The search for better broadband should start with existing local providers

NEW NTCA logo 4CRural connections

By Shirley Bloomfield, CEO
NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association

There is no question that broadband Internet service is the key to economic and community development, especially in rural America. However, there are differing opinions in Washington about the best way to continue building our nation’s connected infrastructure.

While I applaud President Obama’s recent attention on increasing every American’s access to robust and affordable broadband, it’s not clear that his focus on creating more government-run networks in marketplaces where private operators already exist is the best path toward bringing more jobs and opportunity to rural America.

If our leaders are looking for an excellent model for what can be accomplished, we believe they should turn to the experts who have decades of experience deploying and maintaining modern telecommunications infrastructure: community-based, independent telcos like yours.

Rural telecommunications providers are delivering advanced technology to their customers.

Rural telecommunications providers are delivering advanced technology to their customers.

Nationwide, there are over 1,000 technology providers like yours that serve over 4 million households in the most sparsely populated pockets of our country, deploying high-speed, high-quality broadband services. For decades, these providers have gone above and beyond to build the infrastructure that allows our country’s most rural markets to access the same technologies found in our largest cities — and they’ve done it all under the extremely difficult financial and physical conditions that come with deploying technologies in rural and remote communities.

Thanks to the hard work and commitment of companies such as your local provider, rural America now has access to affordable broadband in some of the most remote locations. But the sustainability of those networks is at risk, and other areas need broadband as well. Policymakers in search of answers to these communications challenges in rural America should turn first to those who have shown they can get the job done time and again, rather than casting about for the next new thing, creating regulatory uncertainty and putting at risk significant investments already made in existing networks through the prospect of redundant or wasteful overbuilding.

There’s already a great broadband success story out there in rural America, and it is being written by community-based telecom providers like yours. As our national broadband story progresses, we should strive to build upon proven initiatives and leverage existing efforts that are working, rather than pursue new uncharted pathways. As this debate plays out, you can be assured that you have a voice in Washington, as your provider joins with hundreds of others through NTCA as the unified voice of America’s rural broadband companies.

Monthly grocery giveaway

Pie Valley Grocery is an independent community grocery store, located at 5063 Main Drive. Since opening in May 2014, Pie Valley has been operated by J.P. and Tina Rogers of New Hope as a combination convenience store and grocery market. “Anyone that’s interested in saving money can shop here,” Rogers says. Customers can save between 20 and 80 percent on name-brand foods, and there are no membership fees. The store will now be giving $50 of groceries to one lucky customer during a drawing at the end of each month. See Pie Valley Grocery for more details.

Landline? You still need one in 2015

Today, mobility means everything. We want to check email, log onto Facebook, watch videos, get the news and generally stay connected no matter where we are. And that, of course, includes the ability to make phone calls. With mobile phones in practically everyone’s pocket, some people question the need for a traditional landline. But consider this:

  1. With a landline, you never have to worry about signal strength. Knowing you can get a call through, especially during an emergency, is more than a comfort.
  2. Speaking of emergencies, your landline sends your complete address information — including apartment number — when you dial 911. Cell phones use GPS-based information, which can be inaccurate.
  3. The clarity of a conversation on a landline (if you have a quality wired or cordless handset) is unmatched by any cell phone call.
  4. With the right plan, you’ll never run out of minutes with a landline.
  5. Your “home phone number” provides a way people can always reach you or leave a message. When everyone in the house has their own cell phone with separate numbers, the landline can serve as a central point of contact for the entire family.

Calling all quilters

The 2nd Annual “Quilts Then and Now” show will take place on April 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is $5, and the event is sponsored by the New Hope Friends of the Library. It will take place at three sites: Elizabeth Carpenter Public Library of New Hope, New Hope United Methodist Church and the Northern Lodge. For more information, search Facebook for Quilts Then and Now: New Hope’s Annual Quilt Show.

 

You’ve got mail

With so many new apps and services to help keep us connected, email is still king in the business world

TelcoBadgeProof2From instant messaging applications such as Skype to social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, the past few years have brought us many new options for connecting electronically. And yet, when it comes to communicating in business, email remains the method of choice.

In the report “Technology’s Impact on Workers,” released by Pew Research Center at the end of last year, 61 percent of workers who use the Internet say that email is very important to doing their job.

“The high value of email comes despite the challenges of the past generation,” the report states, “including threats like spam and phishing and competitors like social media and texting.”

