As Beth drove down the highway, her thoughts were running all over the place. Was she making the right decision? Should she have stayed in Atlanta and gotten more experience? Is this the plan her mother would have had for her? Her anxiety grew with each mile marker she passed but knew that she needed to do this.
As she drove closer to the small town of Woodbury, Georgia, she felt her heart pound in her chest. It had been years since she had stepped foot into the town limits. Eight years to be exact. Although this was not the town she was born into, it felt like a second home. The memories from her visits here, still remained vivid and clear, like it was just yesterday.
She saw the familiar farms that were on the outer parts of town, where during the summer months, you can pick as much fruit and berries for a small price. The warm fuzzy feeling in her belly started, as she remembered all the fun times she had with her family here. It was only the spring, but she knew those fruit trees would be wonderfully ripe to be picked within a few months.
She saw the Welcome to Woodbury sign, just as she remembered it. It stood tall and proud and welcomed everyone to this town. The residents had grown over the years, although very minimally. The last she remembered, this town had about 110 people in it, now it reached 165. It's what drew her to this place; the small town and friendly people.
Woodbury was a tourist town. Over the long weekends and all through the summer, people came in droves. They wanted to get out of the big city of Atlanta and experience small town fare. With all the farms with their fresh produce, the specialty shops on the main street and the beautiful woods to go camping in, it was a vacationer's dream. Even in the fall and winter, the hunters would come out for week long vacations to get their big kills. With so much land surrounding this small town, the wildlife was plentiful.
Beth drove down the main street and was amazed to see that this had changed. New stores had popped up, new signage and paint on all the buildings. They even added a new parking lot to allow for extra visitors.
She parked in front of the store front with the For Rent sign. As she got out of the car, she saw someone inside the building, which she assumed to be Andrea, the real estate agent she was supposed to meet. As she looked around, the streets looked barren. Very few stores looked open and it made her worry that maybe this was a mistake. Maybe things had changed too much in the past eight years.
"Beth Greene?" asked the blonde lady, coming out of the shop.
"That would be me," she replied, grabbing her computer bag from the back.
"I'm Andrea Harrison, from Blake Realty. "She said as she put her hand out. Beth shook her hand and Andrea showed her inside the building. "I saw the look on your face outside. Don't worry. Most businesses are closed on Wednesdays. It's the slowest part of the week. Friday to Monday is crazy busy around here."
"Well that's good to know," Beth replied as she looked around the space. It was a blank canvas. The walls were all painted a light beige colour; the floors were brand new barn wood, the lighting, basic and nothing spectacular. Everything was perfect for what Beth had planned.
"So you wanted to open a bakery, right?"
"Yeah, I just finished pastry school in the winter. It's always been a dream of mine to open a bakery here so I figured, why not," Beth giggled. Andrea gave her a warm smile.
"Woodbury had a bakery up until 5 years ago but the owner wanted to move down to Florida for retirement. No one wanted to take it and no one has wanted to open one ever since. Real shame though. I also know you zjwanted to look at apartments today but as luck would have it, the tenant who lives above this building gave their notice and left yesterday. Would you like to take a look at it?"
"Absolutely," Beth exclaimed. This would make things even easier. She would be able to live right above her bakery, so those early mornings she would need to do every day, wouldn't be so hard.
As the ladies climbed the stairs from the back, Beth's excitement grew. When the door opened to the apartment, she was floored. It was beautiful. It was completely open concept but the bedroom was behind a half wall so there was still some privacy. The living room was right next to the kitchen which was perfect for her work. The bathroom was tucked behind the bedroom and there was even a small area to use as an office.
"If you rent both together, I can get you a great deal,"
"Well, I guess that makes this decision easy then, where do I sign?" Beth smiled. Andrea looked to her with a wide grin. She grabbed the papers from her briefcase and they went through all the documents that Beth needed to sign.
The rent was perfect for her budget and still gave her some room to breathe. She knew opening her own business would be difficult and costly but she had crunched the numbers for months now and knew exactly what her price points were.
