalk - Mr Mustache's enthusiasm was contagious when I met him at the Fayetteville Welcome Center years ago, and it spread to his shop a few doors down.

The bear is kind of a thing

Those artists I mentioned? Jason Jones has done at least two murals - there are also sundry electrical boxes and storm drains that have beautified by local artists. The storm drain project is to remind people that litter goes straight into the nearest creek - the electrical boxes are just pretty. Brooklyn says we're visiting "Fable," and there is a certain storybook charm to be found amongst the hills and valleys.

clockwise from the top: pistachio, raspberry, chai tea

There are also artists of another sort - people who turn simple things into miniature masterpieces. Alchemy is my new favorite stop - since all they have is tea and macarons, and macarons are naturally gluten free, I can try any flavor that catches my eye. Which, so far, has been all of them - I'm a visual eater, and they have visual appeal down. Even flavors that (to me) sound odd look so delicious that I want to try them.

I still kind of consider Dayspring to be a "local business," since they're located in the area (as is their outlet store...) I'd been eyeing this gem on their website for awhile and was delighted to find it at the outlet while there on an unrelated mission (which was also successful). I also know (because I asked, because I'm like that) that they have a high standard of manufacturing ethics (which, sadly, cannot be said for all "Christian" companies), which makes me glad to support them, knowing that their overt partnerships with companies like Joyn and Village Artisan aren't covering less family-friendly methods used for their other products.

Not that Little Rock doesn't have some great local businesses too - but I've invested in Fayetteville in a way that I haven't had a chance to here yet; exploring, interviewing, frequenting, photographing, working with... There's a sense of home that's deeper than Where My Family Lives - it comes from being with my own peculiar sub-culture that I've only ever found in one other place - and it's a sense that always draws me back.

I'm always on the lookout for great local businesses, wherever I go - my travels (such as they've been) have shown me that brick-and-mortar businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and they all have their own wonderful story.

No comments: