Meridian Industrial


3/1/2023 | Payton North


Growing up, my parents frequently repeated the famous Henry Ford quote to my brother and me: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

It was a mantra in the North household.

Whenever we were facing a challenge, setting off on a new task or perhaps thinking of switching careers – my parents would state this quote.

What my parents – through Henry Ford – were teaching my brother and me over time, was the power of believing in ourselves.

They were hinting to us that if you put your mind to something and think you can achieve it – you will. Hesitancy, or tackling something new with a negative attitude can hold you back. It can stand in the way of opportunity.

They taught me that having confidence in myself and knowing I could achieve a goal by working hard is empowering and liberating, and that anything is possible.

I continue to repeat this mantra to myself now when facing a new opportunity.

One cannot help but be inspired when reading this months Go Local features, especially if you are a woman.

Though pure coincidence – each feature article this month welcome women-owned businesses to our pages, with each of the women enjoying a career path that was not necessarily what they had in mind for their futures when they first started out in the working world.

The women have carved their own paths, started their own businesses from scratch, and though I do not know their own personal mantra’s – I certainly think Henry Ford’s quote and the North mantra applies: they thought they could, and they did.

Take Owner of Agawam Cinemas Kimberly Wheeler for example. The movie theater was abandoned by the previous owners, and in 2014, Wheeler purchased the theater without any experience in the industry. With a history working as an EMT, Wheeler went out on a limb to save the beloved theater, one she had fond memories of going to as a child.

She believed she could save Agawam Cinemas – and she did.

Kelly Partridge, owner of GRATI in Wilbraham, overcame significant personal hardship, finding her confidence in fashion – working on herself from the outside in. Partridge took her master’s degree in nonprofit management and philanthropy and applied it to her boutique storefront, hosting pop-up events on Saturdays where she welcomes other female business owners to showcase their products.

She believed she could help other women through her business which pushed her to open it – and she did.

In the midst of working toward her doctorate in English literature from UMass Amherst, Rebecca Maillet was faced with an opportunity: grow her budding flower business – Many Graces – or focus on her degree. After careful consideration and the realization that she was thinking of her farm more than her dissertation, she took a leap of faith and committed to the business, growing from a small “secret garden” to the commercial production flower farm they are today, planting more than 750 varieties of flowers on the 5.5-acre farm as well as 1.5-acres of rented land.

She took a leap of faith, believed she could make her floral business a success – and she did.

What started as a digital content business – Travelnitch Publishing – that was a result of hoping to give her children the travel bug, Amanda Renna has grown the concept into so much more. Now a nonprofit, Travelnitch works to inspire children and families alike through virtual and real-world travel and growth through global exploration. One unique feature Renna has introduced through Travelnitch is World on Wheels – a mobile bookshop bringing the wonder of books into communities across Western Massachusetts.

She believed she could give families and children the opportunity to travel and uncover resources – even if it was virtual travel – and she did.

So, dear reader, what do you believe you can do? I’m willing to bet you can.

Thanks for reading,
Payton North, Executive Editor

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