The Mountain Goat and Main Street
I am not the only person to be sad about Northampton’s Mountain Goat closing.
Like so many parents in the Valley, I can’t count the number of pairs of Merrell shoes I bought for my children there nor how many pairs of winter-grade mittens. The Mountain Goat sealed my love for Patagonia’s warm winter jackets and Smartwool socks. That’s to say I realized New England is no joke if you walk every day or ski or want your kids to enjoy recess. And when I realized that the Goat helped me to accommodate the actual weather in ways that made the outdoors more easily accessible.
Because this is a mash note, I’ll add that I appreciated the warm service and the innate smiles of everyone who worked there (in my experience, friendliness abounded) as much as the fact that when something essential—those mittens, oh those many, many mittens—I could dash in and find the necessary replacement.
It’s so much work for small businesses to stay in business. When you live in an area comprised of small towns, you realize that each business that sells necessities counts a little extra. Sometimes, you wish you didn’t have to pay a premium for that. Like the Joni Mitchell line, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” though, you realize that premium was worth it all along for your lost mitten replacement needs or your chance to try things on or the good advice you get along with the shoe purchase about a hike or bike ride or ski trail. Whenever the punch card filled up and you got that bonus infusion of product, you felt the mini thrill of good luck earned and justified all that little bit more you spent as counterbalanced (the more you spend the more you save).
❥ Rather than dwell in melancholy, though, I want to thank the Goat folks for dependability and good cheer and to remind myself (and you, reader) how much Main Street matters in a community comprised of small towns.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!