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Buying Local First. It Really Matters.

By  Phillip Anderson ,  Life off the Highway  and  What’s Up 24/7 When you buy local more money stays in the community…it’s as simple as that. The choices you make — where you shop, where you eat and where you play; all of it affects your community and your quality of life. There are so many vital reasons to keep your money in your hometown: Make your Community Distinct: One-of-a-kind businesses are integral to the character of your place. Create More Local Ownership and Good Jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and in your community, provide the most jobs to residents. Encourage start-ups! Encourage Local Prosperity: Entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that promote and support local businesses. Invest in Community: Local businesses are owned by your friends and neighbors who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future - just like you. Support Communi
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Milk Truck Marketing

Life’s what you make it, not where you make it. I live in a small town where I grew up and I love living here. More than anything I want my kids to raise their grand-kids here. The challenge with rural community is that everyone thinks you gotta move away to enjoy life. I’ve never believed that, I can go anywhere from here.  John Dockey is the owner and founder of What’sUp 24/7. He has big dreams for small town America, and restoring this old milk truck is going to help them become a reality. John has served as a City Counselman, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, and Economic Development Director. As he puts it, "He gets rural, and he bleeds ideas." October will mark 35 years of marriage for him and his wife Lisa. He has 6 children, 9 grandchildren, and multiple businesses. I drove out to his house to meet him for an interview about the truck and see the progress he had made so far. John lives in the quaint town of Alexandria Indiana, population 5,128.

Destinations and Drive-Bys - The New Way to Travel

By  Phillip Anderson ,  Life off the Highway  and What’s Up 24/7 Why do we travel? Visiting family and friends, escape, learning, connecting or all of the above.  How far do you have to go to ‘travel?’ There is an actual definition for traveling — 50 miles one way for pleasure. For the more curious, there is the art of ‘wandering’ or Life Off The Highway as I call it. To me wandering is, Finding a place or space that changes your rhythm, moves your feet, clears your head, and touches your soul.   I teach Cultural Heritage Tourism in Indiana University’s Tourism, Event, and Sports Management Program. We spend a lot of time assessing the cultural assets that already exist in our communities and are worth promoting. Having a product doesn’t create an audience. The key question is “What are we seeking to accomplish by traveling?” There are all kinds of responses but the core answer is the same. We seek rich experiences of all shapes and sizes. For example, my family and I recently took a

10 Fort Wayne Food Trucks to Eat at This Summer

Unfortunately, the restaurant world was turned upside-down in 2020. There have been new policies, new hours, and sadly many restaurants closing their doors due to the pandemic. If you're wanting to support local and eat out this summer, while still feeling safe--a food truck might be your best bet! I surveyed Fort Wayne residents about their favorite food trucks, and I've rounded up the top 10! Keep reading to hear about each of their menus and where you can find them this summer. Photo by @thatsjustwill 1. Mercadito Taqueria Let's start with the truck that was recommended the absolute most! Mercadito means “Little Market” in Spanish. Mexican grocery stores will often have a taqueria tucked in a corner where shoppers can stop by for traditional tacos and tortas. The taqueria serves as a gathering place for people of the community to share stories and chismes (gossip). Our offerings will encompass some Los Angeles street style fare and other globally inspired

Living in a 360º World

By Phillip Anderson ,  and What’s Up 24/7  Do this exercise.  Look at a map and ask yourself: how far do you typically drive from home to work? From how far away do you hire service providers? What about shopping for groceries or other necessities? Where do you go for leisure? Do you commute to school, take care of parents, or cart kids around to their activities?  Now pick the farthest distance you regularly travel (in miles or minutes) and use that to draw a 360º circle from your house. Next, identify the valuable resources, opportunities, and activities that exist in your circle. Like me, you will be amazed at what’s available for living, learning, working, and playing. *** If there is one thing we are learning in this pandemic , it is that we crave human interaction . It is critical to our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. For many, the pace of life has slowed and we are catching our breath. Instead of jumping back into the mindless rat race

Big City Vs. Small Town Living: Is it Worth the Price?

I think we all have friends that have left where they grew up to pursue big-city dreams. I know people that have moved to Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Sometimes it's everything they wanted, and sometimes they quickly realize that there's no place like home. Maybe you have been that person yourself, dying to leave your town for somewhere a little more glamorous. I, however, am going to be the one explaining at my high school reunion that I left Denver Colorado to go live in tiny midwest towns in Missouri, Indiana, and Kansas. That is a long story that I share more about in this blog .  For today I want to dive into the cost of living comparison between small towns and big cities. I'll preface by clarifying that I am in no way a financial analyst, a real estate agent, or an expert on the economy. I'm just a girl that has lived in towns of all sizes, and I'm fascinated with the difference your location can make in your quality of life. I'll s