When a large number of people filled Inman Electric/Radio Shack Tuesday afternoon for Business After Five, there was an undercurrent of emotion that was unstated - maybe even unstatable.
The event was the 25th anniversary of when Tom Inman went into business in Estherville. He's still going strong, with son Chris heading up a lot of innovations in the new addition to the south. It's a vibrant business, responsive to customers' needs, and that means it's going to be here for a long time to come.
That undercurrent, though, that unstated part, was how far the business has come over the past 25 years.
A person probably couldn't have picked a worse year to go into business in Estherville than 1988. After the closing of Morrell's, Estherville was reeling - some would have said down for the count. Add the double whammy of the most severe farm crisis since the 1930s due to plummeting land prices, and Estherville was probably one of the last places a person would have wanted to start a business at the time.
The Inmans had something that a lot of people may not have had, though - faith in the future.
It was a faith grown from Iowa soil - the sort of perennial faith farmers have when they look forward to next year's crop. Tom had that same faith, faith in himself, his family and Estherville.
And judging from the number of people at the store Tuesday night, that faith paid off.
And that's a lesson from which we all can learn. Even if you start a business in lean times, if you're honest with people and give them a good deal and try to meet their needs, they'll keep coming back - again and again.
That sort of business ethic is more common than not in Estherville. We have a number of businesses that have been here for a long time - generations. They're the rock of Estherville - what keeps it going.
We all need to remember that, and the next time we decide to go shopping, we should all know where the best place is to spend our money.