“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?” C. JoyBell C.
When we fixate on negative, all we see is negative. It bothers me to no end when I hear and read negative comments about this wonderful little town. Why would we have bothered to build our dream home just south of town and open a business here if Ponoka was as horrible as people often allude? We chose and choose to live here. We could live anywhere we want to but we chose Ponoka County for the friendliness of the people, the progressive county council and the closeness to Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer — not that we often venture north or south but the proximity to the airport is wonderful.
And how cool is it to be associated with a rodeo that ranks in the top five in the whole wide world? We have great doctors, dentists, optometrists here; a world class centre for brain injury and recovery. A Red Seal pastry chef has a restaurant next to my little shop. We have not one, but two great florists, two electronics shops, two furniture shops, car dealerships, some pretty fine clothing and speciality clothing stores, a western shop that rivals others for selection and service, two fantastic hardware stores that go out of their way to help you, welding shops, print shops, a custom wood shop and a cabinet making shop, a photo shop, wonderful restaurants, an art gallery, very cool gift shops and on and on.
And recreation opportunities galore. Golf courses, hockey, swimming pool, gym, hiking, movie theatre, live theatre, the Ponoka ag event centre and fishing nearby – and this is just off the top of my head. And I hear there is nothing to do here? Seriously?
I have people who travel to my little shop by the busload from all over Alberta. They marvel at the quaintness of Ponoka and the great selection of merchants and shops we have here. They come to my shop as part of a large group; they come back again with a friend/spouse to take time to explore what Ponoka has to offer. They come so often that I now have to give those businesses around us a head’s-up so they are not understaffed when the bus arrives in case a guest or two happens to stray. I have convinced a tour or two to make a day of it here. One group was going to stop for only an hour before they hurried off to another town. Upon speaking with the co-ordinator, I convinced her to have lunch next door and spend the afternoon wandering our downtown and discovering the cool little shops here.
We even have a map — rather rudimentary mind you — of the unique shops down here and yet I hear Ponoka is nothing but liquor stores and thrift shops. It especially infuriates me when I hear of other businesses knocking Ponoka and its “lack” of business and encourage shoppers to go elsewhere — since there is “nothing” here. Look at what we have through the eyes of a visitor, people. They see beautiful baskets hanging around town, quaint, old-style buildings, a Douglas Cardinal building, a river valley and many small single proprietor shops that you just don’t find anywhere else.
Let’s stop fixating on the “fly” and take a look at the whole painting.
owner/operator of Prairie Points Quilt Shop