Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Still Has that New Year Smell

Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation said Seneca a first century Roman philosopher, and as we begin a brand new year, let's hope we get the requisite portion of luck, personally and as a city.

Thomas Jefferson once offered "I am a great believer  in luck and I find the harder I work, the more of it I have." And if the display window at 102-110 Main Street in Chelsea is an indicator of how prepared small businesses are, opportunity will barely have to knock at all.

But I've gotten ahead of myself, again. Last Thursday most of New England was digging out from and/or bracing for a nasty winter storm that dropped a lot of snow on people who didn't get sleds for Christmas. Around here we were getting sporadically drizzled upon during one of those cheerless gray days we could complain about except, checking the calendar, who would we be kidding?

It was a decent enough day for me to walk from Franklin Square up Main Street, between the Wauregan Hotel and Shannon Building, past the Haymarket Building and Mercantile Exchange all the way to the Carroll Building and then back up Washington Street and home to Lincoln Avenue (in light of yesterday's events, I thought I should work that in).

My family and I didn't live in Norwich when, the stories and sages say, it was so crowded on Thursday evenings children walked in the street to give adults more room on the sidewalks but I passed a goodly number of people out and about at the lunch hour grabbing themselves something to eat and running errands. Downtown looks very different when you had a human element in reasonable quantity.

I noticed people pausing as they passed just beyond the intersection of Main with Market Street and with good reason. Next door to the office of the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce is a display window collaboration of three businesses not (yet) in Norwich but close at hand who are using a still-vacant storefront to catch the passer's-by eye.

For anyone in the market for wedding services, the storefront is as close to one-stop heaven as you can get in this zip code. The owners of Ideas and Innovations, Love Me Two Times and the Chocolate Rose Bake Shop have joined forces to offer a sample of everything you might need, except the justice of the peace (who may be available through Amazon, which would explain the smile on the box).

The marketing outreach is an offshoot of some work in late December together with the Norwich Community Development Corporation and 110 Main LLC who own the building where the display brightens up a piece of the sidewalk you might otherwise take for granted.

Think of it as a trial balloon or a test run but more than that, a hopeful way to begin our New Year. We've spent a lot of time in Norwich bemoaning our fate and wondering when our luck might change-perhaps Seneca and Jefferson would agree this year the best luck we should have is the luck we make ourselves.
-bill kenny      

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