Email’s continued reign as the communications tool of choice has its benefits. The study found that 39 percent of workers believe that email, along with the Internet and cell phones, allows them more flexibility in the hours they work.

The downside to that flexibility, however, is that 35 percent — almost the same amount — say these tools have increased the amount of time they spend working.

BBB chart

Turnaround

The unexpected championship season

By Matt Ledger

For a few crucial seconds, the 2014 New Hope Indians, longtime underdogs of the Tennessee Valley Football League, looked liked their old selves again.

Coach Rodney McGehee congratulates the Indians youth football team after winning their league championship.

Coach Rodney McGehee congratulates the Indians youth football team after winning their league championship.

They were in overtime of their championship game on the 3-yard line and trying for a go-ahead extra point. In the excitement and the pressure of the moment, the center snapped early as quarterback Kolton Acklin yelled “Down!” instead of “Hut.” The pigskin bounced on the ground, coming to rest by pint-sized passer’s feet, with the offensive line still standing in a state of confusion. The opposing Hartselle Tigers defense crashed the line, and the defensive ends charged towards the quarterback as Acklin grabbed the ball from the turf.

“It was our worst play and the worst we have played all year,” defensive line coach Teron Prince says.

The Hartselle squad had already found the end zone in overtime, for a go-ahead score of 19-13, but failed to convert the extra point. The Indians answered back with their own overtime touchdown, tying the score, and coaches had called for a run up the middle for the extra point before the failed snap.

In years past, the game probably would have ended then and there. A few years back, New Hope went two years without winning a game, or even scoring a single point. In 2013, it took six games before the players reached the end zone.

But 2014 was a miraculous kind of year for the Indians, and on that November night, they had one more miracle left. The quarterback managed to curl left out of the chaos, sprinting away from the tacklers and darting into the end zone for the win.

A test of commitment

New Hope’s Kolton Acklin made several quarterback sneaks during their championship win, but the overtime game-winning play was an improvised scramble and a surprise to his teammates.

New Hope’s Kolton Acklin made several quarterback sneaks during their championship win, but the overtime game-winning play was an improvised scramble and a surprise to his teammates.

Losing can reveal character deficiencies or it can build a commitment to try even harder next time. New Hope is a young 3A team, with 7- and 8-year-olds playing a difficult schedule. All opponents were in higher conference classifications with twice the number of players as New Hope. “It’s so hard to beat those big districts,” offensive line coach Rodney McGehee says.

Team members may have felt defeated on the field after 2012 and 2013, but they never let that deter their spirit, and the vast majority of those players returned again in 2014. “Our goal was to win half of our games this year,” Prince says. “Last year, we got a penalty after our first touchdown because we went out there on the field and were hugging the kids.” While the coaches were flagged, a few of the parents were brought to tears upon seeing their kids finally replace the 0 on the scoreboard.

The Indians lacked the speed of other teams, which meant they had to rely on charging up the middle instead of sprinting around the corner to the sidelines like many of their opponents. From July 21 through early November, coaches scheduled three practices a week in addition to the games on Saturdays.

“We made up our mind that we needed to be as tough on those kids as we possibly could to get them ready,” Prince says. “But we had two years’ worth of coaching mistakes to learn from.” Seven of the Indians played offense and defense — not missing a single play for three entire seasons. Coaches rotated nearly all players’ positions to provide new challenges and discover who excelled as the season progressed. “We preached to give 100 percent, no matter what position we had to put them,” McGehee says. “We were in better shape going into the fourth quarter than any other team.” The Indians put in the effort, finishing their eight-game regular season in fifth place of the twelve teams.

A season beyond expectations

The Indians’ first offensive possession of 2014 took more than six minutes of the first quarter to reach the end zone. But this Cinderella season didn’t occur without several challenges, in addition to that frenzied final play of the season. The first loss of the season occurred in Decatur, during their fourth game. After being down  18-0 at halftime, the Indians rallied in the third quarter, scoring 12 points in the first four minutes. Players showed their potential, but could not crawl out of the first-half hole they had dug for themselves. “They never got down on themselves the entire season,” McGehee says.

The New Hope Indians brought an intense focus during their successful playoff run.

The New Hope Indians brought an intense focus during their successful playoff run.

