Guest column (Sept. 18, 2008)

Finding affection for Taft Corners

By Rachel Carter
Sept. 18, 2008

I can’t believe I am saying this. Me, the corporate hippie. But, I am growing quite fond of Taft Corners. It is not that I have found a new appreciation for box stores. I have found a new appreciation for convenience. Now, I hope that doesn’t make me a Williston Barbie (I wish so badly I had saved the e-mail I read a few years ago on the descriptions of Vermont women as to what type of Barbie they were, based on the town they live in; in Montpelier I guess that would make them invisible, since they don’t allow Barbies to be sold in any stores there).

OK — side note — I think that is LAME! Political correctness irks me, even though I must practice it as a Vermont PR professional. I credit Barbies to so much of the imagination and creativity I have today — especially as a professional storyteller. My Barbies were so complex. They ran businesses and had rock bands and wrote in diaries and traveled across the country and visited their friends in cities and had dinner parties. You simply cannot have organic apple dolls do all that. See? This is why I am a corporate hippie.

OK, thanks for letting me rant. Back to Williston. It rocks. It is close to my Charlotte home, which is on the Hinesburg side. Since I am not rushing in the way everyone else is, I sneak in the back way and have learned all the ways to get around and have had some fun maneuvering my car. Instead of having full-of-themselves hipsters yelling at me for my sneaky car moves, I have tired businessmen and bottled up soccer moms nodding to me in secret appreciation that I have the balls to sneak out of the cluster … um … traps.

Next there is the actual store experience. As opposed to my eight years in Burlington, where I felt like I had to dress uberly cool to even be looked at with respect in Vermont’s downtown metropolis, in Williston I can bounce in and out of places without anyone looking at me twice. And if I am dressed uberly cool — I am actually the coolest! I also find I run into more colleagues, friends, and neighbors than I ever did in the perpetual 23-year-old paradise.

And thirdly, there is the store selection. Downtown Burlington is to see and be seen and is for tourists who have lots of cash and locals who pretend to have lots of cash. This is why so many Vermonters head to Williston and other places to actually purchase clothes, groceries, supplies and more. The fabulous thing I have noticed is now that I am in such an accessible proximity to Williston, I don’t have to go anywhere else. Grocery shopping, hardware supplies, gardening supplies, client meetings, party supplies, office supplies, house crap — all in Williston. This doesn’t mean I am a fan of the Wal-Mart. That place is just creepy and I have to admit I feel a little weirded out by some of the people I see in there. And don’t judge me — you all feel that way too!

So, the recap — thumbs up, Williston! You are working towards making the Rachel Carter PR Best of 2008 List!

Rachel Carter runs a public relations firm, Rachel Carter PR, out of Charlotte. This column originally appeared on her blog,