5 years ago we just started… Richard and I launched ourselves into hardware store ownership.
This new venture into business ownership was uncertain, scary, and exciting all wrapped up into the same 5 gallon bucket of emotions.
Richard was excited about beginning a new career path. One of the nice perks of this new business adventure, he would be home every night… ultimately more family time 😊.
The last 5 years has been a roller coaster of change. I’m so glad y’all have been a great big part of our journey. Thank you for your support!!!
I’ve been trying to reflect back on our WHY? In other words, WHY DO WE DO WHAT WE DO at Wilkes County Hardware???
The answer is simply YOU!!! Our customers are our driving force. We are so blessed to have formed many new friendships and made connections with our customers to help meet their needs. We always look forward to your visits into Wilkes County Hardware. Y’all have become our hardware family 💕.
The WCH shopping experience is unique in comparison to other hardware stores. We do our best to give one-on-one service to our customers so y’all can get what is needed in a timely fashion. We offer tips or advice on how to use products, or we can direct customers to another local business if the item is not available in our store, giving a solution to our customers.
Thank you for being our WHY this Wednesday 😉and everyday.
I just realized that my last blog post was written a few days before my grandmother died. Honestly, I haven’t had the time, or the motivation to write much since her death😢.
I have been “MIA” in the hardware store over the last few weeks . I know my absence makes it harder for my husband and our staff to work effectively. I owe them a special treat for sure!!!
When I’m not there, I miss it. Yes, I do work with my husband every day and we have survived 😉… but seriously, I do miss our customers when I can’t be there.
The photo I provided for you today is a lovely gift that was on the front counter when I arrived late Tuesday afternoon💕💕💕.
Today I’m sending out a “huge thank you” to our friends, Eric & Chelsea Brown, better known as Made in McGrady. You can find them featured in several of our social media posts.
On social media I often use the hashtag, #thehardwarelife for our hardware store posts. The “hardware life” is continuing to evolve as we come up on our 5 year anniversary of hardware store ownership.
So after these first 5 years of ownership, I’m reflecting back on what #thehardwarelife actually looks like in real life??? Here is a small glimpse inside our daily lives…#thehardwarelife.
1. First and foremost our Hardware store staff & local artisans have become our family too!!!! I’m so proud to work with such fabulous professionals and have created great friendships with this new journey in our lives.
2. Community… you folks drive us each and every day to meet your needs in the hardware industry. We continue to add new products based on customer requests and availability.
3. Hardware doesn’t take the day off- we typically work 7 days a week (both of us) … always doing something related to business that needs to be addressed…. Early mornings and late days… most days it is literally “sleep, eat, hardware, repeat”. You have to love what you do in order to work that hard, right???
4. Anyone know a logo we use at Wilkes County Hardware???? I would bet if you are a social media follower of ours, then you know our key logos. Wilkes County Hardware t-shirt or hat anyone??? Yes, we have definitely been busy over the last few years working on building some great merchandise options for y’all. I bet you will find that if you see us out and about in town, we are sporting a hat or something else with a Wilkes County Hardware logo. Hardware work is a big part of our day.
5. It is very common to come home dusty and dirty after a long day at the hardware store. I like to call it the “100 year old dust” phenomenon. The vintage, rustic nature of our hardware store brings in the dust and dirt … cleaning up is a constant and hard to keep up with 🤪!!! We all (staff) tend to joke that some of the dust has been here for💯 years!!! 😂😂
6. You have to dress for the weather as part of #thehardwarelife. At Wilkes County Hardware, we are subject to the “all natural” air conditioning- yep… no AC in our building… the doors let in the breeze. We installed new ceiling fans last summer to improve air flow. A dramatic change for our staff & customers!!! 😎
7. That smoky wood stove smell… Everyone who enters our store usually will find and ask about our old wood stove. We use the wood stove as our main heat source in the winter… the further you move away from the stove, the heating difference is dramatic on cold weather days🥶. The wood burning smell lingers in your clothing… well you smell… let’s just say… like the great outdoors. 🌳🌳🌳
8. Hardware is hard work- truck deliveries… heavy lifting- 50 lbs bags, walking on concrete floors, thread& cut pipe, cutting chain, screen wire , window glass, this is just a small list of what we do everyday.
