The Oct. 24 issue of American Profile contained an article, “Tucumcari Gets Its Kicks,” by Sharon Niederman, an Albuquerque writer. That “Hometown Spotlight” has brought us comments from coast to coast and has shown that we still have many friends who like to read about their own hometown.
Many of us didn’t realize that publication was included in so many newspapers throughout the country although we receive it each week in the Quay County Sun and Albuquerque Journal and have enjoyed reading stories about other people’s hometowns and trying some of the interesting recipes. To see Tucumcari mentioned on the front page was quite a thrill, and to read the article made several of us pleased to call this town our home.
Any time we can receive publicity about our place on Historic Route 66, we feel that more travelers will stop here to reminisce and to spend some time looking at our historic landmarks. We watch them stopping at the Blue Swallow and the Teepee and then eating at our local restaurants. Because Del’s advertises its place on that route, many travelers stop to dine and to ask questions about our history. Most of the businesses realize that their employees need to know that history in order to be able to answer questions and to suggest other places in town to visit. Brochures are also available, but the travelers prefer to hear about our area from the people who live here and then to read the brochures as they ride along. By having well-informed personnel, the businesses often see many returning travelers who were impressed during their first visit, want to know more about the area so they can have new adventures, and even make plans to come back during their next trip.
Such repeat customers are great advertisers for our area because they frequently mention they have told their friends about us and have encouraged them to stop at the various businesses that impressed them. They take business cards with them and often contact owners or manages to say they enjoyed the visit, to say they will return, or to order items they saw in the shops. They also let the business people know when they have had an unpleasant experience in a particular place and then compliment the ones who have taken time to be friendly and to make them feel welcome whenever they enter their establishments.
Those of us who have lived along Highway 66 for years often take our experiences for granted and are surprised that so many travelers are enthusiastic about our place on that highway. We also are embarrassed when we hear our own people say they don’t know anything about our history and that there is noting to do here anyway. Some of us have been known to break into such conversations to let the travelers know that we have much to offer and to answer questions or direct them to people who can. Those of us who are proud of our area are eager to talk about it and to let travelers know they have stopped in a very important town on “The Mother Road.”
Although the article in American Profile was great advertising, the best advertising comes from the local people and their friendliness to the travelers. One bad experience can cost us several other visitors, and one good experience can bring us many more travelers. Let’s continue to greet these travelers as warmly as we greet our friends and neighbors.