Being the Best Small Town, Cloverdale, CA’s Story

by Joanne Steele on March 11, 2010

Pick's Drivein in Cloverdale, CA

Old fashioned fast food at Cloverdale’s landmark, Pick’s Drivein

I normally devote my Thursday blog post to marketing tips, but another story about one of Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns was in my Google Alerts today, and I have to pass it on.

Small town and rural communities overcome threats and downturns all the time.

Small towns lose their grocery stores and doctors’ offices.

Our kids move away and can’t find a way to come back.

Recessions and economic downturns hit small towns harder and longer than urban centers.

Small towns spend lots of time squabbling like families about whether tourism is good or bad and whether we want a McDonald’s or a WalMart.

But when we small town residents set our minds to something, things get done.

Cloverdale is typical. It is located in one of California’s most trendy and popular counties, Sonoma. Sister cities in the county include Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Bodega Bay and more, all trendy, quaint and stuffed with visitors.

Cloverdale, a town with an inferiority complex anyway took a big hit when the highway bypassed it in the 90’s.

Did it die? Did it fold up its sidewalks and become less than its residents wanted and deserved. NO!

It rebuilt and redesigned its downtown, for the locals. It attracted a thriving arts community.

It holds regular events that locals take pride in and visitors are invited to.

A quote by a seven-year resident from the Press Democrat article about their Budget Travel nomination says, “It’s not a town designed for the tourist trade, but designed for a small town atmosphere where you walk down the street and everybody knows everybody.”

Take heart everyone who is struggling. Our problems seem huge, but the great thing about small towns is that those problems are still small enough that together we can get our arms around them and solve them.

If you missed it, here’s my first soapbox sermon on how to be the greatest small town.

Please, tell me about your great small town and how you have overcome your own problems.

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