What's Mule Day you ask? Here is an excerpt directly from the Mule Day Website:
Mule Day is an annual celebration of all things related to mules and is held in Columbia, Tennessee, the “Mule Capital” of the world. Begun in 1840 as “Breeder’s Day”, a meeting for mule breeders, it now attracts over 200,000 people and takes place over seven days. In addition to mules, traditional Appalachian food, music, dancing, and crafts are featured.
Did you see that? Over 200,000 people! What? I (Frankie) had no idea about this when I moved to Columbia, TN in 2010. Columbia isn't a huge town and 200,000 is a whole lot of people. I get road rage on a regular Tuesday around here because I feel like there's too much traffic for such a small town. Can you imagine how I am when over 200,000 new people roll into town for seven days? It isn't pretty.
For a long time I just held my tongue about Mule Day. It's kind of an old tradition, 1840, and I thought maybe it brought some revenue to the town. I'm not so sure that's the case anymore. Maybe through the week some of our small, locally owned businesses do some extra sales, but I found out this year that on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Mule Day week, most of those close. They have to. They can't get to work to open shop even if they wanted to. Most locals actually leave town that weekend. Some make sure to plan their vacations for the whole week so they don't have to deal with the crazy overcrowding of our town.
It's really not fair to those of us that live here year round. I'm sure the influx of people does help with our revenue on some level, but is it worth it? There are a ton of us that walk at our local park every day. The county made a walking trail just for us and we love it. Mule Day is held at the park. There are signs that designate where to park trailers and tell them not to have mules or horses on the walking trail. I went to walk the Thursday of Mule Day this year and I couldn't. Not only could I not find a parking spot, trailers were parked all across our trails and of course the whole walking trail was littered with crap…literally. It was awful. I missed four days walking because of it, and I know I'm not the only one.
You may think I'm just being a crybaby here, but I'm really not. I do have a point. Sometimes we think what we're doing for our work from home or brick and mortar business is a good thing. Maybe we keep doing things the way we've always done it because that's what has worked in the past. Maybe we start doing some new fangled crap because we think we need to get with the times and try some new ideas. All I'm saying is whatever you do; make sure it's actually good for your business and your clients. Adapt and evolve, but don't alienate. You can't make everyone happy all the time, but you can sure give it a try.
And don't bring in 200,000 new clients and expect your old clients to be happy.
Do you think holding onto traditions is a good or bad thing? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.