Bestselling Author Delilah Devlin
HomeMeet Delilah
BookshelfBlogExtrasEditorial ServicesContactDelilah's Collections


Genevive Chamblee: Maintaining Community
Sunday, April 28th, 2024

For years, I’d driven past a small white house on a busy commercial street without paying it much attention. It had been converted into a coffee shop during the era when coffee shops were all the rage (likely due to the series, Friends). Drinking coffee has always been a thing in these parts but not a pastime. This is more of tea and “Coke” country. And when I say “Coke,” I’m not talking about the illegal white chalk. No, down South, any soft drink is referred to as “Coke.” If you ask someone if they want a Coke, you very well could be offering them a Sunkist or Mountain Dew or even a Pepsi. It’s all understood. I’m pretty sure the Coca-Cola people don’t appreciate that much—but then again, I can’t and don’t speak for the company or brand. That’s just my assumption that they wouldn’t as an issue of trademark genericide/genericization.

Coffee is the drink that gets a lot of people going in the morning and continue going during the day. It was considered by many a staple and not a pastime. For that reason, there was no need for a special place to go “have coffee.” And the reason it wasn’t considered a pastime wasn’t, as I implied, due to its unpopularity. Rather, it had to do with the heat.

It’s hot here in the South, and most people are trying to cool off and not warm up. They want something cold and refreshing. Beer fills that for many people. Ice (or iced) tea is another favorite. Thus, in the evenings, people weren’t rushing for a cup of steaming java. So, how was this place staying in business? The answer is simple. It was homegrown—a mom-and-pop. People went because it felt “homey” and was a place to hang out with friends. Sometimes, there was a band, but most times, there wasn’t. Students went there for a quiet place to study or as a getaway from home where they knew their parents wouldn’t create much of a fuss about them going. It was the quiet little place on the hill.

Then, one day as I was passing, I noticed new construction. And I recall my precise thought. “What used to be there?” It was one of those thoughts that only entered my mind as I was driving by, and then out of sight, out of mind. It took several weeks until one day it dawned on me that the building that was missing was the coffeeshop. It had been completely demolished and the rubble hauled away in less than an hour. What had happened?

The easy answer would be the illness that broke the world in 2020. I’m sure that had something to do with it. It certainly didn’t help. The poor economy could also be blamed. But what I’m guessing was its downfall is always what had made it successful: community support. People like me never really “supported” it. Sure, I always said things like, “I hear it’s really nice.” I never had a negative comment to make about it, but I also was never a customer. On those days and evenings when I wanted a quiet place to write, I always forgot about them. The students graduated and moved away. Friends went off the air. Trends changed. Additionally, before the pandemic, I’d heard some people complain that a few of the servers (who were related to the owners) were quite rude to customers. Because of the blood kin, some customers didn’t feel the rudeness would be addressed and took their business elsewhere. If it’s one thing a small business almost can never survive, it’s bad customer service.

I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of everything that happened with this business, but I do know that it is a loss for the community. However, there is a good chance that the community could have prevented the closing from happening.

What prompted me to write this post was I mentioned going to another mom-and-pop establishment only to be told that they had closed as well. It made me realize that I took so many of these small, local stores for granted. I always assumed that they would be there. But how could they be if people like me never graced their doors to give them business? It had been more convenient for me to go to a big business drive-thru than get out of my car, walk into the shop, and order from a small business. Because these small businesses didn’t have flashy neon lights or billboards across the city, I tended to forget about them. When I drove by, they faded into the background like shrubbery. But if I want the mom-and-pop stores to stick around, I’m going to have to do better.

Here are six ways to support small businesses.

  1. Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday occurs in November, generally following Black Friday. This day is designed to encourage people to shop locally and support small businesses during the holiday shopping boom. Large retailers go hard in advertising and promoting Black Friday sales and keep them going through the weekend. Of course, many have now begun starting their sales on Thursdays (or even earlier in the week) and offering pre-orders. For many consumers, these deals are appealing. However, it is important to remember that many small businesses may not be able to compete like this. So, please remember them and drop in their brick-and-mortar or shop at their online store.
  2. Lists. This is so simple to do, yet, many people don’t. Make a list of local businesses and keep the list on your phone or another convenient place. When you need to buy an item, refer to this list first. I had multiple opportunities to purchase my lunch from the coffee shop. I was going to spend the money anyway. But I forgot them as an option.
  3. Refer a friend. Many small businesses can’t afford large advertising budgets. They gain a lot of their business by word of mouth. It costs you nothing to give them a shoutout, especially if you enjoy what they have to offer. I see many of my friends on social media now doing this, and I have gone to some of these places as a result of seeing their posts.
  4. Mailing list. Ask small businesses if they have a mailing list and to add your name. This way you can keep up with sales and what is going on with them. One small business that I liked to shop (but was a little on the expensive side) moved. Because I didn’t go there frequently (again, because they were kinda expensive), I didn’t realize they had moved. By the time I went to the store, the sign stating they had moved had been removed, and another business was preparing to move it. It was almost eighteen months before I realized they had moved across town to an area that I consider a “destination” shopping ground. What I mean is, there are plenty of businesses in that area and parking is hellacious at best. When I go there, it is with the intention of going to a particular store for a specific item. I’m not browsing or wasting time. It’s not because it’s an unsafe area. On the contrary, the area is extremely nice. However, there aren’t many businesses that have items of interest to me, the layout of the stores is a little wonky, and again…parking.
  5. Social media. Along the same line as the mailing list, follow small businesses on their social media sites. It costs nothing and affords customers store and merchandise updates.
  6. Reviews. If the business has a place to leave a review, consider doing so. One review can go a long way. Plus, owners like having feedback on what they are doing right and what can be improved. That is what helps a business to grow.

That brings this post to a close. Now, it’s your turn to sound off. What did you think? What is your take on the subject? Do you agree or disagree? Did you find this information helpful or informative? Did you learn anything new, or did it change your opinion? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Also, let me know if you would like me to cover more of these types of topics or dive deeper into this one. If you like this post, please click the like button, and share it. Your feedback allows me to know the content that you want to read. If you’re not following me on Creole Bayou blog, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou.

Future Goals

It’s time to hit the ice again in Future Goals. If you enjoy hot hockey players and steamy romance, this is a sports romance novel for you.

When a college hockey player needs the help of an attractive older attorney, he gets more than he bargained for when trying to sort out the troubles in his career. Falling in love was never part of either man’s plan, especially as Corrigan’s and Sacha’s lives should never have collided. Now they’re left questioning if they’re standing in the way of the other’s future goals, or if there’s room for redirection.

Order your copy at:
Other booksellers:
**Available in hard copy and eBook. **

Did you miss the first four books in my hockey romance series? No frets.

For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or X (formerly tweet) me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search for me on Goodreads, Amazon Authors, BookBub, Bluesky, Threads, or TikTok.

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click and sign up today.

Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Laissez le bon temps rouler.

About the Author

Genevive Chamblee resides in the Bayou country, where sweet tea and SEC football reign supreme. She is known for being witty (or so she thinks), getting lost anywhere beyond her front yard (the back is pushing it as she’s very geographically challenged), falling in love with shelter animals (and she adopts them), asking off-the-beaten-path questions that make one go “hmm,” and preparing home-cooked Creole meals that are as spicy as her writing. Genevive specializes in spinning steamy, romantic tales with humorous flair, diverse characters, and quirky views of love and human behavior. She also is not afraid to delve into darker romances as well.

One comment to “Genevive Chamblee: Maintaining Community”

  1. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · May 2nd, 2024 at 5:23 pm · Link

    Great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Comments are closed.