An 18-7 loss against the Monrovia Panthers became a pivotal turning point for the squad. “That was where the team turned it on, and where they made up their minds that they weren’t going to allow that to happen again,” Prince says.

Despite their 5th-place finish, the New Hope boys hit their stride in the postseason, beginning to peak during the third round of the playoffs against first-place Decatur. The play of the game belonged to Nathan Adcock. From the opposite side of the field, he sprinted to make a touchdown-saving tackle on the 2-yard line, stopping a 60-plus yard Decatur gain. The play gave the Indians momentum, and Decatur fumbled the next handoff. The Indians took the ball to their end zone on the following play.

All New Hope coaches had several sleepless nights prior to their next game, a fourth-round playoff clash against that same Monrovia Panther team, with a chance at the championship game on the line. The Indians gave their best performance of the year to beat Monrovia, 19-13, — one of two playoff victories against teams they had lost to during the regular season. “After they had beaten the best team in the league, they knew there were no excuses and the championship was theirs, if they wanted it,” Prince says.

The Indians team and coaching staff gather for a celebratory photo on the field after the game. New Hope Indians Coaching staff (above from left) head coach Rodney McGehee and assistant coaches; Mike Acklin, Mario Duster, Jamey Gordon and Teron Prince.

The Indians team and coaching staff gather for a celebratory photo on the field after the game.
New Hope Indians Coaching staff (above from left) head coach Rodney McGehee and assistant coaches; Mike Acklin, Mario Duster, Jamey Gordon and Teron Prince.

The second meeting with 6A Hartselle Tigers was for the league championship at Madison County High School on Nov. 8. Well before kickoff, the game turned into one of the community’s biggest football events anyone could remember. Decorated vehicles streamed into the parking lot and began tailgating at 9:30 a.m. with fans munching on beans, cheese dips and cookie cakes two hours before the kickoff. Fans young and old — many of whom didn’t have a child on the team — brought homemade shakers and airhorns to cheer on the Indians.

A glimmer of the old Indians appeared on the opening kickoff when New Hope fumbled the ball before they could run their first offensive play. But the team quickly rallied and got the ball back via an interception two plays later, before driving down the field for their first touchdown. For much of the season, the Indians’ best efforts came when they trailed, finding confidence to reverse opponents’ momentum as the game wore on.

“We just prepared the same way that we did all year,” McGehee says. “This year, they just believed in themselves, in each other, and that they were as good as any other team.” The championship victory ended a playoff drought that dates back at least a few decades. In the days and weeks that followed, players and parents exchanged high-fives during grocery shopping trips, and the experience will be a lifetime memory for all involved.

On Dec. 30, the Indians gathered in Nashville for a pregame recognition ceremony at the Music City Bowl. They stayed to watch as Notre Dame beat the LSU Tigers.“I am so proud of every one of them,” McGehee says. “Looking back at it all, a few years from now, the kids will then realize what a big deal this really was.”

Photos by Rick Finch, minister at New Hope Church of Christ

Email overload? Manage your inbox with these simple tips

With so much importance placed on email in today’s business world, managing your messages can be overwhelming. You can benefit from this communications tool without letting it wreck your day by putting a few simple principles into action.

Set an email schedule. If you make yourself available for email all day long, you leave yourself open to constant distraction. Set a schedule of specific times during the day when you will check email. You may have to adjust it to find the schedule that’s right for you, but try starting with once before lunch and again early afternoon. You will feel more freedom than when you are drawn in by every email that lands in your inbox.

Turn off notifications. You can’t stay focused on any one task if your computer provides a pop-up notification every time an email comes in. Turn off that productivity-killing feature. In fact, shut down your email app altogether and only launch it when you are ready to focus on email.

Organize your inbox. Most email apps allow you to set up folders, filters and rules to bring order to your email madness. It may take a few weeks of adjusting to find the approach that best fits you, but the result will be a more organized workspace. Your mail will be in intuitive categories so that you’ll be able to deal with the most important messages first.

Keep it brief. When you send an exhaustive email with hundreds of words and multiple questions and points, you invite an equally exhaustive response that you’ll have to wade through.

Consider alternatives. Email is not for every conversation. In fact, it’s a terrible way to manage a project. Post messages pertaining to a specific project inside tools such as Basecamp or Trello. Having all related conversations in the same place with related notes and action items will help you track progress.

Is email an important part of your business? Do you have any tips for managing email to work more efficiently? Tell us your story at www.BroadbandBuildsBusiness.com.

