Businesses’ back sides will be Tweetsie Trail users’ first impression

Published 10:01 am Monday, August 17, 2015

Here’s a question for our downtown business owner: How’s your back side looking?
I’m not trying to get personal, but a thought just occurred to me the other day as I drove east toward City Hall on East F Street.
I looked over and I thought, “Hmmm, that’s the view our visitors will have when they start walking and biking on the new segment of the Tweetsie Trail through our downtown.”
Some of the buildings’ backsides are nice and neat; others — not so much. But then, back entrances and rear walls of business are seldom given as much attention as the fronts, especially if there isn’t a public rear entrance.
We could be included in that group. Our backside (at the Star) could use some cleaning up too, even though we’re not on the trail, and we’re working on it.
It’s in our nature to focus on the front. After all, for generations we’ve heard that we only have one chance to make a good first impression, so it only stands to reason that we put the emphasis on that all important street-side façade.
We paint, clean, decorate and display our goods up front. It is the natural thing to do. We want our businesses to say, “come in, visit and shop with us.”
It’s easy to forget all about our back doors, but now, all of a sudden, our back doors could become the front doors to many.
Some who come to enjoy the trail may never have visited downtown Elizabethton before. There will be others who may not have come downtown in a very long time.
As they walk or ride through town, they will look over and make a decision if they’d like to stop or return later to eat or shop.
Will your backside make a good impression? Is the name of your business on the back of your building? If you have a public rear entrance, is it clearly marked? Do you have something attractive and eye-catching to draw attention to the rear of your business?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” it might be time for a quick sprucing up.
They’re coming folks — walking, running and pedaling, on bikes and on foot. They will be looking us over. So if you think your backside could use some improvement, it may be time for some squats, lunges, and a few swings of a paintbrush or broom to get in shape. A few flowers and decorated bikes would also go a long way to say “welcome to Elizabethton; come on in and get to know us.”
It’s often been said that backdoor friends are the best. Let’s invite them in and find out if that’s true.
Lynn Richardson is publisher of the Elizabethton Star. Reach her at

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