Customer Service and a new tv…

Ok, I have a bit of a story to share, so this maybe a long one folks. A few weeks ago we decided to switch our tv service up, & in the process of learning about this new system we were looking at, the discovery was made that our tv HDMI ports were not working๐Ÿ˜ฉ. A new tv was on the horizon for us to purchase sooner than later.

Richard checked prices online and then we decided to “store shop” and make a purchase. This was not supposed to take weeks!!!! Well, it has….

Our first big box store shopping experience was shocking. Only 5 of the TVs were on in the electronics section of the store. We asked about a specific model, could they turn it on- the response was “no”and a way far out tale of why they couldn’t turn them on… A manager complaint soon followed after we left the store.

After the first store experience, we decided to wait until after we returned from the Chicago Hardware Show before we made the tv purchase… to be continued

Big box store number 2 the service was lackadaisical. We asked about a specific tv, he went to see if they had it and returned and said “no we don’t have it” and pretty much walked away. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Big Box Store 3 we never saw a sales person… tv we thought we might like was not in stock, left this store our options were quickly running out! ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

Our final redemption of good customer service came at the last store we visited. Thank you Noah!!! He walked right up after we had looked around for a few minutes, asked us what we were looking for, price range, brand preferences… you name it, he covered it all! He was so helpful. Y’all, this young man got it right!!! The great customer service didn’t end there. Our tv was not carried by us to our car… no way- these folks placed inside the vehicle and did it with a smile. Amazing experience!!!!!

Before we arrived at the last store, we were dismayed at quality of service at every store we had been to, really this should not be a hard task!!! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

So what is the point? I’m not really sure why people are flocking to the box stores to get service that is substandard. We often hear from our customers that, “I can never get anyone to help me at …., I know you guys can help me”. At Wilkes County Hardware our customers are valued, we wish to meet their needs or try to find alternative solutions if we cannot help them out with a specific product.

Carry out to car is a great way help our customers with larger items that maybe heavy or bulky. We never want our customers to feel the way we felt as we shopped for a that new tv.

Our goal at Wilkes County Hardware is to follow the pattern of great customer service that Noah beautifully modeled: listen, ask questions, offer solutions, wait time for decision making, & follow through on purchase (carry out- if needed or requested) all in a polite manner.

Thank you for shopping local!!!! We appreciate your support ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‰.,

Supper vs. Dinner

Sometimes in conversation as I remember talking to my Granny at the end of the day, I would ask her what they both had for dinner. As she began to talk about her meal, I soon realized that she was referring to her mid-day meal, not her evening meal. My vocabulary was not the same as hers. I quickly learned that her view of supper/dinner was different from mine. Does it matter? Well, I guess it is all about perspective.

A major NC magazine in our state just recently published an article about Sunday Suppers. It was well done. I’m not going to rehash the intent of that article. But, it did bring back up all those supper/dinner conversations that I had with my granny to my mind when I read the article.

So upon reflection, I began to ponder my usage of “dinner”. I use the term “dinner” all the time to gather my family to the table, but the reality is that we really are seated for “supper” instead.

Why supper??? The word supper is less formal. Dinner can be a full fledged event with fancy dinner napkins, china, etc. But, when we gather at home, it is not a formal affair. Our family is blessed to have passed down to us, the antique farm table that was in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. The table is definitely not formal by any means, and it is the only table around which we gather to eat. At this farm table we engage in the conversations about the day, hold discussions about local events/news, and let the puns roll. (Our form of making our son roll his eyes ๐Ÿ‘€ at us.). Supper at our house is a time to simply gather, eat together & unwind from the day.

This was modeled well in my family as a young child growing up. All four of us always ate together at the table in the kitchen. As they say, “old habits die hard”. Meals gathered as our family unit or shared with friends are a strong part of my memories of home.

Now in present day, the weekends are probably the most relaxing suppers we get to have as a family unit. Saturday evening supper is probably one of my favorite times. This tends to be the meal when we can relax, kick back at the end of the day. Saturday supper tends to be one of our Traeger nights- smoking a good piece of meat, or grilling up fish, or whatever is on sale at the grocery store! Do you guys do that too???

