Local business owner and Hope native, Vickie Tedder, says Hope is one big family. Since opening Reflections hair salon on the town square more than 30 years ago and WILLow LeaVes of Hope with her sisters, Tedder says the community has remained consistent with little to no changes, really. But it is that stability that makes the town so special, she says. Tedder recently talked about her fondest memories of the community, changes she has seen over the years, as well as her hopes for Hope’s future.

What is your fondest memory of Hope, thus far?
Oh my, I loved Heritage Days every year as I was growing up. As a kid, I remember Mill’s Pharmacy with the ice cream shop and drug store altogether. I think it would be cool to have that combination back. That is a really good memory of mine. Going into Mill’s and sitting on the stool with all the regulars and getting ice cream. Also, as a kid, walking into Major’s and being able to buy candy for a couple of cents. As an adult, I would say, witnessing the state championship is the chance of a lifetime. It’s just overall like a church family. Everyone is connected somehow, mostly. We look out for one another and try to work well with one another. Especially as a business owner, I feel like the people on the town square are definitely always looking out for one another.

What are some of the changes you have seen in Hope over the years?
I’ve seen three playgrounds since I’ve worked on the town square. We’ve been pretty stable, despite seeing some places come and go. There’s not been a lot of change on the square. We’ve got a couple of empty spots on the square and it would be great to get some more people in.

What are your favorite Hope events to attend and why?
For me, personally, probably the Old Fashioned Independence day – it is relaxed, homey and it feels like everyone is sitting in their backyard. There are games for the kids and good food, it is just a very relaxing day and my favorite.

For those who haven’t been to Hope, how would you describe it?
I would say Hope is very active. We have something every single month on the town square. We try to bring people in for community events that take away from your everyday life so you can sit back and relax. We work hard at bringing something to the square every month – it takes a lot of nonprofits to make those things happen. It is important to keep those things happening on the square.

As a business owner, what are your hopes for the town and its square?
To have every building occupied. We have three or so that are vacant and we need them full of retail or something that is community-based that we can utilize.

What do you enjoy most about being a business owner in Hope?
I have been cutting hair since 1986 in Hope, and I have to say it is the loyalty and friendships. I have a great client base.

What contributes to Hope’s ability to hold onto its heritage?
We have a lot of people who have lived here all their lives. They are in their 80s and 90s and that helps to make things concrete and stable.

What places would you direct visitors to that you feel exemplify Hope and its heritage?
The Yellow Trail Museum. It is doing an awesome job of showing our heritage. And they are offering genealogy now and there is a need for that. It is a wonderful asset to the community and a strong point on the square.

How has WILLow LeaVes changed since you and your sisters opened it in 2015?
We are way beyond; our hopes have come quicker than we anticipated. It is more thriving than what we anticipated. We’ve always done things in baby steps and those steps keep getting bigger, our goals are changing faster and faster as we keep growing. People love it. People tell us it is more comfortable and cozy, and that is a huge compliment. We have so many people visit from out of town, including from Madison, Greenfield, Franklin and Greenwood.

What are your hopes for WILLow LeaVes in the future?
To continue growing, keep getting a bigger lunch crowd, and maybe offering more days that we are serving food and offer some kind of entertainment every eight weeks or so. To certainly continue on and have things for people to come and do.