In my four years living in the Kirksville community, I have seen a lot of growth. The city has welcomed Hobby Lobby, Menards and, most recently, Gordmans since I’ve been here. While I can’t pretend like I wasn’t excited, a part of me feels a little disappointed to know that people tend to sway toward the big box stores.
The truth is everyone gets excited when large stores arrive in a small town, but I think we allow such things to overshadow the small, local businesses we already have. In addition to seeing these new builds, I have also witnessed the heartbreaks that come when businesses must close their doors.
It’s not only the cursed building on the corner of Normal and Baltimore, but it also includes the small businesses around The Square. Many have come and gone, and while I know it’s not the big box stores to blame, I can’t help but wonder if we have in some way let these families down.
I’m not going to sit here and diss the big stores because I think they’re valuable to many of us. Truthfully, I’m a regular at Hy-Vee and my husband works at The Home Depot, but I also know there’s value in the local shops and restaurants scattered across Kirksville.
For example, there’s nothing quite like finding the one-of-a-kind trinket in the thrift store or antique shop, and that’s something you can’t necessarily say when going to one of these larger stores. Additionally, it’s a pretty neat feeling when you realize the money you’re using is going to a family that is invested in this community.
It’s not just the antique shops, though. I strongly encourage anyone in the community to take a stroll through The Square and see what new places you can find. Starting in May, there’s a Kirksville Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning until noon, and it’s a great opportunity to invest yourself in others and the local businesses. Throughout the summer you can see crafters, farmers and even top-notch bakers sharing a piece of themselves.
I know it’s hard when there’s a level of convenience to the grander stores that seem to have everything or the fast food restaurant that speedily serves you, but don’t discount the worth of slowing down from time to time.