A grateful gathering

By Matt Ledger

Southern culture requires that any holiday meal, sports gathering or Sunday afternoon picnic is met with the largest meal of the week. The mere mention of cornbread dressing, black-eyed peas or a honey-glazed ham conjures the corresponding holiday. For most parties, a dozen or so people will shuffle by the slow cookers and Tupperware, filling their plate a scoop at a time.

The O’Neals decorate their home for the Easter gathering, which includes an Easter egg hunt with hundreds of colorful eggs for the children.

The O’Neals decorate their home for the Easter gathering, which includes an Easter egg hunt with hundreds of colorful eggs for the children.

However, an afternoon Easter celebration for one New Hope couple means two 12-foot rows of tables in the garage, a massive spread of colorful food creations and many … many more guests.

The O’Neals have no children of their own, but realized their yard could hold an Easter egg hunt for a handful of kids, including their two goddaughters. Debbie and Bobby O’Neal originally opened the doors of their home for acquaintances who had no plans for Easter.

In the years that followed, their circle of friends and family brought more people, and it has become the social event of the neighborhood.

Within the first few years, the event grew to nearly 40 people. Those attending enjoyed the quaint backyard atmosphere and delicious food and soon began asking if they could invite others — and the O’Neals always obliged. “We never know who is going to show up,” Debbie O’Neal says. “Every year we have at least two or three people we’ve never seen before.”

Their gathering of family and friends has occurred for 35 of the 39 years they have been married. The afternoon event is now several times larger than when it began, with 150 to 200 people attending.

A Plentiful Potluck

While the kids are geared up for the frenzied egg hunt, the home-cooked specialties on the table are likely the main draw for the adults. “We’ve never been lacking in food,” O’Neal says. “Everybody brings a dish or two and joins in the fun.” A parade of guests arrive after 1 p.m., typically carrying containers or Crock-Pots with a variety of homemade recipes.

Friends and family bring a dish or two for the potluck meal that everyone enjoys during the Easter social.

Friends and family bring a dish or two for the potluck meal that everyone enjoys during the Easter social.

O’Neal makes a coconut cake and a chocolate delight dessert that have been staples since early on. Crock-Pot dressing, Mexican cornbread and barbecue are favorites, while fried okra patties are an unusual recipe that is quite popular at the luncheon.

After the meal, the adults take turns assembling the 1,400 Easter eggs that are scattered about the property. Colorful eggs dot the grass like wildflowers, as three designated areas are used to separate the children by age. After a flurry of small feet and Easter baskets, the youngsters are shaking the eggs and finding the trinkets, gum, balloons, candy and even loose change inside.

Four years ago, O’Neal began wearing a bunny suit, created by her friend Sandy Tucker. “Now the kids know it’s time to go hunt the eggs when I come out wearing the bunny suit,” O’Neal says. She even poses for photos with the children. The afternoon activities typically continue with men engaged in a game of horseshoes as kids bump a volleyball over the net.

Over the decades, many who attended as children have continued to return as adults and are now sharing the experience with their own kids. But children aren’t the only ones wowed by the experience.

One year, the O’Neals invited an elderly German lady, Karla Crum from New Market, to the gathering. “She had never been to an Easter egg hunt before,” O’Neal says. “Karla had a blast, and it felt good to know she came to experience that with us.”

Children wander around the O’Neals’ property seeking the colorful eggs and the treasures hidden within.

Children wander around the O’Neals’ property seeking the colorful eggs and the treasures hidden within.

A nation divided: 150 years later

Relive history on a tour of these prominent Civil War battlefields

By Robert Thatcher

This year, the country will conclude its 150th anniversary remembrance of the Civil War. But don’t worry if you missed the reenactments and fanfare over the past four years. Take this trip on US Highway 41 from Kentucky through Middle Tennessee to find plenty of history while tracing pivotal battles in America’s most costly war.

Stop #1 – Fort Donelson National Battlefield
Where Ulysses Grant became a household name

Fort Donelson National Battlefield, on the banks of the Cumberland River just south of the Kentucky border, is a natural starting point for a drive through Middle Tennessee. It’s also a good beginning militarily.

Dover Hotel

Dover Hotel

“Almost everything that happened in the state is a sequel to what happened here,” says Doug Richardson, Fort Donelson’s chief of interpretation.

