To shop or not to shop that was the question. My wife and I just returned from a very much needed day “away from the farm.” What we had decided to do was to get away from the smokie haze of the wind drift smog and take refuge on the north shore of Lake Superior.
Everything is changing!
First of all the drive took us through some of the most beautiful areas of northern Minnesota and past some of the range cites/towns on our way to the Great Lakes. The closer we got to Duluth the cleaner and more clear the air became. The “fog” had lifted, the clouds had all begun to thin, and soon the air was pure and clean and clear. With a windless temp in low seventies the Lake emerged smooth as glass and all the troubles we had been smothered by back home receded into the darkest parts of our concious awareness! What a change! Words are not good enough to describe how we felt. If only you had been with us you would know!
Along the way other changes were obvious. Some of the old tourist trap shops were still present, but every once in a while a new one or two or three had been built and/or sprung up in the old locations since we last made the trip. The brightly colored signs, the out front displays and the many clutches of curious folks such as us were coming and going. We couldn’t decide where to stop. But once we had gone to the end of Minnesota point and back, visited with an old frined, and made our way to one of the finest restaurants in Duluth, we began to relax and make plans for the rest of the day! So much was new and so many of our favorites were still there, we had a hard time mapping out our course for the rest of the day! WOW!
What about the shops?
There are hundreds of them. All over the place. How could we do justice to the seductive invitations? Maybe its the color of the paint. Maybe the architectual style, or maybe it was simply that we had been to that shop before and we knew what to expect. We have tried a lot of them; bar food restaurants, candy stores, clothing hangouts, ice cream parlours, pie shops, hand made this or that, artisan studios, and the places of learning that peddle their fare and finished products! We even stopped at the “absolutely must do” shop, the smoked cisco favorite of the driver of our car!
Let me degress here a little bit to make a point about different retail shops as I see them. There are those who “make it” and are successful, and those who come and go like these beautiful days on the North Shore. The survivors are the ones that are here to stay and they always have been. When you go into one of them you know immediately why you are there! Maybe its polished agates, clearly handmade wrought iron, or yum delicious pie alamode. There’s no guessing, there are no hooks, there’s no opportunistic proprietor trying to sell somethinig, anything, using the language of market blab just to make a few cents on over priced “ClutterStuff” picked up somewhare or nabbed at a clearance sale of dusty imports.
When sisters love to make candy and are pasionate about it you know! It looks like candy, smells like candy, and tastes like candy! And once you’ve tried some you can’t be told otherswise and you will go back again and again to get some more! Then there are…
The ClutterStuff Shoppes!
Since I live in metropolitan with over a million people, I am familier with shopping! I’ve been taken shopping, I’ve been made to go shopping, I’ve even exercised my perogative by going shoping by myself, for myself, and without any kind of restraint (That’s another story!). I want you to know that I know a great shop when I see one. I also know a “crap shop” when I get sucked into one! If you are thinking about starting a business and opening a shop then, please, oh please, don’t make a great idea turn into a cesspool or dump of cast offs! Here I must tread lightly, but let me say that in my opinion, if you have a passion and a great idea then go for it. But make sure that your shop is identifiable both within and wthout. Don’t let some fast talkng consonee talk you into making your shop look like a collection of a “pickers” dumpster! Everything in your shop should serve the underlying core business you want to pursue. If you want to sell junk then call it a “junk” store, “Grandma’s suff unlimited” or “Tools Grandpa couldn’t wear out!”
Sometimes churches are like that! You walk through the door to the sanctuary and it smells like “pot Luck.” You look at the outside marquee and you’s think the pastor’s sermons are going to be some of the biggest jokes. Seating yourself in a beautiful quiet place to search your heart and recieve peace for your soul, and what happens, the ear splitting thumping and banging of heavy metal is served up endlessly. No “Good news to be heard, only a steady flow of psycho bable designed to make you feel good and live in the delusion that “all is well.” When you leave you move away to the quiet of a noisy world wondering about the definition of “Church!” Is this a “ClutterStuff Church like to many others?
May your church be about Our Lord Jesus Christ. Now may The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus!
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