On Hometown Appreciation

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My time as a marketing intern with Motley has taught me so many things. Besides the obvious marketing skills and industry knowledge I gained, Motley has taught me how to love where I live. On my first day, Chelsea and Blaine gifted me with Love Where You Live by Peter Kageyama. After reading it, I started noticing small initiatives in small towns not only in North Carolina, but in my hometown of Maryville, Tennessee.

Before my internship, I had a basic appreciation for my small hometown, which isn’t actually that small comparatively. However, when I was growing up and in high school, I really didn’t like my hometown. I thought there was nothing to do and all the local stores closed so early that if you ever wanted to do anything fun or late at night, you had to drive 30 minutes to Knoxville. After reading Love Where You Live, I started looking back into my hometown and noticing small, mundane things that I had completely ignored before. For one, there are those Little Free Library Book Exchanges all over my town. There’s even one in my neighborhood! There’s also murals and public art everywhere that I really never appreciated before.

Unfortunately, one thing that Maryville always had up until a few years ago was the annual Fall Festival. It was always so much fun and drew a bigger crowd each year. Since the Fall Festival shut down, Maryville is doing other events that still draw huge crowds. For example, we have BBQ competitions, live music, movies in the park, and so much more that I barely even noticed. I now know that all these things are efforts made by the downtown to help its citizens identify more with Maryville.

Throughout my internship, I have been assigned to do external research on other small-town social media accounts. While doing that research, I discovered that Maryville has a downtown social media account that I didn’t even know about! I obviously followed it immediately and am going to start making an effort to support local businesses and organizations that hold events in downtown Maryville.

Before my internship with Motley, I claimed I lived in a small town, but I had no idea what that phrase can mean. It means you have a tight-knit community. It means you have access to local artisan food and products that most people don’t. It means that there are so many unique little things everywhere that aren’t being fully appreciated but should be. From now on, I’ll be looking at Maryville, TN as not only my hometown, but a great example of a small town helping its citizens love where they live.

- Katie