Tag Archives: Blondie’s Coffee Out Back

Opportunities in a Small Town

My name is Brea Baxter and I am currently 18 years old. My parents are Scott and Carla Baxter, and I have three brothers: Brady, Brett, and Briar. I was born and raised here in DeWitt. I just graduated Central DeWitt High School and will be attending the University of Iowa in the fall… go hawks!

Growing up in a small town has given me many opportunities in which I am very grateful for; such as being able to run around the neighborhood as a child and knowing many people around the community who have supported me for years. I’ve always felt safe in the community and I think that is something I have taken for granted.

When I was in third grade; I had just gotten off the bus from St. Joseph’s Catholic School to Ekstrand Elementary, joyfully hopping onto my bike to venture home. I was about halfway there when suddenly, I lost control and crashed. As I sat there crying, I realized I was unable to walk, later finding out that I had broken my ankle. Minutes passed by until finally, a lady in a van pulled up to me, quickly rolling down her window, anxiously questioning if I was okay. Unsure, I nervously respond to the stranger, announcing that I had hurt my ankle in the wreck and was unable to walk. She then responded, asking if I would like a ride home. At that specific point, I was a little hesitant because I had no idea who this lady was, but before I could respond, she stepped out of her car and loaded my bike into her van. After getting my bicycle situated, she walked over to me, swiftly picking me up into her passenger seat. She drove me right towards my house, without me even giving her directions… it turns out she was a friend of my parents! After that incident, I felt as safe as I could be, and that’s all because of growing up in a small town. 

This past year I had the pleasure of working at Meant to Be with Flowers and Blondies Coffee Out Back. I started out working for Lisa Duffy and Beth Hughes in the summer of 2018, and I soon fell in love with the work. I had signed up for the Internship class which is offered through the high school for seniors and was unsure of where I wanted to do it. After a few weeks of working with Lisa and Beth, it was very clear that I wanted to do my internship with them and learn more about the small business world. Throughout my internship, I had the honor of learning more about the principles of home decor and flower arrangements, multitasking and time management, along with organizational skills. I have gotten more comfortable with customer service and have learned the basics of how a small business operates. I even had the opportunity to go to the DCDC Year in Review and Annual Meeting of 2019 where I learned about the success of all the local businesses. One of my favorite parts of working in a small community is knowing many customers by name and knowing their drink when they pull up to the drive-through and say, “I’ll take my usual.” It makes you feel like you have a sense of community, which is exactly what the smaller businesses in DeWitt offer for everyone. Having business owners and employees greet you, smiling, showing that they care about their customers makes any experience better, but especially when picking up flower arrangements from Meant to Be with Flowers, or getting a coffee from me in the mornings at Blondies Coffee Out Back.

Overall, I never could imagine not living in a small town, like DeWitt. Through different hardships, the community has endured like sports games won and lost, transitioning students from old school buildings to brand new ones, or new businesses coming to town, all the people of DeWitt have come together and gone through it as one. DeWitt is not only a place where you want to shop but also a place where you and your family can live safely, as me and mine have for 25+ years.

Brea Baxter

Your Assignment: Shop Local!! Due Date: December 25th

 

Let’s talk shopping.  Ladies smile and get that hint of excitement when they hear that word.  Guys: probably not so much, but there could be a way to change that…

I personally hate shopping, I really do.  I know, I’m a woman and I’m supposed to be giddy at the idea.  Dropping me at the mall with three hours to kill is like torture.  You would most likely find me in a corner at Barnes and Noble with a stack of books waiting for everyone else in my group to be done with their shopping excursions. But, I dare to say there are certain shopping scenarios I can enjoy.  You know that day when you weren’t planning on buying anything but you find the absolute most perfect gift for someone?  That unique gift that you bought the day you had half hour to kill so you walked through that little store in town.

You knew right where I was going with this, didn’t you?  But think about it, shopping local is almost always one of the most rewarding and fun kind of shopping there is.  Right here in DeWitt, we are so very lucky to have numerous unique stores and shops.  I know women from all over who plan day trips to come to DeWitt.  They have some lunch at Whisk Away Cafe & Bakery, and then walk 6th Avenue all afternoon.  I often hear from out of town family and friends just how friendly people are here; and I know that firsthand.  My mom, who often comes from Dubuque to buy her home décor here, is always greeted with a smile and helpful advice when she walks into Meant To Be, her favorite store.  My daughter is always treated as a “mini shopper” there as well and loves being the little jellybean sampler!  Keeping these unique businesses running and thriving adds to the charming character of our community.  And I’m not just talking the antique and craft stores; I’m talking all of our businesses.  We’re lucky to have Barnes Foodland in DeWitt.  They are continually upgrading and adding more selection.  For someone like me with Celiac Disease I especially appreciate that I can now buy some gluten free foods right here in DeWitt and do not have to drive to outside areas.

So let’s do some Christmas shopping this month or next!  If we all bought just one or two Christmas gifts in DeWitt, think of the money that would be staying right here in our community instead of going to a big chain store.  Get your child’s birthday cake from Whisk Away Cafe & Bakery, grab those groceries at Barnes Foodland, expand your wardrobe at The Family Tree, enjoy a coffee at Blondie’s Coffee Out Back drive-thru instead of Starbucks, or take the family to a weekend matinee at the DeWitt Operahouse.  And guys here’s the easy part – drive those few minutes it takes to get downtown and buy your lady something nice from Necker’s Jewelers, or that antique table at Emma Rae’s Antiques & Uniques that she said would look striking in the dining room.

Yes, I have learned that shopping does not have to be torture; it can actually be very enjoyable.  It’s a proven scientific fact (in my mind anyway) that local businesses hire the best people.  The business owners and their staff are our friends and neighbors and their customer service makes shopping locally so very worth it!

Lisa LeConte, DeWitt Resident and Mother