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Keeping Up

February 16, 2016
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

There's an old expression, "Keeping Up With The Joneses" which has been used to address that mindset that people have that goes, "if my neighbor has something, well then, I should have it, too."

From what I've been able to deduce, the expression appears to have come of age in the 1950's, when the Greatest Generation began migrating to Suburbia, and the rapid growth of conveniences that are commonplace today, such as televisions, were the latest and greatest things. As stories go, if there was one family on a block that got the newest appliance or convenience, such as a console TV, many of the neighbors would visit to see it, then go home and figure out how they too could get that item so that "they could keep up with the Joneses."

Over time, the expression has slipped out of the forefront of everyday life back into the outer fringes, but there are still times when the latest fad or the newest item creates a furor and the game begins again.

A recent example might have been when Smartphones hit the market. Forgive the plug, but when Apple first introduced the IPhone, people camped out for days outside Apple Stores in order to get one, and with each successive generation of the device, there has been a rush for people to get the latest and greatest model.

Personally, I got my first Smart phone, an IPhone 5, three years ago and it still works just fine, but it's now three generations old.

Anyhow, there's always been a mentality of people wanting what someone else has. Wars have been fought over it, but locally, here's a better example.

The Emmetsburg area was pleased to learn late last Fall that a Shopko Hometown store was going to be constructed in the community. The addition of another retail business to the community is welcomed not only for the options it will offer to shoppers, but also for the tax revenues and employment opportunities it will provide. Successess such as this are sources of pride for a community and the people who work hard day after day to keep their communities viable.

Our neighbors in Estherville found themselves surprised by the announcement of the Shopko Hometown store being located in Emmetsburg. After all, there had been a Shopko Hometown in Estherville not that many years ago, but the store closed, and was soon followed by the closure of an ALCO store - which also happened in Emmetsburg.

Folks in Estherville repeatedly contacted Shopko, asking them to reconsider Estherville for a location, but were turned down time and time again.

But in the past week, it was announced that a Shopko Hometown will open in the former ALCO location in Estherville.

How did it happen? Estherville Economic Development officials admit it up front - they copied what Emmetsburg did in terms of community incentives - to entice the retailer to take a second chance on their community.

To me, this is an example of "Keeping Up With The Joneses" and yet, we need to remember that we live in a highly competitive society. We can never stop thinking outside the box on how to promote our communities and make them appealing.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - Emmetsburg should be flattered that Estherville copied what this community had done to achieve success.

But we cannot rest on laurels. Keeping a community growing and vital is a never-ending job. Everyone, working together helps a community keep up with the Joneses.



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