9. We really do live a simple lifestyle… we eat most of our meals at home, grilling is essential of course all year long , we 💕our dogs, & spending time with family /friends
10. Wilkes County Hardware encompasses more than the 1,700 square feet of hardware floor space we offer to our customers, the heart of our store is you!!! ❤️
In 2015, #thehardwarelife was a dream, now it is our purpose in life. So to those of you who have been faithfully following along via social media channels, we appreciate y’all making the journey with us and helping us be a bridge to a wider audience. I continue to be amazed at how our followers continue to grow in size, & scope- organically, the way it should be done. Thank you 😊
Many local residents of Wilkes County probably do not realize the important connection of Thanksgiving and our historic building. So today it is time to talk some serious turkey history! Our local newspaper, the Wilkes Journal Patriot, published a newspaper article several years ago about the famous turkey drives in Wilkes County. I am basing some of my facts and information on that old news article and information from local oral history, that we love to tell to our customers and newcomers to our store. I hope you enjoy the “Turkey Tale” today.
EE Eller Produce Co. was one of the largest turkey and chicken wholesalers, and a major processing center for local farmers to bring turkeys/chickens into North Wilkesboro. Ironically, it was the first poultry processing plants in our town, well before the days of Holly Farms, & of course later on Tyson. Mr. Eller placed his business, as you may have guessed, yep, in our current building on the corner of 10th Street and D Street in North Wilkesboro.
Farmers would literally herd their turkeys from down the mountains in Ashe, Watauga, & Alleghany Counties in order to process/sell their flock. Could you imagine the sight that it must have been??? All of the sudden the flock of turkeys appeared on the roads in Wilkes!!!! Men guiding them with corn along the way, flock of turkeys gobbling, wings flying everywhere!!!! I would imagine that the sight of this was pretty common in the early 1900’s in rural Wilkes County. I bet the turkeys never suspected any “fowl play” on their journey. The old newspaper article did say that one of the largest turkey drives that ever was processed by Mr. Eller was 1, 500 turkeys in one drive!!!
Once a flock of turkeys arrived at EE Eller Produce, they were processed/ dressed for shipped via train. Our local train station was just down the street from our store location. The train destinations were mostly in Northern states after leaving the North Wilkesboro station. According to local oral history, it is estimated that Mr. Eller processed at his height of business, 1 million chickens and turkeys!!!! Guess that was all “gravy” for him after that!!!!
So Thanksgiving has a new meaning for us as store owners. We are caretakers of not only our business, but caretakers of local Thanksgiving history. Our town is rich in local history and our building that we reside in today as a hardware store is a great part of that legacy. We are grateful, thankful and blessed. Thank you to all who continue to support our local business, you are giving life to our local history as well.
In closing, Wayne, one of our employees will tell you that every once in while he will see a lone feather coming flying out of the ceiling. We all joke that it is the chicken ghost or the “poultrygiest”. I have never witnessed this, but he has many more years inside this building. Ok, enough of the “turkey talk” and time to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
FYI: IF you have not read the post, “The Chicken Ghost” , check it out
The tale I am about to unravel goes back way in history to the beginnings of our store… well, actually before it was a hardware store. Our original building was constructed in the late 1800’s and was burned in a fire. The owners rebuilt and instead of a wooden structure, & replaced it with brick, our current building today.
In the early 1900’s, our building was known to all the Wilkes local folks as EE Eller Produce. Mr. Eller was a major poultry processing “plant” where local folks would bring in chickens, and turkeys for processing.
The processed animals were loaded up on the Railroad tracks just down the street. It was a major operation that farmers routinely made their journey into North Wilkesboro. I have been told that over 1 million chickens and turkeys were processed in year!!!! Now that you have just a bit of historical background information about our building, our story can officially begin. Here we go…
A few years back during the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival we had a gentleman who was visiting with us in the hardware store and he began to tell us about his experiences inside our old, historic store…. this gentleman had spent some time with our neighbor next door and he stayed in his “man cave”.
Our neighbor had let this man stay in his “man cave” for a few months until he could figure out where he wanted to go and what direction life would take him next. This gentleman said that he would often wake up around 2 am.
He reported that he regularly heard at night… chains dragging across the floor and sounds of chickens. He never could see or find anything unusual once he went to investigate. This man then continued with his story, by stating “now I know all of this is true because I am a reincarnated Buddhist, Catholic, priest, I can sense that things happened here”. Lol 😂 how strange right???
