As I reflect on the past thirty years here in Rockford, I marvel at the way I and my family have
Back in 1979, interest rates were high at 18 percent and more. Every store front in town was full. Barb Stein was already here at the same location (Great Northern Trading) and Baskets in the Belfry was upstairs in the old barn mall. The Hotdog Hall of Fame was known far and wide. The Barn Mall was in front of Great Northern Trading, and leaned to the north. Many thought it would fall over any day.
People, old people, would come on busses and complain about high prices. Why, coffee had reached 25 cents a cup in some places!
Hundreds of businesses have come and gone in these past thirty years. The Cookery Nook, O’Fudge and the Outdoor Cook all became part of our store.
People still complain about high prices, especially old people. Young people like to point out their sophistication and let us know how things are done on the West Coast.
My oldest sons, Jeff and Doug, were in high school, and have worked with Sharon and myself from opening day. Heidi was in junior high and Bryan was starting second grade. All are now married and still are able to make a living at our store.
The other day, a sophisticated lady complained that Heidi’s six-year-old daughter was behind the counter. Well, all of our grandchildren have grown up with our business. Andy, the oldest, works full time. Michael and Ashley work part-time while in school.
All of my business life, I have dreamed about a farmstead location. To have been given this is not a reward from hard work, but a blessing from our Lord.
Now, to the point, it is not buildings, it is what goes on in buildings. People must be able to serve and produce things, thereby making a living. It’s business that makes a location, not the other way around.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love history. When it’s possible to make use of old buildings, it helps preserve some of our history. However, if we go back to the beginning of Rockford, and all insisted that things remain the same, there still would be tepees on the banks of the Rogue, not houses.
History and the arts and talents should be cherished and preserved. A strong, vibrant community grows and prospers by the knowledge and lessons of the past.
Rockford has more artists, musical talent and history worth preserving than any town our size anywhere. Let’s put our energy, talent and money into a proper museum and cultural center. I strongly believe the financial rewards would be far greater than any other investments we could make.
Believe me, it in not better somewhere else. Let’s preserve it, showcase it and share it.