By Maggie M, Editor, Publisher, theWedge.LIVE
Elizabeth Hess is a creative force in the small–yet world renown–village of Westport, Ontario. She operates the Creative Gardens off of its main street, a shop and atelier for her floral creations.
Hess was working on a stellar Valentine’s Day campaign and her telescopic mind was also percolating on Mother’s Day when we last spoke in January. She was also gearing up to launch the on-line version of her shop–with delivery.
Then tragedy struck.
Last week, a large deer collided with her vehicle’s grill and rolled onto her hood, almost destroying it. It cannot be driven. It was her lone vehicle. The insurance company is not cooperating due a series of unfortunate snafoos. Seven thousand dollars for repairs was her Achilles heel.
It seems this was the final act–or axe–after a year of struggles. The formidable Hess I know was an open wound on our call today. I felt her despair. I heard her tears.
It shook me to my marrow to hear such a strong, vivacious talent contemplate the end of her dreams. We’ve all been there.
So many local businesses struggle to make ends meet despite the passionate campaigners for buying local. Inclement weather, the rise of Amazon, and frankly, lack of support from economic development all factor in.
The fate of Creative Gardens lies in Elizabeth’s ability to pull herself up–again. It seems an endless struggle in this seasonal town; but, this story resonates with shop owners across Ontario–and the nation.
It takes a village, to keep a village viable.
Is our nation to descend into a land of vacant malls, boarded shops, replaced by robotic warehouses of stuff of uncertain origin? Has the world forgotten the merits of delayed gratification? What has become of going out, touching something in its real physical form, pressing hands, and hearing “Nice to see you again”? Or picking up the phone and ordering a dozen roses?
Instead the world increasingly clicks in seconds items they want on-line. Fact is, some goodies cannot be had in that vaporous space: original creations un-replicated elsewhere.
Westport is a haven for artisanal creatives. I have combed through the village from its marina right up to its renown winery and featured many in theWedge. The village streets are dotted with them. Amazon that!
You can reach Hess in the banner image in the right column. Or visit her shop on-line. Or better, show up and meet her in person. You can make a difference.
This is a time that tries all of us but not if we keep talking and supporting each other.