Walmart is Coming to Montrose?
It is according to the sixth grade students in Ms. Rovello’s class at Lincoln Elementary in La Crescenta where I had the privilege of being principal for the day on behalf of the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce.
It was a great experience and it really felt more like camp than school. My day started off greeting every student personally by opening their car door for them as they entered the drop off zone. Principal Williams knows each student by name and the students seem to revel in the attention and look forward to their personal greeting to start their day. Then I helped to deliver “Kids News” over the intercom to all the classrooms, which includes a question for the day.
The question of the day was, “What is a chamber of commerce?” The classrooms I was able to visit all came up with some interesting comments. The most interesting fact I learned from one of the classes was that the chamber of commerce dates back to the Roman Empire. It began as a “marketplace” where the commerce of the city was done in a room (chamber). I had never heard that before. So I can say I learned a new thing at school that day!
One of the things that impressed me the most about the school was the culture that Principal Williams has created at Lincoln. It simply is, “You don’t learn just to learn, but you need to take what you learned and figure out how it applies to your everyday life.” Then the knowledge becomes reality. This teaches the kids life skills and problem solving and they will carry those skills with them for the rest of their lives.
The most interesting part of my day was when I was able to spend an extended period of time in a sixth grade class talking about what a chamber of commerce is and answering questions. The students were very interested and engaged in the process. But the class came alive when I asked the students what business they wanted to see in Montrose. Here are some of their responses: Game Stop, a scooter store, a prank and joke shop, a sports memorabilia store and, of course, a Walmart. I took every opportunity to explain to the class the difference between a large corporation and a small “mom and pop” store or small business. I’m not sure they understood that, but I did make sure to tell them that it was important for them to come to Montrose as often as they could to buy the things they need.
When the class said that what they really wanted was a Walmart, I thought to myself, “That conversation is for a another day.” I also knew that those of us who know and understand that we live in a global economy and see its effects on the economy everyday understand that it is the small businesses that make up the fabric of our local communities. We have to shop local and we have to support our local businesses or the large corporations of the world will come and take over and we will no longer have the quaint communities that we know and love and live in. When you walk into your local bookstore or clothing store and you touch and feel that which you are going to purchase, you make a personal connection. Let us not get so caught up in this digital age that we miss the magical moments of connection to the everyday joys of life. Those are the memories we look back on and our kids will look back on.
I talk to so many people everyday who grew up in Montrose and started businesses in Montrose and they stay here for the community feel. They remember riding their bikes down to Montrose to going to the theater or to the soda shop or to the local grab and go. Please shop local and help save this community for future generations to come.
Shop Montrose! Come to Montrose for the holidays. Montrose Old-Town Christmas continues every weekend until Christmas. Need that perfect Christmas gift for someone on your holiday list? Remember to shop local this holiday season. For a complete list of merchants in the area, log onto www.shopmontrose.com.
Don’t forget: For only $99 you can become a chamber member or renew an outdated chamber membership. Becoming a member ensures your business listing in our 2012-13 directory and a listing in our online digital directory. The directory is a great resource that is used by many people in the community.
Good Morning, Montrose on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 8 a.m. at the Montrose Chamber Office, 3516 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale, 91208. For details, call (818) 249-7171.
Installation and Community Recognition Awards on Thursday, Jan. 24.
Centennial February business mixer on Wednesday, Feb. 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Al’s Deli, 2332 Honolulu Ave., Montrose. Celebrating 60 years in business!
Montrose centennial celebration on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 on Honolulu Avenue.