When thinking of Boone, and indeed all of Watauga County, the image that comes to mind is downhome character.

One of the things that typifies that feeling is our local businesses that cannot be duplicated or mass produced. The downhome goodness that comes from our friends and neighbors, who have honed their craft to deliver a unique taste, cannot come out of a mass produced recipe. The local folks who work in these businesses provide the neighborly service often lacking in one-size-fits-all national chains.

Tourists and their dollars are a major part of the yearly income for most local businesses. My fear is that if Boone and Watauga do not open up soon, we will lose those local businesses.

I am not suggesting that downtown would be empty. I’m sure many national stores and restaurants and retailers would rush to fill the void, as Boone and Watauga are premier destinations in the High Country. But to my mind, a bagel out of a box, or soup out of a can, cannot replace what we now have: neighborly service can never be replaced by a corporate script.

It is my hope that the county and town will implement safe guidelines for businesses to open up so we can save the special down home neighborly feeling that is our home. Watauga and the towns in it do not need to lose what makes it a unique place to live work and visit. Community does not come in a can or box. Community does come from a common goal to save what is worth saving and to collectively overcome what threatens our uniqueness.

Greg Tarbutton


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(1) comment


Being "down home" is nice, but what we must do is to get our businesses open, get employees back to work, save our small businesses, get back to our church families and put our kids back in schools and ball fields! We are free Americans and our elected officials and agency bureaucrats work for us, and not the other way around! We know if sick, go to our doctor, stay home and do not mix inside a room or assembly without a mask, and use disinfectant and clean our hands at every opportunity. Put our parents back to work and kids back in school. We are adults and do not need a authoritarian government as too many of our politicians visualize and dream about! Stop eliminating our rights and freedoms guaranteed in the US


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