One of the advantages of my job is it gives me a lot of excuses to go places most people won’t, or can’t, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of various aspects of Walton County.
I’ve been inside the county’s 911 center; toured the innards of industrial sites like the Walmart Distribution Center, Hitachi and Leggett & Platt; dropped by some of Walton’s largest farms and explored many other places that aren’t normally on the tourism brochures.
Thursday night, representing The Walton Tribune, I visited Made In Monroe, the site of the Walton County Chamber of Commerce’s latest Business After Hours event, alongside our sports editor, Brett Fowler.
Despite the heavy rainfall, the turnout was pretty good, due in part, I’m sure, to the free pizza and drinks.
But as much as I love free food (and ask anyone in the field, journalists love free food more than almost anything else), it was not actually the highlight of the event.
Instead, the best aspect of the evening was a chance to see what goes on at Made in Monroe and find out what they’re up to in the back of the Walton Mill.
Turns out they’re quite busy at Made in Monroe, turning out tables, countertops, signage and a host of other furniture options each and every day. We saw some of their machines at work and got a chance to see the finished product of their hard work, as well.
When so much of our home decor is now bought at big box stores and made out of the flimsiest materials, seeing a place where true, hand-crafted works of, yes, art, are still made on a regular basis was certainly eye-opening.
I certainly couldn’t do the work they accomplish at Made in Monroe, but it’s wonderful to see people keeping this level of craft and artisanship alive and well in our own town.
They might not offer regular tours there, but Made in Monroe is still someplace everyone should check out they next time they need a good chair, made with true care.
It certainly beats trying to read the assembly directions from Ikea.