Our conversation moved to other topics and we of course were super busy in the mix of Apple Festival Day and we all laughed about the story the man told us that day and continued on with our business. Maybe he was being a real “comedi- hen”… 😂
Sometimes when the shopkeepers bell rings without an apparent reason, we always joke, “it must be the chicken ghost” going back to the gentleman’s story on Apple Festival. Lots of times we think it is the wind catching the door, elevation change of the door position, etc. We can usually explain it away….
It is hard to explain the random chicken feather that just floats down from the ceiling… you wouldn’t think that would still happen after all these years???
Now, I”ll share this piece of information with you as well… we have had a few paranormal/ghost hunters to come into our store to ask if they could set up after hours. They thought it would be a great location and the paranormal activity was showing up on equipment. We have always declined the request of these folks.
The last aspect of our story goes back to the blog post that I did a few weeks ago entitled “Messy Monday”, it was one of those very busy days and our cash register/credit card machine were not working-via no internet plus we had lots of other factors playing into that day that made it a very long and hard day.
After supper, Richard went back to the store that night to try to make sense of the day, clean up somewhat, etc. He did not get back home until after 10:30 pm that night— here is what he told me the following day.
“I was standing near the front cash register looking down at something and all of the sudden I heard a huge SLAM sound on the front doors, ironically, the shopkeeper bell never moved.” He then continued by saying that he looked up because he just knew someone was outside possibly walking a dog on the street or someone had run into the front door from the outside… it was dark of course but nothing had alarmed or signaled on the cameras at the front door. He could see no one or nothing alarming.
Could it be the “chicken ghost”???? I suspect it could be “fowl play”. OR even a “poultry geist”😂.
Working with your spouse… could you do it everyday??? 🙃😉
5 years ago we just started… Richard and I launched ourselves into hardware store ownership.
I continued to work full time as a teacher until 2019. Then the transition of working together 24-7 began.
At times, this new venture into business ownership was uncertain, scary, and exciting all wrapped up into the same 5 gallon bucket of emotions.
We both have different and unique roles in what we do at Wilkes County Hardware. And… we are continuing to develop our best skills and talents that we can offer to YOU. We share responsibilities, & work through the difficult decisions together. Together… yes, we do work closely together, and we have survived & thrived.
Our goals are shared & our commitment is strong to serve our local community. I’m so glad y’all have been a great big part of our journey. If you are a new follower, Welcome!!!!
As I look back, reflecting upon our WHY… In other words, WHY DO WE DO WHAT WE DO at Wilkes County Hardware???
The answer is simply YOU!!! Our customers are our driving force. We are so blessed to have formed many new friendships and made connections with our customers to help meet their needs. I’m also blessed to work with my spouse each and every day.
We always look forward to your visits into Wilkes County Hardware. Y’all have become our hardware family 💕and welcome new folks regularly into our midst.
The WCH shopping experience is unique in comparison to other hardware stores. We do our best to give one-on-one service to our customers so y’all can get what is needed in a timely fashion.
WCH is not the big box… just wander around to see the difference. Our historic exterior/interior will let you know immediately that you are stepping into a different shopping experience.
Thank you for being our WHY each and everyday. We are so glad to be there to help you with your hardware store needs. I bet you will find both us there… working together to serve our local community.
What a powerful word!!!! Do you consider yourself to be strong??? Where does “strength “ come from??? Is it internal??? External???
Strength can be defined as being physically strong or the capacity to withstand a great force or pressure.
Gandhi wisdom states that strength does not come out of the physical strength but from indomitable will.
Life in 2020 has tested the powers of strength for many people. Hardships of health, natural disasters, financial, and so many other areas have impacted folks in 2020.
My personal life chapter in 2020 brought unique experiences with loss. In the first 10 months of 2020, I have lost 3 family members, the most notable for me was the loss of my Granny. The family losses were compounded with the loss of 2 sweet pups- GiGi & Elvis. 😢😢😢😢
Staffing changes has created a void in our lives as well. The loss of long time employees has brought distinctive sadness into our midst. Those personal losses have been extremely difficult to deal with adding in the flooding events from August/early September that made life more interesting.
Then add in financial challenges/supply chain issues of doing business during COVID… Honestly, the list could go on and on…
Reflecting back on this chapter thus far in 2020, I’m not sure quite how I survived so far. Obstacles have been overcome, & new ones continue to emerge daily… so how do we keep going???