Rivers were arteries of commerce for the South, and the Confederates built Fort Donelson to protect the Cumberland and upstream cities like Clarksville and Nashville

But on Feb. 12, 1862, a little-known Union brigadier general named Ulysses S. Grant set his sights on Fort Donelson. He was confident of victory after his gunboats easily took nearby Fort Henry on the Tennessee River.

Donelson was not so easy. Well-positioned Confederate guns brought victory, setting up a successful “break out” through Union lines. But the victory was short-lived, as the Confederates unwittingly helped Grant by pulling troops back to their original positions. Grant retook the lost ground, and the 12,000-man garrison surrendered unconditionally. The battle made Grant a star and was a catastrophe for the South.

Touring Fort Donelson

The park preserves more than 20 percent of the original battlefield, with several square miles of earthwork fortifications. Don’t miss these highlights:

  • Stand at the gun batteries where Confederate gunners battered Grant’s gunboats.
  • Visit the Dover Hotel where Ulysses S. Grant demanded “unconditional surrender” from his old West Point friend, Confederate Simon Buckner.
  • Pause at Fort Donelson National Cemetery for a reminder of the sacrifices that Americans have made from the Civil War to the present day.
  • While absorbing the history, you may also encounter two notable park residents. “We’ve got two resident bald eagles who live down at the river,” Richardson says. “Our eagles are about as famous as our generals.”

Stop #2 – Stones River National Battlefield
The Fight for the Confederate Heartland

We could follow General Grant to the Mississippi line and Shiloh, where his Army of the Tennessee headed after Donelson, but there’s good reason to drive to Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro.

“When Fort Donelson falls, the Confederates have to give up Nashville,” explains Park Ranger Jim Lewis. “And Nashville becomes the base for the Union Army to launch the campaigns which will lead to Stones River, Chickamauga and Chattanooga.”

For many, Stones River is a quiet retreat from bustling Murfreesboro. But the 6,100 gravestones across from the visitor center are a sober reminder of what took place there. Of the 81,000 who fought here, 23,000 were killed, wounded or went missing in action — the highest percentage of casualties of any Civil War battle.

Early success, then retreat

Cemetery at Stones River

Cemetery at Stones River

On New Year’s Eve 1862, the Southern army under Braxton Bragg attacked first, catching William Rosecrans’ Union troops at breakfast and driving them north. Then on Jan. 2, the Confederates launched another attack along the east bank of the Stones River to drive Union troops off of a high hill.

“In the process of pursuing, those Confederates will come under the fire of 57 Union cannons along the other side of the river and will lose about 1,800 men in 45 minutes,” Lewis says. “That’s a pretty bloody exclamation point.”

The Confederates then retreated.

Touring Stones River

Stones River offers a 12-stop auto tour, including these sights:

  • Walk around The Slaughter Pen, a rock outcropping where Union troops made a stubborn stand.
  • Pay respect at the Hazen Brigade Monument, one of the oldest war monuments in the country.
  • Be awed by Fort Rosecrans, the largest earthworks fortification in North America.

Stop #3 – Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
The Death Knell of the Confederacy

We’ve followed the Union push to Nashville and Murfreesboro. The next stop is Chattanooga. Actually, we’ll go south of the city to Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.

Re-enactments, like this one near Chickamauga, Ga., can bring history to life, but battlefields throughout the Southeast are interesting places to visit anytime.

Re-enactments, like this one near Chickamauga, Ga., can bring history to life, but battlefields throughout the Southeast are interesting places to visit anytime.

Driving to the park, you’ll cross the mountains that convinced General Rosecrans not to advance directly on Chattanooga. He moved southwest of the city to block supply lines, forcing Confederate troops into Georgia as well. But Chattanooga was the Union goal.

“Chattanooga is a doorway through the southern barrier of the Appalachians,” says Park Historian Jim Ogden.

Driving through the dense woods of the 5,300-acre park, you can see why confusion reigned in the war’s second-bloodiest battle. About 35,000 men were killed, wounded, missing or captured in fighting from Sept. 19-20, 1863. Strategic mistakes led to a Union retreat. The Union troops retreated to Chattanooga, where they withstood a two-month siege before ultimately breaking through in the battle of Chattanooga.

“This allowed the Union drive across Georgia in 1864, from Chattanooga to Atlanta and from Atlanta to Savannah,” Ogden notes.

