I came to Nacogdoches in 2010 as an apathetic teen that couldn’t be bothered with looking for fun things to do on my own. If it wasn’t on a flyer pushed under my dorm-room door or it didn’t involve a free t-shirt, I wasn’t interested.

I fell for that long-running rumor that Nacogdoches was boring and didn’t want to grow. I believed that the community was content with empty buildings and rolling up the sidewalks at 5 pm.

Life never goes as planned, and because of some medical issues, I had a year in Nacogdoches not in school, but also not yet in my career. I interned at a local marketing firm where I got my first look at the other side of Nacogdoches- an active community with a full- and I mean FULL calendar.

Soon after my internship, I got a job doing marketing with the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO.) Part of my job is attending community events, including ribbon cuttings for new businesses.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I cannot count how many ribbon cuttings and Alive After 5s I’ve been to. Ribbon cuttings are a celebration of new businesses, which is exactly why you should give Nacogdoches another chance.

In my two years of working in economic development, I’ve seen Nacogdoches gain a winery, a brewery, an axe-throwing business, a pottery-painting place, a distillery, pilates and yoga studios, new coffee shops, several new restaurants, food trucks- and let’s not forget the historic reopening of the Fredonia Hotel.

Several businesses host live music every single week. Some host painting and succulent potting parties. I wasn’t joking when I said my calendar is always full.

Maybe it’s because it’s my job to be aware of business and economic related news, but I just don’t believe that old rumor anymore.

It’s easy to say there’s nothing to do. But apathy isn’t cool anymore. What is cool is being a trend-setter, an adventurer, an “influencer.” Someone who is willing to blaze a new trail, share their experiences and see the lesser known side of things. There’s so much here to offer, no matter what age you are. Don’t get so caught up in the old that you miss out on the new.  

Ashley is the Marketing Assistant for Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO.) In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time in the sun with her two dogs, walking trails, painting, writing and cooking.

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