Blog

The Clothesline

I was walking around the hardware store yesterday checking the shelves for products that needed replenishment. I came upon a roll of clothesline. My mind began to instantly wander from the task at hand. My productivity waned… I was lost in my thoughts.

We sell clothesline at Wilkes County Hardware, even the old fashioned cotton type & clothespins

The memories came flooding back of my mom’s clothesline when I was growing up. We spent the Saturdays putting the sheets, & towels onto the clothesline. It was a time saver for mom, not having to run the dryer all day after working all week.

My sister and I both had “jobs” while we were assisting hanging clothes on the clothesline. We both were too young to reach the clothesline for ourselves. We had it down to a well-oiled system. One of us carried the old metal dishpan outside into the fresh, clean air towards the line. Of course the clothespins were in hand too. Once we were at the line, I handed mom each piece of laundry from the dishpan, while my younger sister, delved out the clothespins. Mom hung the laundry in sync with the wind. The whole process didn’t take long.

Mom used an old metal dishpan like this one, wet laundry was too heavy in the laundry basket… of course I asked her why she used this when I was little…

Now, memories are often nostalgic… so I must say that my mom’s memories of these Saturdays at the clothesline are probably different from ours. She probably remembers the trips out to the clothesline where we both complained about the weather being too hot, or bees flying too closely, or even those hateful chestnut burrs that were close by waiting to prey on our innocence toes/feet in the late summer/early fall months. I know complaints were definitely lodged… but we always finished our task, hanging the laundry out to dry.

Oh… those chestnut burrs were rough on the feet!!!

I’m glad my sister & I were able to experience so many wonderful things during our childhood that are now seemingly falling away into the past.

Everyone used to have a clothesline… now I bet that if you still have a clothesline in 2021, you are a rare lucky person.

Back to nostalgia, as we both grew older, mom sent us out to the clothesline to hang or even harvest the freshly dried clothes. I took them down while my sister held the fresh loot.

I can still smell the scent of the sheets & towels dried outdoors. Nothing was better than those air dried sheets on your bed at night.

However, I do recall, that towels and washcloths from the line were not a favorite of mine. They were a little too rough for my liking. We used the line mostly for sheets anyways.

My dad eventually took the old chestnut trees down and made way for some new backyard landscaping as I got older. The clothesline was used less frequently as we got older.

But that clothesline was a constant in my backyard during my childhood. Things change as do people. I will always cherish those good memories of times spent together at the clothesline, soaking up the fresh outdoor air & sunshine.

Hope

The Spring season & Easter holiday always brings a sense of hope.

Spring is beginning to emerge in all of its glory, with the grand rebirth of nature. The first flowers bloom, trees are sprouting the first tiny green leaves, & the grass awakens from its winter slumber. Birds are busy nesting, and their chirping can be heard from early mornings to late in the evening.

Easter for many people is a significant religious experience… the love of God and his Grace forever changed the world… bringing HOPE to all.

Spring of 2021 just “feels” very different from Spring 2020, which was fully immersed in the Covid pandemic.

As I recall, this time last year, our reality was very different. As a nation, we were focused on Covid, shutdowns, & finding new ways of doing business. Many businesses closed. 2020 was also spent on how to control the spread of the virus, & let’s not forget the shortages of key products. I think the list is lengthy, so I’ll not continue.

Clorox wipes, toilet paper, N95 masks, and so much more…

Our focus as business owners at Wilkes County Hardware last spring was on “essential business operations”.

When many states across the US shutdown spring of 2020, our state did also. Hardware stores were considered to be essential.

For a few months, curbside service was offered in order to keep our customers & employees safe. We are still offering call ahead curbside for anyone who wants it even still now.

Last spring we dealt with consistent shortages of all types of items. This was a new problem that we had never encountered as a business owners.

Store stock merchandise had always been always readily available prior to Covid. Trying to find alternatives or other venders was difficult at times AND still continues into 2021 spring season.

I will say that finding solutions to living during a pandemic did prove to be a challenge and how to manage a business during it all, felt at times, all encompassing.