Saturday supper doesn’t have to be all fancy, high dollar meals that breaks your budget ๐Ÿ’ต. Sometimes supper is quite simple at our house–homemade chili beans, or biscuits in a Lodge skillet & country ham, maybe even soup and Traeger grilled cheese sandwich, or lastly, a crockpot meal that we all love.

So I guess when I call my family to say, “dinner is ready”, I really mean supper because that equates to family time. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Happy Supper Saturday y’all !!!

Shop Local

Friday evening our local community was humming with activities. Downtown North Wilkesboro hosted the Art Gallery Walk. People were everywhere in the downtown area visiting the gallery, & the downtown stores were full of great artists. Many good friends and customers took time to stop into our store to say hello to us & watch Keegan Watson work wonders with wood!!! Thank you!!!! Richard & I had fun visiting with everyone & thank you for shopping local.

A significant trend that I noticed as people were shopping in our store Friday night, most folks purchased locally made products!!! Wow!!!! I know that our local artisans/entrepreneurs will be thrilled to hear this news. Thank you for building up our community with your purchase.

Community… yes, when we shop local we directly impact our economic growth in our local community. Did you know that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms โ€” further strengthening the economic base of the whole community? What a difference that makes!!!!

As I drove home late Friday evening, I came through Wilkesboro. My heart was full already, the day had been good… then I turned and looked… more community in action… in the Wilkesboro Commons was an outdoor movie playing, games,& other family fun activities. My smile widened, community building in action in both towns in the same night. Let’s keep this momentum going strong. Thanks for shopping local & building our community into a fabulous place to live.

Summer Bucket List

Small town life is charming to some people, but maybe a little dull to others because they feel like they are missing out on something.

We truly live in a great community and the positives are many. We have many great places places to visit within our county boundaries. This Summer “Bucket List” is good whether you are vacationing this summer or just simply doing a “staycation”. Many items on the list are plain family fun things to do. I hope you enjoy the list๐Ÿ˜Ž. Have a great summer!!!

Summer Bucket List: Written from a business owner perspective…

1. Eat local- check out lunch at a food truck or enjoy a locally owned restaurant

2. Check out Concerts in the Commons, Wilkesboro

3. Just grill… enjoy food with your family – want to switch up your grill? Check out Traeger at Wilkes County Hardware

4. Go to an Outdoor movie- ๐ŸŽฅ in North Wilkesboro coming soon

5. Stroll and shop in Downtown North Wilkesboro – start shopping at Wilkes County Hardware, then walk around 10th Street and up to Main Street- you avoid the hills around town… ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

6. Do a family game night- board games & card games are great for the whole family ๐Ÿคช

7. S’mores & Fire ๐Ÿ”ฅ Pit time!!

8. Make homemade ice cream!!

9. Check out the splash pad in Wilkesboro

10. Stroll on 10th Street & other Downtown streets for the Art Walk in July!

11. Play flashlight ๐Ÿ”ฆ tag

12. Ride in your car ๐Ÿš˜ with the windows down and enjoy your music ๐ŸŽถ playing

13. Go to Glen’s to get a chocolate dip cone- it is a classic treat

14. Enjoy a nice afternoon at Wilkes Heritage Museum to learn more about the history of our community

15. Catch fireflies after dark or just stargaze

16. Spend the day at Stone Mountain

17. Visit the Farmers Market on Saturday morning

18. Visit one of our local vineyards, we have some beautiful & scenic places here in Wilkes

19. Don’t miss the Annual July 4th fireworks ๐Ÿ’ฅ, find a spot downtown to sit and watch the fireworks show with family & friends

20. Draw with sidewalk chalk and just have fun๐Ÿ˜„

21. Go fishing ๐ŸŽฃ -Kerr Scott lake views are priceless

22. Walk or Bike ๐Ÿšฒ the Greenway

23. For peace, relaxation & serenity- find the Labyrinth at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

24. Hold an outdoor game night for friends & family

Lastly…

25. Enjoy the summer breeze when it comes & the mountain views- everyone else doesn’t have the same opportunities

Happy Summer! Create your own “bucket list” or DIY list for summer. We hope to see you soon fulfilling all of your summer wishes.

