For every town in the midst of a real estate boom, there is a town close by that gets overlooked.
This is the place without much going on. It’s the town with sparsely filled sidewalks and a few boarded-up storefronts, that some might think of as a little unsafe because of how empty it feels. Even if there are a few shops or restaurants, they struggle to draw enough customers to thrive.
Being a leader in a place like this can feel demoralizing. Even if you know your community is special, it can sometimes feel like no one else shares your view, and that other communities are getting an unfair share of money and attention. The leaders I’ve worked with in places like this often feel like, “Hey, we’re a great place too. How come no one’s investing here?”
I am here to tell you that every community is valuable and unique. Even if it sometimes doesn’t feel that way, it is absolutely true. What’s even better is that you have assets that boomtowns don’t have. Rather than comparing your community to what other people are doing, refocus on the people who are rooting for your community — and support them in every way you can.
Longmont, Colorado is a great example of a boomtown neighbor that’s working to blaze their own trail. Longmont is right next to Boulder, which is seeing tons of investment as the tech industry grows there. But people refer to Longmont as “Long-tucky” because it’s so distant - at least in perception. Yet Longmont has an amazing and deep history of pioneers who made things, built on self-reliance, and created a beautiful historic downtown that is an ideal setting for small local businesses. Longmont is not a tech hub — and that is actually pretty great. Leaders there understand that’s a good thing, and we've been working with them to figure out ways to nurture their unique community of business owners who will help them grow their beautiful downtown.
Creating spaces for small-scale manufacturing is part of their plan. Like Longtucky Spirits - the local business adds a unique experience to Longmont’s downtown while also creating jobs that keep money (and the neighbors) close to home. This kind of business can be an asset to any local economy.
Local leadership, and a unique collaboration with the city, will be essential for these businesses to take root. But you're worth it, right?!