What gives you strength in hard times??? Religion, quiet reflection- reading, nature walks, staying connected to friends & family. Pets??? Laughter??? Hopes & dreams of better days??? Is it a combination of all of these???
Finding Strength in 2020 has been hard but I’m not giving up. My will is still strong. I draw strength from all of the areas I listed above… prayer, reflection, walks in nature, family support, laughter with friends, music, & dreams. So I guess you could say that I am drawing strength from many different areas.
Another area of strength for me has to be our customers & followers on social media platforms. You have given me strength to push on. Thank you for your kind words on our posts!!! Feedback, comments, likes, shares and those continued interactions on our Facebook & IG pages are much appreciated. The algorithms are powerful today and the more interaction we have on these platforms, the more present we can be on your personal feed to showcase new products, store updates, sales etc.
AND… When you arrive as a customer in our hardware store with familiar smiles😊, it brightens our day!!!! We love to see y’all shopping local. We need to keep the heart of the #wilcostrong movement going. We appreciate your continued support of local businesses in our community. The long term impact of shopping local will definitely be a stronger local economy.
In closing, finding strength& overcoming life’s obstacles in 2020 has been a ongoing challenge. Thank you for giving us strength to keep moving forward. I’ll be dreaming of better days ahead as I know many of y’all are too. So y’all Dream On!!!! 😉
Sharing my “best of” summer morning sunrise photos from 2020. Did y’all know the first day of Fall is officially on the way this week… Tuesday September 22nd???
This morning our temperature was around 40… definitely beginning to feel more like fall mornings around here. Who is happy to see Fall coming??? 🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁
FYI: Most of these photos are taken right outside my in my backyard…
I’ll leave these words with y’all today as we prepare for the next season… I’m finding it maybe good wisdom for life in 2020…
“Every season is not a growing season, & every season will not bring a harvest. There are seasons of planting, watering, weeding & fertilizing the ground. All seasons are crucial & important. Have Faith in waiting through each season.”
Music is good for the soul💕. Doesn’t it seem to express how you are feeling some days???
Do you notice the background music inside a store or a restaurant???
When you enter a place & the music doesn’t seem to “fit” the mood of place, it can leave an impression on your dining or shopping experience. If the mood and the music match, you will leave remembering your experience as positive one.
All that begin said, Music can be powerful force inside a business.
Richard & I have been discussing music. What type of music is best inside our store???
In the first few years of business ownership, the music was a mash of whatever was playing on the radio. Every tune that came out of the radio, we had begun to realize, just didn’t fit the mood of our store.
So the soul searching began. What do our customers expect for “mood music” inside our store??? Who is our target audience??? Our store has that old, rustic feel… so how does everyone feel about the music, or do y’all even notice it??? We had lots of questions rolling around in our minds.
Decisions…we both love all different types of genres of music, so it was becoming a difficult choice, but our favorites should not drive our final decision… it should be based on what our customers feel as a connection to our store.
Then COVID hit. Things changed quickly for us as we moved into curbside service only. Wayne, one of our longtime employees, decided that home was where he needed to be. It was the safest option for him. Adjustments were made in staffing, and his “boom box” back at the key desk was silent.
I missed those classic country tunes that Wayne always played while he worked. I missed him and his music. His radio station was always a classic country music station. No one turned his radio station to another one… it was just what was always on. So one of my connections to the hardware store was Wayne’s music. 🎶🎶🎶🎶
Music & song lyrics have a way of bringing up memories that are powerful. We missed Wayne, and playing country music in his absence, was a way of having a small part of him there with us. A new pattern began to emerge for us during the COVID curbside. We were listening to country music.
Our discussions turned then to maybe we should look at that genre of music. To us, it seemed to make sense. Country music does have a more laid back tone, & rustic nature. Country music also tends to focus on life in the everyday. The song lyrics communicate ordinary life. Shopping at your local hardware store can be part of your routine errands, usual stops… you know… things you do everyday.
You may not have noticed our music inside our store on your last visit. We are consistently trying to keep the country music 🎶 going. We are still developing playlists, and adjusting our music to hopefully keep our customers happy.
Our ultimate goal, that y’all find our music to be a perfect fit for your shopping experience with us at Wilkes County Hardware. Whether the music just blends into the background or speaks to your soul as you shop.🎶🎶
As a closing footnote: IG stories survey results- 75 percent of our customers think country music is a good fit for our store. It appears we have found our hardware Life soundtrack 😉.