The Oyster Shell ๐Ÿš

I love walking on the beach. Picking up seashells is one of the most relaxing tasks that I could simply do all day. Richard will always say, “don’t you have enough shells ๐Ÿš already at home”? I always give an explanation of what I plan to do with another new batch of seashells and he relents.

One of my favorite shells to collect is an oyster shell. I’m not really sure how my fascination with this specific shell began, but I seem to have many of these in my shell collections.

So why am I sharing this information with you today? Life’s journey is very much like the seashell. Sometimes we get battered by the sand, wind, storms, waves crashing over the shells with fierce power. It doesn’t seem like an end is in sight….

We all have those stormy times in our lives where nothing appears to be going well and it seems that the storms will never end. Once the “weather” begins to clear, you can see/feel smooth places on the ๐Ÿš shell… all better from the “wear” of the stormy weather. Of course you might find some rough edges along the seashell from the storm. Upon continued inspection, if the oyster shell is intact, the grit from the sand has helped to create a beautiful pearl…. alas the struggle of the storm, creating a lasting goodness & beauty.

As business owners, the “stormy struggles” can be quite real. For example, some months are much slower in the hardware business than others. We must be ready to “ride the waves” through to the other side. “No grit, no pearl” as they say….

In the past few weeks, a major retailer with a huge local impact in our hometown, has just announced another round of shifting/job changes, & layoffs. The “stormy season”for many local folks is just beginning to unfold.

My hope is that a goal of our local leadership will be able to minimize the impact of these job losses and strive for greater economic diversity within our community, bringing more businesses to our area, and created “a pearl”.

As local business owners, we have been given a unique opportunity to reach out to our local community and connect with them in new ways. Those who were accustomed to going to the “box retailer” may begin to shift ideology and visit our stores. Are we ready to connect with these new folks??? It is time for us to remember this age old phrase, ” the world is your oyster, you are the pearl”…

Our mission at Wilkes County Hardware, treating our customers like pearls ๐Ÿ˜Š, a rare & precious find .

Sโ€™agapo

These are the Greek words for “I love you”- S’agapo…

๐Ÿ’February might be the season of love, but to those people who model & live this way each and every day, it is beautiful to witness.

Richard and I were honored with the presence of one such person, Harry Galifanakis. He exemplified these words… S’agapo.

Harry loved life, each and every day. Harry was a dear husband to his sweet wife, a great family man, and cared deeply for his surrounding community. We all miss his love.

Harry spent a lot of time with us at Wilkes County Hardware. He was our resident advisor, & he greeted all of our customers with a smile. Harry would sit and talk with those who would take time to sit down with him while he rocked in his chair. He loved conversations, people, and in general terms, living a simple life.

Harry gave us love each and every day. I know in my heart in the first year of ownership of Wilkes County Hardware, he gave Richard confidence to keep going, pressing on to do what needed to be done, changing the layout of of the store, & adjusting to running a small business. Harry was one of our biggest supporters and we are eternally grateful for his love and friendship.

In the second and third years of ownership, he became an honorary family member. He was never far from our minds or hearts. Richard & I worried if he was sick, wished him safe travels while off visiting family, and couldn’t wait to hear his stories upon his joyous return. Harry always called us if we were on a trip, away from the store to just to say “hello”& to make sure we were happy, eating well and of course, having fun! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Throughout the last few years, Harry shared many stories about his Greek heritage, & the rich love he had his family… it just exuded from him. He loved his family, nothing made him more happy than his family. Harry always loved to throw out Greek phrases as he spoke about his family.

Over time, Harry began to even teach Richard some of those phrases… the first one he taught him was S’agapo. Harry said to him, “this is what you tell your wife everyday”. Harry loved to see Richard try his new Greek speaking skills out on me as I entered the store. It was sweet and precious on many levels.

