Let’s Watch the Old Year Die, With a Fond Goodbye

by Nancy Bestor

2018 is over, and I’m reminded of the saying “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” It was a year that had a few challenges, and I’m not even talking about politics. Dear friends struggled with health issues, we said farewell to some local retail neighbors, and the wildfires of the West Coast wreaked havoc with our fresh air, and with some of our summer business as well.

But perhaps these lessons will remind us (or me anyway) that I have to remember what I’m thankful for. Because the truth is, I am blessed. Bob and I have lived for 25 years in a great small town.  We’ve raised our daughters in a community that cares, and as they embark on their lives in Portland and Seattle, I hope they can keep some of that small town community in their hearts.  In February, it will be 25 years that we’ve been running Travel Essentials. I’m certain in 1994 I didn’t imagine that we would be here 25 years later. But let’s be honest, when I was 27 years old, I didn’t picture myself as a 52-year-old woman with grey hair either.

Being a small independent retailer sounds glamorous. Or at least it did 25 years ago. Yes, I’m my own boss. I can make my own hours, and run my business the way I want to. But when I have to do something that I don’t like, I can’t pawn it off on the boss, because I am the boss. And it does have its challenges in the world of online corporate giant retailers too. But the negatives are far outweighed by the positives.

Every day, delightful long-time customers come in and tell us about their upcoming travels, or regale us with great stories of recent adventures. They ask about our kids, show us pictures of their grand-babies, let us pet their dogs, and remind us that good people are everywhere.

We work side-by-side with amazing coworkers who make us laugh and brighten our days. Our employees treat Travel Essentials like it is their own business, and I’d like to think that most, if not all, of our coworkers are also our friends.

And the people of our city care about their community. So many people have stopped in to check on our business after the summer smoke set everyone back. That heartfelt concern makes it somewhere I want to keep living and working.

Bob, Emily, Sarah and I have a family tradition that the four of us, and only the four of us, work together in the store on Christmas Eve. I was joking with our daughters about that recently, saying “some families hike or play games on Christmas Eve. Our family works.” They both said it’s a tradition that they love, and there’s no where else they’d rather be. Truth be told, I feel the same way.

We’ll look forward to seeing more of you in 2019, along with your grand-babies, your dogs, and your amazing travel stories. Happy New Year, from our family to yours.

4 thoughts on “Let’s Watch the Old Year Die, With a Fond Goodbye

  1. Meg Rosenfeld says:

    We come up to Ashland every year, and never fail to drop in to Travel Essentials, not only because the merchandise is top-notch, but because the family who owns and runs the shop is so outstandingly nice, friendly, savvy, helpful, and just about every other good adjective I can think of! You really are a major part of Ashland!

  2. Violet Schindler says:

    Aloha and Blessed New Year. Each time I read your newsletter, I feel like droppig by your store to buy more easypacking cubes and items. Then I can not wait to plan my next trip.I traveled to Maui Oct 9 for2weeks and ended up staying 6 weeks to housesit at a friend’s condo. I packed enough for 8 days and that covered my needs. I’m finally learning to travel light after hearing the wonderful talks on how to pack for 7days a dude a medium suitase.Be well. I hope you keep the store for many more years. I’ll be by again. Mahalo for your kindness and cheerfulness always.

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