Homer association names Smith for honor
HOMER — Becky Smith remembers what Homer used to be.
"When I was growing up, we had several stores, a bowling alley, three or four gas stations, a movie theater and three restaurants," she said.
But as her own children were growing up in Homer, the number of businesses began to shrink.
"Now," she said, "we have almost nothing."
The owner of Ms. Becky's country-primitive gifts and decor in downtown Homer, Smith has spent the majority of her adult life working toward the goal of bettering her beloved hometown.
That's part of the reason she was recently named the Homer Community Improvement Association's person of the year.
Smith belongs to the HCIA and the Homer Historical Society. She served on the parents committee during the Homer School strike in the 1970s and was active in the Cub Scouts.
She chaired the historical society's plant sale, sat on the Community Development Board, and maintains the flower beds at the historical society.
She also worked hard to bring back Homer's Fourth of July event, making her a natural to be the grand marshal of this year's parade.
No way she could have pulled that off if not for her time with the historical society.
"I was petrified to talk in front of anybody," said Smith, who has served as the organization's president and vice president. "It brought me out of my shell and made me comfortable getting up in front of a group."
In a word, she called her July 4 role "awesome."
"The little kids would say 'There's Ms. Becky, there's Ms. Becky,'" she said.
Kimberly Keniley-Ashbrook used to own a business next to Ms. Becky's. She said Smith was nothing but supportive of her endeavors.
"Ms. Becky's store is a beautiful little gem in Homer, and now that we don't own a business downtown, I am very thankful that Ms. Becky gives back to her community not only through her store, but also through her volunteer work," she said. "Homer is very lucky to have Ms. Becky both as a community volunteer and as a small business."
Smith's love of crafting started young, when she took part in craft shows with her father, mother and sisters.
"People always asked if we had a shop," she said.
In 2006, Smith opened Ms. Becky's, which sells everything from curtains and candles to handmade furniture and braided rugs. "Creations from the Heart," as the website describes her store.
It's located — where else? — on Homer's Main Street.
"It's just a nice, friendly town," she said. "That's why I put my store here. I wanted Homer to have something — an open shop instead of a closed door."