Touring Chickamauga

Start at the visitor center on Lafayette Road. After touring the park, drive 17 miles to Lookout Mountain Battlefield for views from 1,500 feet above Chattanooga. Other key sites:

  • Stand on Snodgrass Hill where George Thomas became “The Rock of Chickamauga.”
  • Get a general’s view from Orchard Knob, Grant’s command post, and the Bragg Reservation, Confederate headquarters on Missionary Ridge.
  • Watch the conflict electronically at the Battles for Chattanooga Museum on Lookout Mountain.

Chattanooga was a major blow for the Confederacy. But there’s much more to see on the campaign South – Tunnel Hill, Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain all the way to Savannah and then into South Carolina. The war continued on and your trip can too. Visit nps.gov/civilwar for more sites from the War Between the States.

Tech-Savvy Traveler: Charting your course

Point Park Cannon

Point Park Cannon

Robert E. Lee is regarded by many as the most clever battle tactician of the Civil War. Imagine what he could have done with a GPS! Nowadays, it’s easy to come up with a battle plan and map out the route for you and your troops on your next vacation. Apps like Google Earth provide directions for tourists with aerial or street views of those historic sites from Gettysburg to Charleston. For those battling interstate traffic, Road Ninja is an app that will help you find fuel, food and shelter for the evening, keeping your small army on the move.

Shopping for a local cause

By Matt Ledger

The fashionable new shopping experience isn’t at the mall or the big box store, and it may be closer to home than you realize. “We’re all Southern girls here and we love to shop, so to shop and give back, that’s an even better experience,” says Sharon Hicks, the store manager at Pickers on Main. “We want to help people in a dignified way and we just knew this store could do that.”

Store manager Sharon Hicks (right) and consigner Mary Cole standing inside of Pickers on Main.

Store manager Sharon Hicks (right) and consigner Mary Cole standing inside of Pickers on Main.

The shop is the latest mission for the  CARE Center. The center, with the name standing for Community Assistance Resource Effort, began in New Hope during 2000, when 15 churches in southeastern Madison County were approached about contributing toward an emergency food assistance program. “It started out just as a food pantry, but it has been one of the best things to happen to this area,” Mary Cole says, one of the consigners at the store.

With that mission in mind, many community members have stepped up during the past 15 years, expanding the center to address the growing needs of their neighbors. More than two dozen programs are now providing a wide range of resources for the community, with the latest being a community collaboration called Pickers on Main.

Much more than a store

A quick glance in the window, a person might think Pickers on Main is an ordinary boutique, but the quality crafts and designer decor products have a dual purpose much greater than beautifying any living room. “The CARE Center’s mission is to help reduce poverty through education initiatives and influential resources,” Hicks says. The shop provides a bit of the traditional Southern charm that small towns are known for. “We thought Pickers on Main would be a perfect fit for this community,” Hicks says.

Collectors and crafters are finding and creating marvelous merchandise, turning “passions into paychecks” at the store, which opened Nov. 1, 2014. “Many of the kids in the local school are making things within their classroom, then bringing those items here and selling them,” Hicks says. That transaction provides youth an opportunity to learn about the value of community service. A portion of the profits goes toward the general budget for the 501(c)(3) charity.

Products with promise

From farmhouse boutique to shabby chic, Pickers on Main offers home furnishings for those looking to add a traditional flair to their home.

From farmhouse boutique to shabby chic, Pickers on Main offers home furnishings for those looking to add a traditional flair to their home.

Pickers on Main fits the increasingly popular “buy local” principle, helping area shoppers avoid those time-consuming trips to Huntsville. “Just because New Hope is small doesn’t mean it can’t have the same things as the bigger cities have,” Hicks says. “The idea was out there, and then the Communicator ran the story on Mike Wolfe and it talked about how main streets in rural downtown areas are few and far between.”

It’s providing a popular place to shop and keeping the economic impact and tax dollars local. “This store is like Pinterest on Main Street,” Hicks says, laughing.

She also liked how ‘pickin’ can involve the whole family and teach children about pricing, budgeting and even local history. There are more than a dozen regular consigners, called “Partners in Hope,” that pledge to provide toward the program. Hicks finds that a Pablo Picasso quote sums up the core mission for the store: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

 

Pickers on Main  •  5499 Main Drive  •  New Hope, AL  •  256-723-2273  •  www.thecarecenter.us