On November 3rd 2011, I took a crazy idea, and with the support of my husband and some close friends, I wrote my first ever blog post. Re-Discover Washington was born exactly a year ago, with the goal to help support small family-owned businesses and to make people realize how many wonderful shops there are downtown. I intended to blog for just a month, but the idea caught on, the Facebook page was created, and there were more and more followers each day. Going into the downtown stores, interviewing the merchants, and taking pictures was not weird anymore, it became natural. I made lots of new friends, and many new discoveries.
I learned that every shop has something unique to offer, and every store owner has a wonderful personality that shines through their store front. I learned that Dave at the Art Center can make amazing quality photographic prints. I learned that Kim at the Fudge Shoppe just published her first children’s book. I learned that Barb at I. B. Nuts & Fruit Too makes some of the most beautiful basket and gift arrangements. I learned that Becky at Obermark Optometry loves to support the downtown businesses and she is actively involved in Wine Fest. I learned that Joe from Joe’s Bakery doesn’t have a website or a call phone, yet his place is always crowded at lunch. I learned that Gail and Mike from Country Living Antiques Collectibles and More have always wanted to live downtown and now their dream came true. I learned that The American Bounty has a great wine bar with cosy atmosphere and delicious food. I learned that if I need a cool vintage hat Loretta at East Main Antiques is the person to go to. I learned that Bubba’s Shrimp has amazing sushi, that comes very close to the one my husband makes. I learned that you can get your personalized checks printed at Office Supply and Equipment. I learned that Carolyn at Not Just Cut and Dried always has the most beautiful seasonal wreaths and flower arrangements. I learned that Steve at Calico Cat makes stunning furniture out of repurposed barn wood. I learned that Gary Lucy Gallery carries beautiful scarfs and accessories. I learned that Sandi from Hillermann Nursery and Florist does not only have a green thumb, but also a great personality. I learned that if you need a cute outfit for a photo shoot or a night out, Addi’s is the place to go to. I learned that there are people who truly care about the country and the economy and are dedicated to promote American-made items (Gina and Cole at Fern&Sycamore). I learned that the boys at Big Boys Grilled Subs and Wings really know how to cook and they make the best gyro. I learned that I actually like cupcakes thanks to Sara from Flour Power. I learned that there is a lot more to Washington than we think…
What else has happened in a year?
I published 256 blog posts and set up 19 categories on the blog. Re-Discover Washington’s Facebook page has 1363 fans. Some of the downtown merchants helped sponsor the biggest giveaway I’ve done: Picture Perfect Downtown Date, which was a blast. You love “Where in Washington?” and you have already discovered the location of 41 photos. I get at least one Facebook message or e-mail a day, from people asking to be on the blog. Thanks to Re-Discover Washington, I am teaching Photography and Facebook classes at ECC. Downtown Washington Inc. began sponsoring the blog (Thank you so much!) My Washington photos from around town have gained popularity and Diana Holdinghausen had me decorate her new office building with canvases and metal prints (my first ever big photography job, go and take a look!). I’ve met many of you at different events and it’s always a pleasure to talk to you. Businesses that have been featured on the blog, have seen a direct increase in customers and sales. I began working at the Washington Visitor Center. Angie and I started the beginning of the Washington Cash Mob Saturdays – another great initiative to support small businesses, which ties perfectly with the blog. I have interviewed some amazing people for A Day In The Life Of…. We put a focus on history and art, and you’ve given me nothing but wonderful feedback. I met many adorable downtown pets. I saw baby pigs being born at Todd Geisert Farms. Linda at the Farmer’s Market has the most delicious Chocolate Zucchini Bread and she told me this morning I have the most beautiful eyes. Kristy from I.B. Nuts organized a surprise birthday party for me and so many downtown merchants came to see me and brought me gifts. You have all accepted Re-Discover Washington and I as a part in your daily lives, and for that I can’t thank you enough. I love to take pictures and write, but it is my audience that puts meaning in all I do.
Thank you so much for following the blog and thank you for sharing it with other people who want to support the downtown and the local businesses. Washington has so much to offer, and it is up to us whether we take advantage of it or not. I will keep re-discovering this beautiful German town with your help, and we will see where the next couple of months will take us…