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Lighthouses Stores

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Today is National Lighthouse Day… I often go check my calendar in the early morning hours to see what type of holidays are on the horizon. I immediately thought, oh well, we live in the NC Mountains, no connections there, but then I began to think about the symbolism of a lighthouse.

Lighthouses are symbols of guidance offering the “light”or can be a safe haven for those who need it. Lighthouses could be a place of calm and refuge.

My thoughts then went to local businesses in 2020… So here are my questions for you today.

Where are your “lighthouse stores”?In other words, who are the stores you frequent the most, seeking advice, getting the essentials, where are the places where you feel welcome, & can you shop safely in your lighthouse store???

Are they local shops??? Big box stores??? Do you get the service you need from your go-to stores??? Are your lighthouse stores a “beacon in the darkness”, in other words, are your questions being answered after shopping there or do you leave more frustrated???

At Wilkes County Hardware, we hope that we are one of your lighthouse stores that you listed out today as you were thinking this over in your mind 🤔.

Over the last 5 years, we have developed a good list of services we offer to our customers that they are not able find in other places easily. We rekey locks so customers can sleep easier at night, find solutions to project dilemmas, & even answer phone calls about when it is a good time to plant, or can vegetables.

Our ultimate goal is to be there when you need us, “a beacon in the night”, providing answers/solutions and offering hospitality to all.

Our WHY…

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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.

Letter to Graduating Seniors

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I was asked by a local publication to share my best wishes & advice for the current graduating class of 2020. This was my first narrative after my grandmother’s passing in May. I am so thankful that Brian Carlton asked me to do this because I lacked the motivation to write anything after her death.

I’m grateful to a few friends who were willing to share their thoughts & ideas with me as I went through this writing process. Thanks for being my tribe 💕. I hope y’all enjoy the letter to graduating seniors.

Senior Class of 2020,

Congratulations! What an amazing achievement you have just reached in life! I am so very happy for each and everyone of you! As a retired teacher, and now a local business owner, I know how hard each of you has worked in order to get to this day! Your greater community is so very proud of you.

So what happens next in your educational and life journey? The world today gives us a perception that times are too uncertain. Please know that your decisions are all within your circle of control. You have the ability to control your words, thoughts, actions, choices, behaviors, & efforts. I do realize these historic and unprecedented times are not how you envisioned your graduation. But, now is the time to celebrate your achievements, cherish your school memories, and look ahead to the future. Dig deep within yourself and find that inner strength to focus on potential opportunities for your future.

Speaking of new opportunities, some of you might be thinking of heading off to a university, community college, or possibly even in the “world of work”. No matter what path you take in the next few years, you will continue to evolve, change and grow as a young adult. Learning will be a constant in life.

As you transition into the next phase of life, here are a few reflective life learning experiences that I have found to be helpful in my journey. I hope you can use these 7 tips as insight & encouragement for your future endeavors.

1. Treasure those in your life. Love your “tribe of family & friends” fiercely. Nothing is guaranteed or promised in this world. So that being said, stay connected, call home! Visit home as much as you possibly can do it. Your family is a very important part of your journey & they will be your biggest advocate.

2. Keep life simple. Experiences & memories in life are the things you will always have, possessions will not last.

3. Dream BIG! Set goals for yourself. Life is not a sprint, it is a journey to be enjoyed & cherished. When you set a goal, understand it may take years to fully achieve, & be patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

4. Show kindness to yourself & others. Let this one sink in for a minute. Life is not a perfect process. We all learn from success and failure. Be gracious & extend kindness in all things you do. Remember to say “thank you”, “yes ma’am”,& “no sir”. A kind heart goes a long way in our world.

5. Connections in life are important. The people you meet & encounter in life will sometimes circle back into your life via work, church, friends, or even into family circles. Use compassion, grace & understanding in difficult situations.

6. Find and develop your skills & talents. What are you passionate about? As you grow and change, your interests and inspiration can create new opportunities. Be flexible. Be willing to adapt to new ideas and change.

7. Last, but not least, keep your body strong … mentally and physically. Let’s elaborate. Reading as an adult helps your mental capabilities, increases vocabulary skill set, & can improve memory. Reading for information is a powerful tool. Become an independent thinker, read and form your own opinions about news, politics and the world around us. And remember, it is ok to disconnect from your devices and unwind at the end of the day. Reflection is an excellent way to disconnect from the daily grind and evaluate what is next. In those quiet moments (in the car, spiritual time,journaling, etc) allows you to evaluate your goals, make decisions about goals…is this the path I still wish to take? do I need to adapt my goals, what did I learn along the way? In essence, you can learn from your success & mistakes.

And finally, be physically active…get outside when you can, enjoy the natural world around you, it is good for your overall health.

My final parting wish to you today, “may you be richly blessed in your journey ahead”. Your greater community is excited to see how your success will continue to add to our future growth in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

Angela Searcy

Co-owner of Wilkes County Hardware

Resilience, Lemons, & Lemonade

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I met a lady about a month ago, she was visibly upset when she approached our front table- this was during our curbside service, but she was pleasant enough.

Luke went off busy filling her order and we were not busy with customers everywhere so I just stayed to chat with her. Over the next few minutes, she began to tell me she had been laid off from her job due to Covid complications within her workplace.

The company she worked for had been slowly laying off one group of employees at a time, & her time had finally arrived. I felt helpless that I could not offer any comfort to her other than allowing opportunity to talk about it with me. As her order was completed, I wished her the best of luck with her job, & prayers that it would be a short layoff and she would be back to work very soon.

As she walked towards her car, I began to reflect on our conversation and I could tell that she had a good sense of what was happening, she would continue on with her life as normal as she could make it. She was living through the challenges and changes of life in 2020.

Life in 2020 has presented many changes. One word keeps coming to my mind, as I reflect on the obstacles, challenges, & changes this year has brought. We used this word a lot in the educational community, Resilience.

What is resilience???

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant stress- family, workplace, health crisis & financial stresses.

I think most everyone could say stressors are up significantly in 2020. I feel confident that we all could easily tap into some portion of the definition… so how do we deal with all these unique challenges & changes in 2020???

My mind went quickly to this old saying… “ when life gives you lemons, make lemonade “. I believe it is quite true even today.

Those folks who seem to be the strongest in the toughest of times, they are ultimately dealing with the situations they are given and moving through it one step at a time… dealing with each lemon, keeping all things in perspective.

The final outcome could be definitely different from what was originally planned or expected. Once your perspective shifts, change can occur.

I suspect that life in 2020 will continue to be just that… different from anything we all expected or anticipated, the lemons continue to flourish in 2020…

Bringing home the “Lessons learned about Resilience in 2020”? “When life gives you lemons, you just go make lemonade”. I think I need to take the time to find the good in what I have. Maybe I need to appreciate the time I have carved out for myself, flourish in the company around me, & refresh my mindset. And lastly, sip on the lemonade. I’m going to enjoy the fruits of my labor😉.

Hardware Life

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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 😊

Old School Air Conditioner…

The photo I shared today is a definite throwback to an earlier era in our hardware store history today… I wonder how old this thermometer could be???

The heat and humidity are “off the charts” again today in Wilkes.

Our team is staying hydrated in the heat, as we have the “all natural air conditioning” in our store… open doors- catch the breeze.. and ceiling fans going.

Last summer we upgraded our ceiling fans from ONE lonely old fan to 8!!! The old one was quickly retired. What an amazing difference it has made in air flow in all types of weather!!!

So literally when we say we are an old school hardware store, we truly are… wood stove heat and natural air conditioning 😉.

Stay cool and hydrated this summer y’all!!!