Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Flip This Town, Required Reading for Main Street

I have to admit that it has been a long time since I read a book for pleasure.  Sure, I read non-stop, all day, every day for my job, but it's rare that I take time out to just sit down and read.  So what inspired me to make this shift?  A man named Ron Drake.

I met Ron at the National Main Streets Conference in Detroit.  I've been attending the conference for 15+ years and pride myself on knowing just about everybody, so it was exciting to meet someone new.  He told me about his town, Siloam Springs, Arkansas.  He talked to me about the projects he was working on and that he had recently made the transition from general contractor to full time downtown consultant.  Oh, and he wrote a book.  A book?  I was intrigued. I know a lot of Main Streeters, but not many of them have written books.  It struck me that if he took the time to write a book, that he must have a lot to say.  And I might need to take the time to find out.

So a few weeks after the conference, my copy of Flip This Town arrived.  I had a minute so I popped it open to read the first few pages. An hour later, I was still reading.  I was expecting a book about rehabbing downtown buildings, but what I was reading was so much more than that.  It was a story - his story about the journey he took to find his true calling. When he talked about falling in love with Siloam Springs at first sight, I could relate.  I think anyone involved in Main Street remembers that moment with their own towns. But that was just the beginning.  The book goes on to tell the story of how he started out doing drywall and ended up as a key stakeholder and thought leader in his community.

The book is filled with practical tips about working in partnership with the community, the businesses and the municipality for the ultimate benefit of the town.  But what is most striking about the book is the pure authenticity.  This isn't a paid consultant giving you a "how-to" from their perspective, but rather a real person, telling you in his own words about his journey.  There are great success stories, but also a few stumbles that he still explains with great passion because he believes that they are equally as valuable.

Flip This Town takes the elements of preservation, economic development and community engagement and shows them in action in the real world.  The concepts presented are practical, thought-provoking and, most importantly, actionable.  I guarantee that when you finish this book, you will feel re-energized and ready to make things happen in your town. My favorite quote?  "I know, there's a fine line between brave and crazy, right? But sometimes you have to take risks to have rewards...".   Truer words were never spoken.

After reading Flip This Town, it's clear to see that that author has accomplished many things, but I don't think he's done yet.  Yes, I believe we can all expect some great things from Mr. Ron Drake.

Order your copy of Flip This Town - http://rondrakeconsulting.com/

Happy Reading!

The Downtown Geek