A walk down Main Street

By Jim Lytle

Winter is just around the corner, as the chilly nights we’ve experienced this month can attest. But we do still enjoy some nice sunny days with the temperatures in the 60’s. I sometimes like to walk down Main Street on such days and stop in the various businesses just to chat with the people there. That’s one of the advantages of living in a small town like ours -- you know everyone, and you know them beyond the “hi how are you” stage. We care about one another as only small town folks can.

Take a walk with me now and listen in as I chat with a few of the many friendly business people in town.

First stop, the Fennville District Library.

Hey, there’s Karmen Kooyers, and she’s holding Ramsy, a hand puppet she uses to entertain the kids.

  “What’s cool at the library”, I asked. “Well, we’re going to have live reindeer here at the library next month Jim. This is part of our participation in the Christmas Parade festivities scheduled for Friday, December 3rd. We’ll also be serving hot chocolate and cookies right here in our community room, and everyone is welcome to stop by before or after the parade.”

“Thanks Karmen. Seems there’s always some fun stuff going on at the library and not just for kids. Us adults can enjoy your programs too.”

“Yes, we do try to have programs for all ages Jim. We encourage people to stop by and pick up our monthly calendar. This shows all the events we have scheduled for the entire month so there’s no reason to miss any of our events.”    

Fennville Tire was the next place I stopped. “How’s business Steve?” I asked when he raised his head from the counter where he was working.

 “It’s picking up“ he said, “we’ve sold 75 to 80 tires per month over the past few months and we’re hoping that trend will continue.”

“That’s great Steve. Maybe that’s an indication that things in general are improving. I see you have a special going on oil changes.” 
“Yea, you must have seen the sign out front?”

The sign in front showed he was offering $19.95 oil changes. The message on the sign indicated that his reduced price oil changes were in celebration of the gubernatorial election results. Steve explained that he felt the new governor would be more in tune with the needs of small businesses such as Fennville Tire.

“Well, we all hope the positive trend continues Steve. Good luck.”


Bob Zumbrink at True Value Hardware looks forward to the upcoming hunting season as this always brings in more traffic to his store. Everything for the outdoorsman is a goal he strives for. It’s the one-stop-shop in town for most of the sportsman’s needs.

“The great Fall weather we’ve been having has gotten people out working in their yards and that’s good for business too” says Bob. “We have all the tools they’ll need to clear the leaves and spruce up the yard. And, of course, the Christmas season coming up is something we always look forward to.”  

Hmmmmm… I can use a new rake. Might as well get it while I’m here.

Only your hairdresser knows for sure, and my next stop was at Cris’ Hairstyling. It turns out that Cris is vacationing in Texas for two weeks. She’s visiting relatives and getting away from the routine for a while. Karen is holding down the fort in Chris’ absence working twice as hard to serve the many locals who are Cris’ customers.   

Not many communities the size of Fennville can boast a Children’s Museum, but we do have one and it’s one of the best around. I greeted Laura Giles, Assistant Director of the museum, as I entered.

  “Congratulations on the success of your Halloween Party Laura. I never saw so many turn out for one of your events.” “Yes, I was quite pleased with the turnout. This was the first event I handled completely by myself and I wasn’t at all sure it’d be such a success.”

“So, what’s coming at the museum?” I asked. “Well Jim, we’re starting a Young Artists program on Saturdays from 12 to 2. Each Saturday we’ll have a different craft featured designed to bring out the natural creative talents that all of us are born with, but many seem to lose as they get older. And, as in past years, we’ll have Santa and Mrs. Clause on hand here for pictures right after the parade on December 3rd.  Pictures with Santa are free and the entire family is invited. We’ll also have cookie decorating for the kids in the back room”

“Sounds great Laura, I’ll be here!”

‘Probably more people pass through Main Street Market than all the other downtown businesses combined.” So says Tammy Streicher, Cashier at the market. “Whatever is going on in town, we not only hear about it from our customers but how they feel about it as well.” 

Have you ever thought about that?  One might think of Main Street Market as the Main Street Information Exchange where Fennville Public Opinion is forged.  Stop by and fill your grocery cart and while you’re there, tune in to the latest happenings in Fennville.

I’ll be taking more walks in the future, and I’ll invite you to tag along. But don’t wait for me. Take a walk yourself and visit the friendly people who run the businesses in our community. And most of all, Shop Fennville First!


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