September 07, 2011 Edition

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Taking risk is needed
step toward success

Gretchen Hunt

I read an article once about a lady who had studied the fine arts and was an English and art teacher.

When she had her first child, she began to look, to no avail, for products to expose her infant to fine arts. So, she created a homemade video in her basement with artwork and classical music.

After her child reacted positively to the video, she decided to try to mass produce the product. There were many who said a video focused on classical music and art masterpieces for babies would not be well received.

Despite the obstacles she faced, Julie Clark launched her own company and produced what became the Baby Einstein and later Little Einstein series of videos.

Clark showed a willingness to take a risk on what many said was a "crazy idea." The truth is, often there is no rhyme or reason as to why some ideas fail, while others reach fruition.

When Lt. Gov. Mark Darr was here recently to learn about tourism projects and revitalization efforts in Walnut Ridge, he made a very important statement. He said for anything to be a success, it takes someone being willing to fail.

In the case of the current projects being completed, and the resulting business development, it has taken many people being willing to fail.

The individuals who have contributed to Beatles Park and the Guitar Walk financially or through in-kind labor are the backbone of the project.

Without them, there would not be a sculpture nearing completion. Without the sculpture, there would not be an event set for Sept. 18. That event has brought excitement, and that excitement has led to economic development.

From a handful of dollars to thousands of dollars, all of the contributions have added up to make possible a "crazy idea."

Economic development was always the purpose of creating the tourist attractions in the county. It is a simple concept that visitors to the county will spend their dollars with local businesses while in the area.

The response, though, has been overwhelming, and I would feel safe saying it has been surprising for many. Local, statewide and even national coverage of the upcoming Beatles Tribute Concert and Unveiling seems to indicate that Walnut Ridge should be preparing for a major influx of people on Sept. 18.

In addition, the development of retail businesses in the downtown area to enhance visitors' and residents' experiences has already begun.

The majority of contributions that have led to this progress came from local businesses and residents of Lawrence County. Former residents have also banded together through classmate challenges to support the projects.

Like Clark, these individuals caught a glimpse of "what could be" and decided that trying and failing would be better than not trying at all.

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