I went to Small Business Saturday in downtown Hahira this past weekend. It was a real treat. I took my sister who was visiting from Coastal South Carolina. She told me over and over again what a great time she had milling around the depot and wandering in and out of the shops on Main Street.
And yes, Hahira has a real “Main Street.” I love that about Hahira.
I can safely say that Small Business Saturday was a success in Hahira. I don’t know about any place else.
The streets were teeming with people, the parking spaces were full along Main Street, and the stores were bustling with shoppers and lookers. The sounds of Jolyn Smith, a young woman with deep roots in Hahira, filled the air around the depot. I saw a couple of people I haven’t seen in twenty years. I ran into a few people I saw a couple of days before.
I went to Daylight Donuts for breakfast and had their breakfast burrito. It felt like home inside. Families of various sizes filled the tables. I heard lots of laughter. No one cared that the line was to the door and the one cashier had all she could handle. Everyone was patient and enjoyed being there.
What I loved the most about the day was seeing Hahirans support the local merchants. And they were not all Hahirans—I’m not from Hahira, nor is my sister. I asked several of the merchants how the day was going (I’m a reporter at heart so I can’t help it) and every single one told me it was great. They’d been busy since the doors opened.
My sister and I walked down the street and peeked into the empty storefront windows. We imagined what it would be like to have a business there and live upstairs in a loft. We talked about moving back to a small town after living in so many larger ones. We wondered what it would be like.
I said I could do it. I would love it. I could live in Hahira.
I love small town America.
For exactly the reason I stated above. I can walk down a charming street and see people I know. People I’ve known for twenty or thirty years. I can walk into a store that is now a gift shop but was once a feed and seed. I can run my hand along the counter that still stands from days gone by. I can look for my friend’s name carved into the counter top.
It’s a place where the locals hear about an event like Small Business Saturday and they come out to support the people they go to church with, they work with. It’s a place where the third generation is attending the local school.
I can hear lots of laughter. I see lots of love.
It’s like a cloud hovering over the city.