Recently I have had the opportunity to be awakened to what many in America already know, the lust for the dollar has resulted in the advent of the “big” stores and restaurant chains thus driving out that personal, small-town emotional experience for all of us.  

Fish markets are all but gone. As a child I used to go with my dad to the hardware store. We weren’t going just to get nails and we didn’t go to Sears, which was a lot closer. We were going to see Mr. Campbell (“Hal,” to dad). Mr. Campbell always knew just the right things for the job. We would be there for hours.

Mr. Campbell’s is probably gone now, a victim of The Home Depot or Lowes.  

Our local businesses deserve our support. It is the American way to root for the underdog or stick up for the little guy. Can our spirit be bought? Is West Linn not a special place that deserves better? As I go to the farmers market, sit at B.J. Willy’s and meet new friends, have my coffee at Bullseye, I know I live in a special place.  

What brought about this discovery for me? A simple flower shop.

Like most men, or people maybe, life is a rush and I seldom slow down and smell the roses. I will grab flowers from the grocery store and think I have done a good thing but, I discovered, I cheat myself of a larger experience.  

The other day I walked into Morrow’s Flowers. Immediately I was taken to faraway places and exotic lands. They had just received a shipment of fresh flowers from Hawaii and I was suddenly back on Maui, combined with the sweet scents from other places.  

Have you ever tried to ask your grocery clerk for advice on bouquets, plants or decor ideas? The results could be a disaster. The staff at Morrow’s are friendly and helpful. They are full of insightful advice from arrangements for special occasions to decorating ideas. I was reminded of why my dad went to Mr. Campbell’s. 

The environment is warm and inviting. I was tempted to get a cup of coffee, grab a good book, grab a chair and just relax in the smells, design and friendly people. I would have never thought a simple flower shop would have such a profound impact on my insights.

Flowers are an emotional gift and the experience of buying flowers should be the same. This will not happen at a grocery store. I encourage everyone to support local business and share my experience and please let me know if you experience what I have experienced.  

Shawn W. Laird is a resident of West Linn.

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