The shops that we visited in downtown Menomonie created a sense of community because of the way everyone seemed to know everyone. You could tell just by talking to the shop owners that this is a very close knit community, and this was emphasized by the fact that most of the shops sold items made by smaller, local businesses. This created a sense of community because it seems like the local businesses look out for and support each other, and help each other thrive. I come from the Twin Cities, which is larger and more fast-paced, and so I have never experienced that sense of small town closeness, and the businesses do not look out for each other in the same way. Menomonie is the kind of place where you can pass someone on the street or walk into a shop and say hello, whether you know the person or not. Coming from a larger city, I am not used to this atmosphere, and I found it very refreshing. Menomonie is a place where you feel welcome, and it is a place where you feel safe. This is new for me, and I look forward to spending the next four years in this town, and experiencing this sense of community.
I have always been fond of the concept of “downtown.” There is something oddly exhilarating about the idea of unique, driven people setting up various shops which range from the ordinary to the unique in terms of products and services provided. Downtown Menomonie is no exception. This area contains literally a little of the old, and a little of the new. You see antique shops, buying and selling forgotten and discarded treasures, right across the street from a local store that shuffles through a different kind of commodity; baseball cards. An organic grocery store stands a block away from a small bar & grill. Contradiction can cause conflict, but not here. No, these businesses thrive only because of the contradiction. They bring together both young and old; to learn from each other, to share stories and ideas from each other, to share ideas to support one another and the city of Menomonie as a whole.
In these last two hours I have spent exploring the Menomonie downtown area I have learned of the rich history and sense of community this town has. Starting with the buildings themselves, they are nearly all older brick buildings that keep the memory of the old brick company that helped first establish this town. The fact that they have kept so many of the original buildings exemplify the towns desire to maintain their past and stay close as a whole. Even talking with the shop owners you can feel their passion and love that they provide for the city. Everyone is so friendly and caring. The fact that there are so many downtown businesses also reflects how the community helps support itself. Rather than going out to Wal-Mart or other department stores, they go out to their local community and support small businesses. Overall, the feel of community in this small town is present everywhere in the downtown area.
The downtown Menomonie area is much smaller than the downtown area I grew up in, but I grew up in the Twin Cities so that is why. I found the area to be a small pleasant community. Many of the stores are small businesses owned by Menomonie residents, which makes the stores feel more comfortable, because the owners all seemed very easy-going. It will be very nice to have such an area so close by for my college years. I enjoyed being able to go out on a tour and see the places and meet the people.
I feel that downtown Menomonie creates a great sense of community because of all the local businesses. These businesses are friendly, knowledgeable, and welcoming. They don’t just work for their own personal gain, but rather for the community as a whole. This is a lot like my own home town which is made up of much small family owned, locally supported businesses. They work hard at the things that they love and strive to give back to their communities to create a greater sense of comarodity and family. I greatly appreciate and work hard to help support such businesses for my own growth and the growth of my home.
I think the business that inspired me the most would be the New Refuge Farms. We had the opportunity to speak with the owner who told us her inspiration. She works hard to rescue dying and left for dead horses and uses the proceeds to save animal lives.
The downtown are in Menomonie is a place that is historically significant and a popular place to be. My experience of the many antique shops was essential to my view of the downtown area. The antique stores had so much to offer through all the products they were selling. I believe those shops represent the history of Menomonie. I was happy to learn that most of the shop owners either rent out specific areas of their stores to local seller or sell the local communities’ products. These stores created a sense of community that all of Menomonie can be a part of and enjoy.
Growing up in Elk Mound, which is only 15 miles away, I thought I knew the Menomonie area pretty well. I was wrong. I discovered so much during our short adventure. One aspect I really love is the history. Everyone around is so proud of the history and development of the town and all the buildings show that. All the owners of the shops had great stories of how their shops came about. It was cool to see how everything has changed throughout the years, through their eyes. Every shop and owner had its own story and that’s what I enjoyed most. Everyone here is so proud of the history and knows so much about it. Even though I live fairly close, I learned so much more than I expected; it was worth the afternoon and I can’t wait to do some more exploring!
Downtown Menomonie is a very unique place. It has antique shops where local collectors sell their items to help profit the community; there are numerous local bars and cafes. There are also several boutiques and art stores. With these businesses, Menomonie thrives at a special role because the local town’s people want to help out their historic community.
Also, because of the several cafes, I will most likely spend a lot of my time in them studying and being with friends. While I am doing that I am supporting their stores as well has having a good time.
I thought that the Downtown area was an intriguing place. I could see myself walking down the street to get some antique item. Then have a quick stop in the Bookends bookstore to get some new reading material before stopping in one of the very welcoming cafes; such as the Raw Deal or the Acoustic Café. There were quite a few small businesses that started up just from a dream or a passion and you can tell that the owners really love and believe in what they are doing. One in particular was quite inspirational- The Store; Such a simple name for something with such a noble goal. The Store is a consignment and goodwill store where all the proceeds go towards the owner’s Refuge Farms, which is a rescue organization for dire horses, horses no one else wants. It’s run only by volunteers and is a fine example of how people in the community can come together and work towards a greater cause.