"southern hospitality comes down to a true welcoming sense and commitment to community and those around you."
Hindsight is always 20/20. Being away from my southern roots is certainly no exception to this rule. It has made me aware of the true southern culture that exists, and just how much of it is imbedded into my personality. Meeting Stephen Jones, owner and operator of Black Anchor Workshop in Tacoma, WA, brought a great deal of this to my attention.
Stephen is a leather smith, and a damn fine one at that! He has a small shop nestled below Feather & Oar in downtown Tacoma. Most of his sales are done on the web, with a few things sold in the Feather & Oar space. He's recently started making camera straps, and already being a fan of his work, naturally I took interest. Stephen insisted on hand delivering the product, which I found to be very impressive and a great personal touch. I had a free day in my schedule so we agreed to meet at mine and Emily's place in Olympia.
Now I had not yet met Stephen in person prior to this arrangement and didn't know him all that well. He arrived and mere seconds after our handshake coffee was being prepared. I quickly realized that Stephen is a very genuine human being and has a great heart, as well as an eye for great craft and business. Some of the things that really drove this fact home for me in our conversations was his clear dedication to the Tacoma community and rebuilding and reviving the environment of downtown Tacoma. All in all, we spent a few hours getting to know one another. Conversations about work, business, craft & culture and just plain simple life. Photos were taken. Tacos were made. Good times were had.
I imagine when people think of "southern hospitality" they always think of a country home of some kind, fatty food, iced tea, and perhaps a front porch (maybe that's just me.) If you ask Google about it you get a reference to decoration and thrifting, a basic wiki definition and some song lyrics from Ludacris. The more I think about it, the true nature of southern hospitality comes down to a true welcoming sense and commitment to community and those around you. That can be found anywhere. Stephen, and Black Anchor Workshop are an absolute example. It exhilarates me to come across such wonderful folks that live their life this way, both in business and living.
Here's to you, Stephen! And here's to community!