We all spent many days laughing with Harry and please know that your loving kindness and friendship will always be central in our hearts.

S’agapo Harryโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

Snow Daysโ›„๏ธ

Last week brought to us in Wilkes, the anticipation of snow. What we did not realize at that time was the impact of the coming winter storm. When in conversation with my brother in law, who works for the National Weather Service, he used the words “Epic Snow Storm” , and “this will a Storm people would talk about for years to come… ” I began to let the impact of this storm to settle into my mind. Preparation would be key. Richard & I began to evaluate our current winter weather supplies & those items that were blowing off the shelves early in the week.

Customers flooded into Wilkes County Hardware beginning about Tuesday of last week in preparation of the upcoming winter storm, daily sales had increased.

Knowing the storm was going to settle into our area by the weekend, we had already processed the timeline of our regularly scheduled truck shipment… it would not be here until after the storm had passed๐Ÿ˜ณ. The real possibility of the truck not showing up on our regular delivery day was looming in our minds as well, if the “Epic winter storm” was as bad as my brother in law had said it could be.

These are the worries of local merchants… planning for unpredictable weather and its impact on how you do business each & everyday. Mother Nature is unpredictable.. you can’t always plan for these types of events, but keeping a close eye on your inventory is key during peak weather months.

Richard was evaluating our store stock/supplies daily and we realized quickly that we needed a “stock boost” to get us through the storm. Richard & I talked back and forth about how much of each item we might need, trying to not overbuy for this event, which would tie up inventory dollars. So we submitted an order to our local supplier and another truck arrived Friday.

Once that shipment showed up, people were buying items off the truck immediately! The news of the winter weather was becoming evident to most people… they were planning for a huge storm.

Wilkes was predicted to be in the heaviest snow zones- at least 12 inches or more!!! Our hardware store was slammed with customers on Friday and Saturday!

Our local news station, WXII, called on Friday morning saying they were planning to stop by our store. Richard gave them a great interview and made it on the local news Friday night. I was so tickled to see him represent our store so beautifully.

The sweetness of my husband showed as he spoke about “our store”. (Even though I am not there everyday, and I hold another full time job as a teacher.)

He made sure to tell the local news crew that he was not the sole owner of Wilkes County Hardware. Sometimes it is the simple things that make you appreciate & love your spouse- after 20 plus years of marriage.

After the store closed Friday evening, we decided to make our winter storm preparations complete by filling up the car with gas, last trip to grocery store, etc. Richard’s phone began to message in from lots of people who saw him on the news.

What we didn’t expect was the range of our local impact would be! He heard from friends across the US who were seeing him on local broadcasts across the nation. Evidently the Weather Channel picked up a segment of his interview. By Saturday morning, our store front was on the Today Show in a brief segment on the upcoming storm!!

This news arrived to me as I was out walking on the Greenway, with my friend, when Richard called me to say we had made it on the Today Show! I was blown away. Here we were just carrying on with our routines, of a normal Saturday … he was already at work & I was to be there to help at the store, after I had finished my morning walk.

As customers came in all day Saturday, the conversation around the warm wood stove was of course the coming snow storm , Christmas shopping, and Richard’s tv appearances.

The guys helped every customer, each with their own unique needs. Demand had been so intense all week, that we were now out of stock in some items. So our staff made recommendations to those customers who needed help finding the items they still needed for winter storm prep.

Saturday was an awesome day, not because it was a great selling day, but the closeness of our community. We saw so many of our loyal customers arrive with flashlights ๐Ÿ”ฆ that needed batteries or bulbs, & requests of last minute items for storm prep. Our staff worked to make each a every customer happy.

What a great community we live in!!! We had cookies ๐Ÿช delivered to us, and great friends brought in lunch snacks!!! Richard & I are definitely blessed beyond measure.

It was so awesome to see our friends & customers gather at the wood stove for conversation and smiles. This is why I love snow days!! โ›„๏ธโ„๏ธ

(By the way, we received over 15 inches of snow here Saturday night/Sunday!) Yes, in my book, it was an “Epic Storm” for us in Wilkes County Hardware History.