One day J&J Restaurant was serving its loyal customer base that has frequented the eatery for nearly 50 years. The next it was gone in a fiery blaze.
That is a first-grade explanation to what happened, but it is really all the explaining that needs done. The fact is things can be taken away from us instantaneously. But all too often we forget and take for granted the treasures that we do have sprinkled across our parcel of land.
I hope this is a lesson to us all to not take for granted the unique and character-filled restaurants and shops that are located across Manchester. We have several homegrown restaurants, local sporting goods shops, grocery stores and businesses that were dreamed up by citizens of Manchester and have thrived in the arms of our modest population.
Unfortunately, I never sat down and ordered food from J&J. I regret that now. Speaking with managers and workers since the fire has left me little doubt that the atmosphere was a true hometown place for hometown folks to sit down, eat and chat about the towns happenings. Rest assured if the owners rebuild, I will be the first to sit down and order up a plate.
In the meantime, I am making an amendment to my New Year’s resolutions to frequent more of our local shops and restaurants. If anything, just to stop in and say hello and buy something small.
I hear complaints all too often (and in the interest of full disclosure – some of these complaints come from me) that we “don’t have enough to do here.”
I agree that this town could certainly benefit from some entertainment and more retail, and we should always strive to grow, but we have to remember who brought us to the dance. Even as Manchester continues to grow we should always remember and support the local business owners who have sacrificed and risked their own money to serve us and kick start the growth to the “bigger and better things” that so many of us long for.
We should thank them all.
-Josh Peterson is the editor of the Manchester Times. He is a Tennessee Press Association award-winning writer and photographer. His column, “From the editor’s desk” won TPA first-place honors for best personal humor column. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 931-728-7577 ext. 105. Follow him on Twitter @joshpeterson29