Once all the papers were signed, Andrea handed over all the keys.
"Well, these are all yours. If there is anything else or if you have any questions, please let me know."
"Actually, I have a few questions. I need to get setup in this town and I fear it's been too long since I've been here and I don't know where anything is," Beth said with an embarrassed face.
"Oh no problem at all. Here, let me just grab..." she replied, going into her bag. She grabbed the paper she was looking for and pulled it out for Beth "You should always have a map of this place on you, just in case. Alright well, we are right here and this is the main street. This is the bank so I would recommend opening a bank account. We can just withdraw the money straight from the account for rent to make it easier. Schweppes Pharmacy is where you can pick up the majority of your groceries but most people around here just head into Atlanta on their days off to do their larger shopping. Dr. Stookey is the only doctor in town now and he's setup out of his house, so you can call him directly on his number if you need anything. The Sheriff station is just across the street here and everything else you might need is on the main street,"
"Thank you so much Andrea, this is such a help,"
"Well, welcome to Woodbury. I'm sure the Mayor will come by and introduce himself once you're settled. He likes to meet everyone new in town. I'm sure everyone will make it a point to come and say hi to you in the next few weeks. Do you know where you are staying tonight?"
"Yeah, I'm going back to my place in Atlanta tonight. I have movers coming next week to get me out here so I'll just be finishing up packing around there and maybe start slowly moving things over here." Beth stated. Andrea gave her one last handshake and left in her car. Beth saw the Bank and decided it'd be best that she open up her new accounts while she was here. Then she could get her money transferred over as soon as possible.
As she walked down the street, she was able to take in a lot of the shops. The one right next door to her was Dixon Meats. It was closed Wednesday and Thursday so it was pretty dark inside. She could see the display cases empty and what seemed to be the butchering station in the back. Next door to that was Schweppes Pharmacy. It was open but with what looked like the pharmacist stocking shelves, it must be slow around here.
Across the street was the bank and it too was open. She opened the doors to see that it was not busy at all. The bank teller was helping one client, while another was putting away files. She waited in line until for her turn.
As the client before her left, the teller looked up surprised, but still maintained a smile on her face.
"Hi there, how can I help you today?" she asked.
"Hi, I'm new to town. I'm going to be moving in next week and Andrea suggested I get things setup at the bank," Beth replied.
"Oh, well welcome to Woodbury. My name is Lori Grimes," she stated, stretching her hand over the counter for Beth. Beth returned the handshake,
"Well Miss Beth, I can get you a bank account opened today if you have some ID on you,"
"Sure, and these are the papers I just signed with Andrea. I'll be moving into that address as of next week," Beth handed over her driver's license and the rental agreement she just signed. Lori looked the over and looked up surprised.
"You're renting both spaces?" she asked, as she typed in the information into her computer.
"Yes ma'am. I'll be opening a bakery there, hopefully in the next 2 months."
"Well, you will be very popular than. We haven't had a decent bakery in probably about 5 years now. Mrs. Neidermeyer was quite popular until she retired."
"Well I certainly hope that I can fill her shoes then," Beth hoped that people would respond well to her baked goods. She would have to find out more about what people around here liked and see what the tourists would enjoy as well.
"I'm sure you will do fine, maybe you could sample some of your treats ahead of time. Get people excited,"
"Actually, that sounds like a great idea. I might just do that."
"Well in that case, I love anything chocolate," Lori laughed. Beth giggled at her joke but promised to bring her some chocolate cupcakes as soon as she got setup. Once Beth was done at the bank, and an appointment was made with the bank manager to setup her business accounts, she made her way back to her car.
She stood in front of the storefront and looked at both her apartment and her future bakery. She felt good about this place. She knew that her mother would be proud of her.
Okay, I'm trying my hand at writing. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and leave a review. Thank you so much to Brandy and Carla for giving me advice and for checking for mistakes. Lots of Love and Bethyl On!