Sonoma County Fire: Economic Rejuvenation For Local Tourism-Based Businesses

Volunteering at evacuation centers, donating money to various foundations, and being emotionally available for the Sonoma County Fire Victims are all AMAZING ways to contribute to rebuilding process that this fire has left for us to take control of.  The love and emotional support throughout all of the fire victim communities is clearly present and in full force…but one thing to consider and keep in mind is the financial and economic battle that we are about to face.  In the midst of all of this love, the fact of the matter is that all of the communities affected by these fires are not only in need of money NOW (donations are great for that), but money for the years to come in order to make this rebuilding process possible without failing economically.  

Sonoma County in particular is built on entrepreneurship, tourism, and hospitality, and I’m sorry, but what was once a tourist attraction for people all around the world is now a deserted wasteland that resembles a black and white movie set of a horror film (not the most attractive place for tourists anymore).  

So how can we be a solution to this problem and help our local economy re-gain some economic momentum?

We can become more conscious of where we buy our normal necessities, and make it a point to BUY LOCAL.  We need to help our local small business owners stay in business and purchase from them before we purchase from the chains and larger corporations.

The reason why Sonoma County was so attractive to tourists is because when people visited here, local small business owners especially in the tourism industry treated our guests with love and overwhelming care.  This gave tourists the most memorable and ultimate experiences when they were here.  A reputation like that can only come from an  intimate, emotionally invested business that is passion driven, and not fortune driven…which is what Sonoma County as a whole was truly known for.

The way we can help Sonoma County re-gain some economic momentum is to become our own tourists for a little while.  Instead of going to Starbucks, buy organic coffee from your Locally Owned Coffee Shop (Acre Coffee, Cafe Noto, Taylor Maid, etc.)  Instead of buying Budweiser and Coors Light from Safeway and Raley’s, head to Oliver’s Market or Whole Foods Market and buy it from there, or try a new beer from a Local Brewery that distributes to those stores (Barrel Brothers, Russian River Brewing Company, Henhouse Brewing Company, the list goes on and on)  Even better yet, get out this weekend and go to the actual brewery or a taproom and converse with a stranger!  These are a few of my favorite spots and probably where you will find me! (Cooperage Brewing Company, The Crooked Goat, Grav South, Confluence, etc.)  Pretend your are a tourist! 

By getting out and about this weekend and supporting all Locally Owned Businesses ONLY, we will see a huge positive economic effect because all of that business that we can generate will trickle down to the employees that work for these locally owned businesses and ensure job security in our tourism and hospitality industry-based economy.  We cannot expect handouts from others, but we can take control of ourselves and make conscious decisions on where we spend our money which will in turn, rejuvenate our economy over time.  Lets keep our money LOCAL! 

I hope to see you guys out there this weekend supporting our locally owned restaurants, clothing stores, breweries, coffee shops, bike shops, hardware stores, whatever it may be that you are in to!  If you have my number, shoot me a text, give me a call and lets meet up for a beer somewhere and share our stories.  Getting out and about and sharing stories with one another will really help lighten the mood and spread positivity, which there can never be too much of.  So stand with me,  BUY LOCAL and KEEP OUR MONEY IN SONOMA COUNTY!  Please feel free to share this article and bring awareness to supporting our local businesses.  Use your referral networks as much as possible, and if you are looking for referrals PLEASE reach out to me, as I have a relatively large referral network of highly trustworthy professionals that I am eager to give connections to. Especially in the insurance and trades industries. 

The Old Man And The Boy: An Outdoor Upbringing

… “I told her I’d be personally responsible for you and the gun and the way you use it.  I told her that any time a boy is ready to learn about guns is the time he’s ready, no matter how young he is, and you can’t start too young to learn how to be careful.”…  -The Old Man

The Old Man And The Boy was recommended to me from one of my Grandpa’s best friends, and one of my favorite people to create portrait photographs of, Chuck Jones.  I grew up hunting and fishing with both, my Grandpa and Chuck (both shown below this paragraph) since I was 5 years old at a hunting cabin close to home (shown in the image above).  My hunting ethics and respect for the outdoors were both adopted from them, and in turn…from their elders and teachers that they had while growing up.  

While reading The Old Man And The Boy, I can’t help but recall many conversations that I’ve had with both my Grandpa and Chuck that nearly mirror the ones between, The Old Man And The Boy in this book.  Conversations that they had with me as a kid, as well as conversations that they still have with me as an adult.  These conversations mostly explained the importance of respect for the natural world as well as the importance of firearm safety.  (Such as the image of the conversation between The Old Man And The Boy shown at the very top).

This concept of never starting a boy, or girl too young in learning the importance of being careful was interesting to me.  I’ve never really thought about my upbringing around firearms in that sense before.  I’m sure in the minds of many parents/people looking from the outside in…all they might be able to picture is an accident waiting to happen, depending on their upbringing of course.  But now as I look back, not as a parent yet, but as an adult that was raised around firearms (in a careful and respectful way) and as someone that LOVES to introduce the world of hunting and firearms to others, I see it as one the best worlds that you could possibly welcome a person into…young or old.

I wasn’t too young to learn how to do things with care at the age of 5.  I wasn’t too young to learn respect for the firearm, my elders, others that respected me, and even respect for myself for that matter.  Being brought up in the hunting and shooting worlds as a child taught me lessons that I use every day.  Lessons that have to do with trusting my gut and intuition, and also lessons that have to do with understanding that you must know the rules before/if you break them…which is the recipe for the ultimate success as an artist as far as I’m concerned (and something I exhibit in my artwork).   Although…I do think that had I not been introduced to these concepts at a young enough age, they would have absolutely been more difficult to learn and understand at an older age.  So in my eyes, no, you cannot start them too young…but there can be a major downside in starting them too old.  That is the game of habit…create good habits before you have a chance to get accustomed to bad ones.

But for me to have the opportunity to be brought up in this way…I first had to be recognized as a potential success by the men that invited me to learn from it.  It required a level of trust from the old man to the young man.  So for that, I’m thankful that both Chuck and my Grandpa invited me and also kept me in this world of firearms and the appreciation for the outdoors…and I am excited for the time where I see the opportunity to invite a young man, or girl into this world that is full of valuable life lessons as well.     

Inspiration- The Video Portrait

I thought I’d give an example of some recent inspiration that I found.  My Uncle Paul was telling me to watch this show that recently came out on The History Channel called America: Promised Land.  (Super interesting show)

Now, while the story line and concepts easily held my interest, what I was most attracted to was these really simple, but beautiful “Character Introductions”.  For lack of a better term, I’m now calling them “Video Portraits”.  For every main character that was introduced, they simply had them walk forward into the plain of focus, stand there with an authentic, honest, and fitting expression in soft, flattering light with a wide enough angle lens to show the background and use it as a storytelling element, but at a really low aperture to throw it out of focus…that way the background isn’t distracting.  Then, they just had the actor turn back around and walk away and back out of focus.  THIS STUFF GOT ME STOKED!  Ya…I’m weird…I know.

Call me crazy, but I’ve been day dreaming of how I can put my own twist on this since I watched the show yesterday morning.  I included a video link below for you to watch it and get a glimpse of what I’m talking about. 1:04-1:15  Watch an entire episode to get the full effect.  LOL.  Reach out to me if this got you excited too.  I’ll invite you over to smoke cigars and talk about it with me.  HA!

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