A mutual friend of my wife and I is often citing the phrase, "Unique & different".
That is Newburyport.
In contrast, it is great knowing that if I walk into a McDonalds in Seattle, Washington that the Big Mac I purchase is at the same quality as the one I purchase on Storey Avenue. If I need a shirt at Sears or Target, I can be reasonably sure that my favorite brand will be available in San Diego than it is at the North Shore Mall.
Speaking of the mall, I recently visited the North Shore and I came away very depressed. Sure it was bright and cheerful, but every shop was selling clothing, and more clothing, and more clothing and anything different than clothing was pushed out into the darkest corner of the stores. I walked away from the Mall feeling flat.
The problem arises when our world is surrounded by sameness and uniformity.
Newburyport is actually doing a great service for humanity by being a place of creativity, unique shops and authentic history. I still remember this classic beginning scene in Joe vs. the Volcano showing the people morosely marching off to work. Without distinctiveness and variety, the human spirit becomes crushed.
"The human spirit requires constant nourishment; otherwise, it slowly fades and is replaced by behavior that becomes essentially robotic.”
Frank Rooney, Newburyport (16 Jan 09, Daily News)
It is literally soul-lifing and refreshing when people come to Newburyport. Sure, they can try to live in imitation colonial buildings and try to spruce up uniqueness in their suburban homes but in the end, it’s here that it is real: real history, authentic architecture and a genuine community. That is why people love Newburyport. There is magic in the air and it comes from many contributing sources.
We have a thriving art community that is located here precisely because Newburyport inspires the soul and is a hotbed for creativity.
That is why it is so important that each shop in the City provides unique products. Selling something that can be purchased at K-mart is cheating the experience. Displaying products that are easy to get to (with ample parking) and probably cheaper at the mall is robbing visitors of why they come here.
In today’s Daily News insert, the Brass Lyon indicated that simple objects such as wood signs with the name, Newburyport, on them are selling off the shelves as well as objects like Newburyport on a coffee mug! What’s hot? Candles and soap! Why? There is a Newburyport Candle Company and a Plum Island Soap Company. People want to purchase items that uniquely identify themselves with our beautiful city. Creative retailers will find a way to make many different and yes, even useful products that can be identified with our city.
And where else can creativity occur?