A View From Main Street

So many are concerned, “What is happening to Main Street?” I am not so stressed over it. I have lived and roamed Main Street for a long, long, long, long time (too many longs you may say. Well, it was better than stating my age). Anyone living here over the years has seen it change over many times. Heck, at the age of eight, I used to buy jack knives at Lindahl’s Sporting Goods and Gifts (which is now Lure’s of the North). We would hang around Pioneer Drug store (now Eagle Wings Fashion) and buy Cherry Cokes for a nickel, that sounds like a cliché but it is true. Olson Bros. Grocery Store, Wickland’s Hardware, Inhoff Drug, Hallmark Store, Coast to Coast Hardware, and Dunster’s are just to name a few of the many stores no longer existing.

Main Street will be different, that is okay. Retailing has changed, that also is okay. Some fresh innovative ideas will pop up giving a whole new look, theme and experience to our town. Maybe that is what keeps people coming to Hayward: the fact that it is changeable, but always the same. By saying it is the same, is to say that the small town feel, the friendliness and the slow down from the hub bub they are getting away from is all still there. We should be proud and certainly encouraging our little “big” town. Look what we are capable of during Birkie and Lumberjack.

Many of those years ago, I worked in the office for the Lake Superior District Power Company (now Xcel Energy. See, even the big boys change). We didn’t have a chance to stroll Main Street or the sites around town; we were busy making a living. At least once a year, my husband and I would take a few days off and be “tourists”. You can you know, you can be a tourist in your own town. Actually, I bet some tourists know your town better than you. So put your mind in their shoes. Visit the Fishing Hall of Fame, Wilderness Walk, go go-karting, play mini golf and attend a Scheer’s Lumberjack show. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Take the kids or not, it doesn’t matter. Just go have some fun in your own hometown. Then roam or stroll the streets of Hayward. The businesses will love to see you gracing them with your presence and when they ask where you are visiting from, you can proudly say, “Hayward, WI.”

Here is a hint of what you may find…Riverbrook Bike and Ski has great clothing, not just bikes and skis. Vape Escape is putting in a new cigar humidor. Maybe you know someone who likes that sort of thing. Gourmet Popcorn has quite a selection of various items, but the best is the smell of popcorn. You won’t leave without a bag to munch on. Hayward Mercantile, if you live in Hayward and haven’t been here than you need counseling, Max and his olive oils and balsamic vinegars are a treat waiting for you. Hayward Coffee offers a variety of different tastes for you coffee coinsures. Stop in and take a moment to enjoy. Nordic Northwoods has expanded and looks great. You don’t have to be Scandinavian; maybe after visiting here you will want to be. Sophie’s Dog Bakery and Women’s Boutique is a gem. The Royal Wedding and the Kentucky Derby are coming up in May and you can find the perfect hat here, but if you are not going to either of those you will find something for any other occasion. And don’t forget the pooch! The Firehouse Bakery is one of my favorite stops. Few towns have a bakery they can brag about, but here is one. Main Street Tacos just opened up and immediately became a big hit. Ahlgren’s is another place that if you haven’t stopped in the last few years you will be in for a big surprise. You don’t have to travel a long distance or take a chance on ordering on-line on something that will come and be a complete mystery. You can stop in at Ahlgren’s and find really good quality dress type clothing for very reasonable prices. Here is an idea: you can feel it, try it on for sizing and judge the color against your skin all right there. Outdoor Ventures is full of wonderful sport and dress wear for men and women. You have to stop in. You just have to. This is getting too long winded but the point—check it out. It is tough to hear people say, “ I haven’t been on Main Street for years.” Why wouldn’t you? People from other towns drive one-two hours just to have a stroll on Main Street. You can do just as I have suggested in your own back yard.

As the stores, buildings, businesses change; don’t worry—it is part of our history, part of the evolution of commerce and really part of people taking a chance on a store front. People are making a go of it, loving it, putting their hearts into it, but then we age and we want to pass the baton onto the next person. They will then take their idea and build it, nurture it, grow it, love it and hope you the public will, too.

So yes, the view is changing. Is it obsolete? No. Needing your participation? Yes. Quitting? No.

- Barbara Hand

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