See you Downtown!

By Sandra Tunnell

July 15, 2016

This weekend is the first in a long time that we aren’t hosting an event or activity or a bunch of awesomeness in downtown Ashland.  That’s a good thing, really; what better time to come and check out our amazing downtown than on a weekend when you have time to savor our grooviness?

Before you pack up your car and head downtown, we need to tell you story.  Several years ago, in the fall, we did an experiment and shopped downtown.  We brought Minerva, the beagle, and walked the streets, and popped into a few stores, and had a coffee, and it took FOREVER.  We could have driven to Ontario and shopped and come back in the amount of time it took us to do just one block of Main Street.  The problem downtown Ashland has is that the downtown merchants are just too dadgum friendly and helpful, delivering the kind of customer service you read about in books.  We couldn’t just pop into the coffee shop for a quick drink.  Noooo- our coffee chica had to talk to us about how chilly it was, compliment us on our hat (“Oh- I love that!  It’s such a great color for you!  Where did you get it?”), and chit chat about what all was going on in Ashland that weekend, and ask if we had been to this event or that.  No sullen teenager writing our name on a cup and filling it up with chai, that’s for sure.  Then we walked to a cute gift shop where the owner said she had this great necklace that she had just gotten in from her jewelry-making lady and she thought I’d like it, and it would go so well with the dress I had worn last week so she set it aside for me, and how is the dog, and what a cute hat, and… you get the picture.  Forty-five minutes we’ll never get back, that we could have used by walking around outside in the cold, and instead were spent being treated like family by two downtown Ashland merchants, looking at original, unique jewelry and getting my chai made just the way I like it (dirty, if you are wondering).  And it wasn’t just us!  Other customers, not even known to these people, came in and got the same spectacular customer service we had just received.  Frankly, it’s enough to make you want to move downtown forever.  We want to make sure you are sufficiently warned; your trip to downtown Ashland will be filled with warm, welcoming, wonderful shop owners and merchants who want you to have an amazing experience.  This takes longer than being ignored by a big box store employee, so if you have lots of errands to run, you may want to skip the amazing adventure that is downtown Ashland and fight traffic and search for shops with generic merchandise in a bigger city.

OK, satirical section done, but seriously, we did time ourselves a few years ago, and it did take a long time to run just a few errands, and we loved it.  We loved people caring and commenting and being concerned for us.  That is one of the many things that make downtown shopping experiences so wonderful, and why so many people are now eschewing big, anonymous national chain shopping in favor of small, quaint, individual experiences in downtowns, like ours. 

While we are taking a short break between Ashland Main Street activities, we thought we would introduce you to the stores we have in our downtown.  As we have told you a time or fifty, we opened 14 new stores in downtown Ashland in 2014, even more in 2015, and there some very exciting ventures blossoming soon…so now is a great time to take a day or two and explore our growing downtown o’ awesomeness.

Before you get downtown, we should tell you about our parking.  We have TONS of available parking in downtown Ashland, both on the streets and in lots.  What many people don’t know is that we have a monster, 200 space lot not one minute from Main Street (seriously, it’s one minute - we did an experiment for that, too).  If you are coming up 42 from Mansfield, stay left when 42 bypasses the city and stay on Claremont, and as you crest the hill and come rolling down toward our Main Street, you will see the Ashland Public Library and Ashland Municipal Building on your left.  Immediately across the street from the Municipal Building is a street that takes you to our parking lot B.  This lot is the home to our Wednesday farmers market and our drive-in movies.  The city income tax office is in the corner (in fact, their sign at the corner of the entrance to the parking lot and Claremont Avenue should help you find the lot).  You can jam a whole bunch of cars back here (trust us- we know), and be no more than five minutes away from anything in downtown.  Indulge us here, please, while we get on our soapbox.  From the parking lot, you may say, “wow, these Main Street people are alittle loco- we can’t even see Main Street from here!”  Well, that’s because unlike modern, sprawling one story buildings with modern, sprawling, acres of parking lots, the silly people who built our downtown erected these tall, gorgeous, three story buildings all over the place.  Trust us; it will take you more time to walk from the parking lot at Walmart to the store than it will take you to walk from the farthest corner of lot B to the opposite corner of downtown Ashland.  We know - we do it all the time.  In heels. 

Huh.  Funny story - we have used up our allotted bonding time with you today discussing parking lots and our merchants.  Now that you know where to park and how much time to allot, come to downtown Ashland this weekend and check us out.  It is supposed to be beautiful this weekend - where better to spend a gorgeous summer day than strolling through a gorgeous downtown?


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