Small Town, Big Hearts

Small Town, Big Hearts

Back in August, I visited my hometown near Minden, Louisiana for an event where Sweet Baton Rouge participated as a vendor. I moved to the town of Minden when I was in kindergarten and lived there only for a few short years before we moved to a town called Athens, Louisiana. The place I called home for over eleven years. 

Small towns have a unique beauty – they're interconnected, fostering a strong sense of community. I visit Minden as often as I can and it always has such a community-driven spirit. This past August, I stayed at the cutest Fuller House, a detached garage loft sitting in the backyard of one of Minden’s most historic homes by Simply Southern Cottage. Sara, the creative force behind Simply Southern Cottage, isn't just making waves in her charming Louisiana town - she's caught the eye of HGTV! Featured on Hometown Kickstart, Sara's passion for transforming forgotten spaces into beautiful havens is sparking nationwide inspiration. You can read this article about how HGTV’s “Making over Minden” and her impact along with other incredible small businesses. So refreshing to see! Sara will also be a keynote speaker at the BRBW Women’s Retreat here in Baton Rouge, LA on March 8th. Reserve your spot today and save $49 with code SBR when you register.

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I haven’t stayed in Minden since I was in the second grade. It was so neat to go back home and stay for two days. My dad who still lives in North Louisiana met up with me, and it was truly heartwarming to revisit not just Minden, but also my old house on Louisiana Ave with him.

Growing up, I lived on 300 acres in the country. Oh, the stories I could tell you of the exploring I did! We had lots of ponds and a square-acre garden. I shelled purple hull peas most summers and picked them into gallon buckets. One memory that vividly stands out—as a teenager, I assisted my dad in tracking a deer he'd been hunting. With the blood trail lost, he sought my brother's help but he wasn’t home so I volunteered instead. Despite the pouring rain, we shared a special moment working together – a memory I cherish to this day. My dad has always been my rock, someone I can rely on unconditionally. He's a pillar of kindness and goodwill, and that hasn't changed.

From revisiting our old house to strolling down memory lane on our childhood street, and even a visit to my high school, it was a day filled with laughter and happy memories, reminding me of the incredible people and sense of community that enriched my small-town upbringing. Minden, along with the surrounding towns, hold a significant place in my life reminding me that community spirit exists wherever we call home.

Small Town, Big Hearts Sweet Baton Rouge Blog

While strolling through Minden's charming downtown, lined with its iconic brick streets, a bittersweet thought struck me. The vacant storefronts and remnants of once-thriving businesses painted a poignant picture. While I commend Minden's efforts to revitalize the town and attract new ventures, these empty spaces served as a stark reminder of the struggles faced by small businesses everywhere. Last year, like many others, was brutal for us and the communities around us. Businesses closing, dreams deferred, and the weight of uncertainty burdened countless entrepreneurs. We've experienced our own share of highs and lows, and the stress – for ourselves, our team, and the future of our business – has been immense. However, amidst the struggle, we recognize ourselves as fortunate. The outpouring of customer support has been our anchor and a testament to the power of community!

Small Town, Big Hearts Sweet Baton Rouge Blog

But my thoughts extend beyond our own journey. I look at small towns like Minden, once bustling with local commerce, and I wonder – how can we, as a collective, do more? How can we amplify the "shop local" movement and empower these businesses to not just survive, but thrive? Every dollar spent locally strengthens the fabric of our communities, creates jobs, and keeps the local business going.

By choosing local businesses like Sweet Baton Rouge®, you're not just buying a t-shirt, you're rewriting history. You're ensuring vibrant communities remain resilient and spirited, brimming with local love.

Here's why shopping with us makes a difference:

  • Quality over Quantity: Local stores prioritize quality over quantity, offering carefully selected products. Sweet Baton Rouge's locally printed, exclusive designs reflect our commitment to quality.
  • Local Love, Amplified: Small businesses think outside of the box when it comes to our customers to make sure we are doing everything we can for the customer. You are always top of mind at Sweet Baton Rouge®.⁣
  • Community Connections: Sweet Baton Rouge® isn't just a store, We work hard to build strong social connections among customers, creating a sense of community. Plus, we actively contribute to local causes, enriching the community we call home. We believe in investing in our community

Buying local is an investment in the future of our community, our neighbors, and the very essence of town. Small town, big hearts. If you dig, you’ll see your local communities doing big things. Because this story is all about my hometown of Minden, we couldn’t not share what big things this town has done for St Jude Cancer research.

The Minden St. Jude Auction started decades ago on a local radio station. Each year around the Super Bowl weekend, this event raises over $2 million annually – all thanks to the incredible spirit of this small town coming together. As someone who has lived there as a child and gone back as an adult with different eyes, witnessing this event and community fills me with hope for the power of community and local businesses working hand-in-hand.

The Minden St. Jude Auction is a beacon of hope for me, reminding us that even small towns can make a big difference, seeing a small town come together in community for a big cause and the local businesses supporting one another. I hope this blog shines a beautiful light on what small businesses and communities can do together! 

Thanks for having me share my love for my hometowns and walk down memory lane with you! We couldn't be here for thirteen and half years if it wasn't for your continued love & support! Thank you for making this small town girl feel so special! 

XOXO - Meredith and Mr. John (my dad) 

Small Town, Big Hearts