IT ALL STARTED WHEN...
Why I Love Where I Live initially started as an Instagram account as a personal experiment in practicing gratitude. In the process, the account grew as a way to encourage others to love where they live. Ultimately the hope was that people would be moved to be involved and more engaged in the community, developing a real love, care, and concern for their city.
In May of 2018, the first retail space opened at the MSA Annex, a new shipping container complex on the west side of Tucson, Arizona. The footprint of 320 sq. feet was the perfect amount of space to grow and learn among 13 other locally-owned businesses. A year and a half after opening, the opportunity to move to a bigger space within the same community opened up.
Considering the desire to stay in community and close proximity with other businesses as well as the need for more space to bring people together and be able to stock a wider variety of products, the decision was made to move to a larger container (more than double the current size) within the same complex.
In March of 2020, Why I Love Where I Live will open the second iteration of their retail space at the MSA Annex. What can you expect in this new space? More books, resources, apparel, and products, including quite a few more options for younger ones, to encourage you, your friends, and your family to love where you live and be an active participant in your community.
Quite a lot has changed in the world since the Why I Love Where I Live Instagram account and even the initial shop came into existence. At the same time, many things haven’t changed but have simply been brought to light in new ways. In divided communities and polarizing times, now more than ever we have the opportunity to truly love where we live by loving our neighbor — the one next door and the one we have yet to meet.
Part of loving our neighbor is humbly learning from other cultures and perspectives. Part of loving our neighbor is understanding and respecting the history of a place. Part of loving our neighbor is seeking the well-being of ALL people. Part of loving our neighbor is slowing down to really listen, connect, and get to know each other on a human-to-human level before putting each other in boxes, categories, or stereotypes.
It’s also a unique time in which we really see the need to continue to look for and celebrate the good, to speak to beauty when we see it, and to live with gratitude. We don’t want to ignore or overlook very real problems where we live and across the world, but we also don’t believe that means we should ignore the good either.
At Why I Love Where I Live, we aim to be a source of encouragement for people to give back to the place where they live, to engage & invest in the community, to be active participants rather than just consumers of a place, to connect and work alongside others, and see everyone use their gifts & talents to bless their local community wherever that may be.
While the origin story was set with Tucson as the backdrop, we never want to confuse the role this city has had on our team and vice versa. We love Tucson! We are eager to share what we love about it. We love this place and want to speak well of it, but we are not the voice of Tucson, and it is not our desire to try to be. Tucson is a place that has long been inhabited by people who love this place and whom we can learn from.
We are thrilled to help people learn to love where they live through gratitude and appreciation. We want to see the message behind Why I Love Where I Live extend outside of the city where it began because we believe it’s applicable for many people in many places.
We want to say thank you to those of you that have been following our journey, those who have helped us learn & grow, and to those that continue to support the work we do! We can’t wait to show you all that we’ve been working on when the new space opens in March!