A Small Business Playing a Small Role in Making a Small Town Great

Saturday evenings in small towns plod tiredly along for most teenagers. There seems nothing to do. There is no one they haven’t seen already. And, no place they haven’t been before. So they often end up down on the riverbar drinking another keg of beer that someone’s older brother bought for them.

 

In our little town, however, there is one little option. Several years ago, a couple bought a small store. This business provided clothes etc. for the under 10 set. But, this couple, Donovan and Alicia Cecil expanded. They opened their doors to teenagers. Both of the new owners had an interest in gaming but even more, they had an interest in providing something for Donovan’s son to do. They began running regular role playing and board gaming sessions and inviting local kids to join in. Because of negative publicity about Dungeons and Dragons and other role playing games, they required each kid to provide a signed release from their parents and the gaming tables were placed in the front of the store so worried parents could cruise by and see their kids easily.

The experiment has proved successful and now a corner of the store is devoted to gaming supplies, the tables have migrated to a less intrusive area in the back, and no releases are required.

 

 

This last Saturday, most of the storefronts were dark when I went to pick up my sons that evening. But Kidz-n-More was brightly lit. It’s windows showcased the charming kids’ clothing and toys that makes up the foundation of their business. Inside, however, were two tables spilling over with 15 -20 teenagers and their stuff. And, one at each table, Donovan and Alicia were involving the kids(both of their own two sons also) in exhilarating adventures. Dice were rolling, hands were waving wildly, couples were cuddling.

 

foot rub

The kids were relaxed, laughing . . . and sober. My own two greeted me with groans of despair. “No, we’ve just been attacked by giant mosquitos! We can’t go yet.”

Involved in their community, working long hours (and enjoying it mostly), Donovan and Alicia provide a model of how to have a successful business–see a need that fits your interests, fill it, enjoy what you do, help your community.

People and businesses like this are the backbones of great small towns.

Now, we need to come up with a few more fun places for teenagers.

 

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17 comments

  • “couples were cuddling”

    Hmph…GET A ROOM…oh wait, nevermind.

    What a great idea they have Kym. Flexing to fill a need is the way for a small business to perservere. Much better than complaining.

  • Wow…that’s really cool! I wish them continued success. Everyone seems to complain about “those crazy kids with their long hair and their baggy pants”, but no one ever does anything about it. Until now.

    Nice.

  • Wow…that’s really cool! I wish them continued success. Everyone seems to complain about “those crazy kids with their long hair and their baggy pants”, but no one ever does anything about it. Until now.

    Nice.

  • Thank goodness, they were cuddling not doing a heavy makeout scene. I love the picture of her foot on his knee and his hand rubbing her foot–people being gentle with each other makes me soft inside. Donovan and Alicia have gone through some tough times but they keep working to make their business conform to the needs of the community. And they are succeeding by treating kids like friends not enemies.

  • Thank goodness, they were cuddling not doing a heavy makeout scene. I love the picture of her foot on his knee and his hand rubbing her foot–people being gentle with each other makes me soft inside. Donovan and Alicia have gone through some tough times but they keep working to make their business conform to the needs of the community. And they are succeeding by treating kids like friends not enemies.

  • That’s VERY cool!!! I always laughed at the teenagers that lived with me for a while when they’d play “cards” which involved inflicting damage and stuff.
    Now my kids have Pokemon cards.
    Shoot me now. LOL.
    Good for them!!!!

  • That’s VERY cool!!! I always laughed at the teenagers that lived with me for a while when they’d play “cards” which involved inflicting damage and stuff.
    Now my kids have Pokemon cards.
    Shoot me now. LOL.
    Good for them!!!!

  • Jen, Watch out you’ll be playing with them next. My kids bought me a Pokemon deck one birthday. I learned to play with them. Thank goodness, I’m saved from that now.

  • Jen, Watch out you’ll be playing with them next. My kids bought me a Pokemon deck one birthday. I learned to play with them. Thank goodness, I’m saved from that now.

  • That’s terrific! Your little town has it’s own geek shop! All that BS in the media about roll playing games being a bad influence was just that — total BS. Hmmmm…let’s see: imagination, social interaction, creative storytelling, use of statistics. Gee, sounds like the end of civilization! 😉

  • That’s terrific! Your little town has it’s own geek shop! All that BS in the media about roll playing games being a bad influence was just that — total BS. Hmmmm…let’s see: imagination, social interaction, creative storytelling, use of statistics. Gee, sounds like the end of civilization! 😉

  • As a teacher, some of my favorite lessons involved using role playing. “Create a character with a history, physical description, and personality.” Kids ate it up.

  • As a teacher, some of my favorite lessons involved using role playing. “Create a character with a history, physical description, and personality.” Kids ate it up.

  • that’s awesome! I’ve never noticed that store before but I don’t go down to your town much….I’m always looking for great toy stores though b/c we only have a couple here and I’m not all that impressed with either…

    and what a great way to keep kids and teens involved. I actually wrote an essay in high school about how if the community offered programs or venues where kids could hang out with constructive things to do they would probably notice a decline in the keg parties out in the woods and in abandoned houses….

  • that’s awesome! I’ve never noticed that store before but I don’t go down to your town much….I’m always looking for great toy stores though b/c we only have a couple here and I’m not all that impressed with either…

    and what a great way to keep kids and teens involved. I actually wrote an essay in high school about how if the community offered programs or venues where kids could hang out with constructive things to do they would probably notice a decline in the keg parties out in the woods and in abandoned houses….

  • Southern Humboldt is working on getting a teen center (but they’ve been doing that since I was a girl;>) Meanwhile, Kidz-n-More provides a great place for some kids.

    And, it has great toys and kids’ clothing. They have a lot of the Melissa and Doug wooden toys. Last time I was looking, they had these puppets that made me want to do a puppet show myself. One time for a little girl I got this charming bright colored apron with all sorts of wooden cooking tools (rolling pin, spoon) in just the right sizes for tiny hands.

    The kids’ clothes are beautiful too. In fact, the favorite picture I have of my littlest shows him dressed in a Christopher Robin raincoat that I bought there. Alicia (I know I’m spelling her name wrong) has wonderful taste. The place is also decorated with her mother’s artwork which is pure and bright and beautiful.

  • Southern Humboldt is working on getting a teen center (but they’ve been doing that since I was a girl;>) Meanwhile, Kidz-n-More provides a great place for some kids.

    And, it has great toys and kids’ clothing. They have a lot of the Melissa and Doug wooden toys. Last time I was looking, they had these puppets that made me want to do a puppet show myself. One time for a little girl I got this charming bright colored apron with all sorts of wooden cooking tools (rolling pin, spoon) in just the right sizes for tiny hands.

    The kids’ clothes are beautiful too. In fact, the favorite picture I have of my littlest shows him dressed in a Christopher Robin raincoat that I bought there. Alicia (I know I’m spelling her name wrong) has wonderful taste. The place is also decorated with her mother’s artwork which is pure and bright and beautiful.

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