A walk down Main Street in Payson gave me a taste of what used to be, and what I hope can one day be again

When I think of a Main Street, I picture a quaint row of charming shops and eateries nestled in the heart of a small town. It’s where townspeople go to connect and support one another. So imagine my delight when I moved to Payson, which is a much smaller town than my previous one. Once settled, I made my way over to explore everything it had to offer. I anticipated a cute cafe on a corner, offering beautifully crafted cakes and coffee (for those who wanted to enjoy a cup). I envisioned an old used book store that housed first edition copies behind a glass case. In my mind, that book store was rustic and smelled like history and vanilla. 

There would be a pharmacy with a man named Jack, who knew everyone because he had been there for nearly 50 years. Perhaps there would even be a humble little market to gather some necessities on my mental list. It would have a wooden fruit stand with free samples, and people would converse about the quality before purchasing some for family and friends.

Disheartened, I slowly realized there was no cafe. No used bookstore. No pharmacy. No market with delicious peaches. Sure there were other options, but none like the ones I imagined with the exception of an old-fashioned ice cream shop, which I didn’t even consider before my inquisitive wander. Oh, how I appreciated its existence at that moment.

Once I came to terms with the reality that my fantasy was no more than that, I looked around, only to be saddened by another truth. It was nearly empty. Only a few cars lined the streets. There were no patrons buzzing around. It felt like a deserted memory of something that once was. Discouraged, I left.

A lot danced through my mind as I headed home only to come to the understanding that in a world where everything is purchased online and everyone is too busy to slow down for a stroll with a friend, why wouldn’t it be forgotten. A main street can only be as successful as its townspeople encourage it to be.

Since that day, I have seen businesses come and go. I’ve seen some who seem to do well enough, and many who fight to remain. It is my hope that this will encourage others to slow down and support the local businesses that are doing everything to offer goods and services to their town on a personal level. It truly warms their hearts when people walk through those doors. It’s been said that a small business owner does a little happy dance with every purchase, and as one myself, I can attest to this. 

If you have the desire and ability to open a shop, this is your sign. A community rises and supports one another. May we never forget this, friends.

Submitted by Priscilla Bell

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Articles from community members to share their viewpoints, or letter to the editor.

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