Friday, May 16, 2014

Livin’ Outside the Box

During the 1970s and ‘80s, “thinking outside the box” became the watch phrase for solving conventional problems using unconventional means. Once introduced, this metaphor was quickly adopted by the business community and over the intervening years has crept into every aspect of our daily lives, ultimately becoming a guiding principle in contemporary society.

The Fort at Bluff, Utah

Although Barry and I are familiar with the concept, since we are certain we have never seen the box, and likely would not recognize it even if we stumbled into it, we do not believe it is applicable to our work at Twin Rocks Trading Post. We live beyond the normal confines, so we have never been concerned with such things.

In fact, our small community is so geographically isolated we are not guided by mainstream principles. One does not reside in this part of the world and expect to be directed by the ordinary ideals. The original settlers of this town discovered that natural fact when they loaded their wagons and struck out for what would become their new home. A trip expected to take six weeks took six months, and when the party arrived they were faced with unexpected challenges. They put in their head gates and irrigation ditches only to have them washed out by the raging San Juan River; the rains came only sparingly or all at once; and wind and dust storms ruined their fledgling crops. They were required to develop extraordinary techniques just to survive.

Because of technological advancements, today’s residents have more conveniences than those early inhabitants. On the whole, however, this is still a challenging place. When Jana and I were dating, I often thought of those courageous pioneers. Traveling extensively with her own Southwest arts and craft business, when she turned the truck towards Bluff she always cautioned me, “It will take time, there is no easy way to get to there!”

This environment demands creative thinking. Traditional solutions are not generally relevant to our needs. At Twin Rocks Trading Post, Barry and I have found that well-established business models do not work for us. In fact, we often wonder if we will ever find one that ensures our long-term viability. At Twin Rocks Cafe, it is the same situation. Fortunately we have a staff raised on unusual experiences. Many of them grew up in homes located on windswept mesas, without water, power or telephone. They had to be inventive just to exist.

When people inspect our Navajo baskets, scrutinize the Twin Rocks Modern rugs or eat Peaches DeChelly at Twin Rocks Cafe and say, “Well, now that’s thinking outside the box”, we reply, “No, that’s livin’ outside the box!”

With warm regards,
Steve and the team; Barry, Priscilla and Danny.

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