3807 — Weston Jacobs, owner of Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware, talks with Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes during Haynes’ State of the City address Friday.

Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware owner Weston Jacobs described the challenges of owning a small business and explained his and his wife’s decision to return to Brownwood — leaving the “rat race” of the big city — as Mayor Stephen Haynes questioned him at Haynes’ State of the City address Friday.

“Trying to keep on top of a growing technological wave —my biggest adaption I have to make is, what to do about online retailing?” Jacobs said of the challenges.“Everybody in here’s probably bought something from Amazon this past week. How do I respond to that?

“How do I make my store capable of providing those same kind of services, in a succinct manner that’s saving you money?”

Haynes noted that Jacobs has been innovative at using social media and videos, and asked if that’s “the wave of the future.”

“It’s what’s important now,” Jacobs said. “Is it a fad? In some form or fashion, yes. There will be something next. What is that? I don’t know. But when it’s there, I’ve got to be ready to adapt.”

Haynes asked Jacobs what contributes to the success of his business, and Jacobs replied, “service. Anybody can sell you something. It’s what they do when things go wrong. It’s what they’re going to do even when things go right. How am I going to meet you at the door? Am I going to know who you are? Am I going to value your time?”

Haynes then asked Jacobs if he can provide better service than a “corporate conglomerate.”

“I have the opportunity to,” Jacobs said. “Whether I seize that or not, is definitely up to me.”

Haynes asked Jacobs if it was a hard decision for him and his wife to return to Brownwood. “It was a big decision,” Jacobs said. “I wouldn’t say it was hard or easy. The biggest thing was, me and my wife are young and we wanted to get out and see other parts of the world … but we came back because we thought about our future.

“We were planning on kids … we were living in Dallas, living the rat race, and there’s good things about that. There’s some things about living in the big city that, in some form or fashion, you don’t have it here.”

But Jacobs said he and his wife looked at what they wanted for their yet-to-be-born children.

“Brownwood supplied every one of those needs in some form or fashion, and in a way that I agreed with,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs referred to the “entrepreneurial spirit” of Brownwood, noting that “almost everyone in this town has something going on that they’re doing, Everyone is about something. They’ve got a task. They’ve got a goal. They’re driven. Everybody has such a purpose.”

Haynes asked Jacobs to name Brownwood’s biggest problem and how he’d solve it as mayor. “Thanks for giving me the easy ones,” Jacobs said in mock displeasure.”

Jacobs answered by referring again to social media, saying “it’s our attitude above all else. I have obviously used social media in a lot of ways to make it a positive experience for people. But at that same token — we’ve all seen it — it can be a downfall of a community. It can rip people to shreds, where somebody’s sitting behind a keyboard ...”

Jacobs urged people to “not get so bogged down ripping each other apart. It’s important to get your head out of the muck. Quit getting stuck in it. We’re a community. We’re all here for the same reason.”