It’s never the problem you think it is ?

Long before I arrived in Pullman, Washington, I’d heard of the Mimosa Building. Everyone I talked to mentioned what a wreck it is. 

“Just wait until you see it,” one man said. “It’s the first thing everyone notices and mentions.” 

“It’s been just like this since the flood in the ’90s,” another man said. “Sitting empty and rotting.” 

I heard so much negative talk about it, I began to picture it as a huge multi-story building that brooded over the downtown, making the whole place feel gloomy. 

Then I saw it on our walk-through of downtown, and I was surprised. It is a forgettable one-story former restaurant in the middle of a block.

The paint is peeling, the wood trim is rotting, and it wouldn’t hurt for someone to look after the plants. It looks shabby, yes, but I would never have noticed it without all this attention pointed at it. 

At the end of the block, we stepped around the corner into the beautiful pedestrian plaza with tables and chairs for eating and just hanging out, a bright modern mural on one side, a restaurant with outdoor eating space, and a view of the river complete with pedestrian bridge across. 

“Why isn’t this the thing that everyone mentioned to me?” I asked. “This is what I would tell everyone about my town.” 

As for that little eyesore building, the owner doesn’t even live in town. So I suggested they just go ninja and beautify it themselves. Show up in the middle of the night (or middle of the day) and slap a temporary repair on that wood trim. Throw a coat of paint on the front. Clean up the parking lot. I hear the flower boxes may be the ninja’s first target. 

The lesson beyond going ninja is to spend more time talking about the great things you have and how to make more of them. 

Keep shaping the future of your town,