They always say that time flies… I have to agree! It is hard to believe that I have been living in Washington, MO for 4 years and I have been running the Re-Discover Washington Blog and Facebook page for 3 years! What started as a fun project in my spare time to explore the downtown area and share my experiences with everyone online, has turned into a big community network where everyone has gotten to know my name (even if they call me by Silvya, Slavia, Slave, or Saliva).
For the ones that are new to the town or the blog, here’s a little introduction.
My name is Slava (pronounced exactly as it’s spelled: /slâʋa/) and it means “glory/fame” in Bulgarian. Bulgarian is the official language of the country where I am from: Bulgaria. Located in southeastern Europe, Bulgaria is as big as Missouri, and it boasts with picturesque mountains, long sandy beaches, fertile valleys, and smart and beautiful people (you can trust me on the last one ;-)). When I came to Washington, MO, I loved the town right away, since it reminded me of Europe. However, I was pretty much the only person walking downtown on a regular basis, so I decided to start the blog and combine my passion for photography and writing in hope to bring more people to the downtown streets and shops. With no previous experience in blogging and without knowing a single soul in town, I concurred I had nothing to lose and I embarked on my project. To promote my blog posts and make sure they reach more people, I set up the Re-Discover Washington’s Facebook page where I share all blog posts I write and I also keep people updated on events happening in Washington and the area.
One thing leads to another, so in three years’ time the Re-Discover Washington Blog has gotten a total of 141,483 views and I have written 451 blog posts. What was meant to be a fun project to do in my spare time, has turned into a part of my identity. The other day I walked into a store downtown and the shop keeper asked me if I was the “Downtown Lady.” I hesitantly answered, “I guess so…”, and she proceeded to ask me about 10 questions about businesses and buildings downtown. This is not the strange part, the strange part is that I effortlessly produced answer after answer, and I was able to provide her with all the information she needed… I guess I am in the know, after all. 😉
How does the blog work? I make the rules as I go and it depends entirely on me. My goal has been to feature small, family-owned business in the area as well as people who make a difference in the community. I also love promoting local artists, and spreading the word about events the community can benefit from. The blog is being sponsored monthly with a small sum of money by Downtown Washington, Inc. for which I am very grateful. In turn, I share photos I take of the downtown businesses and events with them since we both have the same goal – promoting downtown and keeping it vibrant and full of life!
Why do I care so much about shopping local and the downtown area? Because I believe personalized attention is the best and the coziness a small store has cannot be compared to a shopping mall experience. We have so many amazing businesses downtown, selling locally made and one-of-a-kind items, and I love walking the streets and visiting with their owners. They tell me what’s new and what’s good, we exchange smiles and nice words, and I am happy that I can walk out of my house, and coffee, lunch and a new outfit in an hour, without stress or hustle.
What I planned for with setting up the blog, has become a reality: when I go around town and post pictures of the food I eat or the things I like, it prompts people to visit the downtown restaurants and stores and patronize them. However, what I did not plan for is that the more popular the blog gets, the more known I become. I guess I will keep bearing the burden of my name, in the name of promoting the small family-owned businesses in downtown Washington, MO. Next time you see me, call me Slava, ok? 😉
Thank you so much for following my blog and shopping downtown – it’s fun and good for everyone 😉
P.S. The Re-Discover Washington Blog Celebrated its birthday on November 3rd. I am a bad blog mom, and I completely forgot about it, so we are celebrating 7 days later on Facebook with a GIVEAWAY. Make sure to join it tonight 😉