HOPE kept us going.

I’ll conclude with one of my favorite quotes concerning hope. “May all your choices reflect your hopes not your fears”. Well done Nelson Mandela…

Working the Algorithm

Social media…Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, blogs, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok… we all probably use at least one or more forms of these almost everyday.

How much do you know about the algorithm???? The set of rules that organizes, filters, and sends content into your social media feed.

I can tell you I am still learning about how the algorithm works in Instagram and Facebook. When I started this journey five and half years ago, I didn’t even have a Facebook account.

As our business grew, the interest intensified for me to dabble into the social media world, get the word out about our business ownership and the services/products we provide to our community.

The more I used these social media sites, the more I wanted to know truly how all this works… It has been informative for me, so I thought it might be valuable for you as well.

Hopefully you will find this useful as you navigate your favorite social media pages. I know my actions have changed since I have learned more about how the algorithm works.

Please don’t take this as an exclusive piece of knowledge, this is only a small portion of what I have researched and learned.

In Instagram, once your content is posted, it will go to the people who are the MOST active on your Instagram feed first. Instagram sends it to these folks first… those who comment, engage regularly with your posts… (hit the heart ❤️ button, commenting etc.)Once these folks are active on the new post, and they react to it, comment or ❤️, the algorithm will push it out to a larger audience.

The better the “new” post does(❤️ or actively making comments) more people will get to see your post.

The same happens thing to your post if those key followers DO NOT react to your latest post. If they don’t ❤️ it, or comment, the post will be shown to fewer people.

The “average” lifespan” of an Instagram post is about 24 hours. 😳Whatever message you wish to convey, the span of time is short and fleeting. The same Facebook post does seem to have a longer life span if the post performance is good.

Facebook also seems to track your “favorites”…Those you interact with while on Facebook and you tend to see those posts more frequently.

Next, let’s talk about making comments on Instagram and a Facebook post, keeping the algorithm in mind.

The algorithm loves to see a comment that is more than 4 words, in essence a sentence.

When you type 4 or more words into a comment, It is a strong indication that you took the time to engage,( stop to read it) & gave a thoughtful response back.

Leaving a comment like a single ❤️ or even a 👍🏻 could be an indicator of a bot to the algorithm.

Posts that have thoughtful engagement do well, on both Instagram and Facebook.

So if you truly love a post, then take the time to send an appropriate reaction. Honestly, a well thought out response is what most people love.

We have truly been blessed with AMAZING followers!!!! Many do take the time to react to our posts and we appreciate it so very much.

Please continue to support your favorite small businesses. One small significant way in which you can do that is easy…hit that like/love button or comment on posts. The algorithm is looking for these type of activity from users.

In order to grow our account, we have to continue to get out there to a wider audience within our hardware community. So we need your help in order to continue to grow in an authentic & organic way. The most simple ways I have previously mentioned, but a “slam dunk” is to share the post.

In Facebook it is easy to do, hit the share icon and send it out to your own personal feed where more folks will see it.

Instagram works a little bit differently in order to share content that was posted. The paper airplane icon sends content to your story. This is a good way to share information with others.

Speaking of stories… Instagram Stories are huge!!!! Most Instagram followers view at least some IG stories each day. Stories are a quick way to view fun, quick bits of content.

Stories are an EXCELLENT way to engage with followers. Particularly, getting feedback on what followers love. The more feedback you can give your favorite businesses, the better they can serve you and your greater community.

So participate in polls and those slider stickers… send a message in DM if you love a photo from a story. All of these count as good engagement, which is absolutely amazing news for continued growth and spreading awareness of services/products that businesses are offering.

In closing, you as a follower, have a tremendous amount of influence on how your favorite businesses will grow. You can be passively active in your social media pages and small businesses can continue to fight the algorithm or you can assist them in continuing growth.

Our growth has been slow but steady over the last few years and we applaud your efforts and support.

Ultimately, social media is more than algorithms, hashtags, &followers. When you have the opportunity to connect with a group of people who have similar interests, it can be powerful.

Social media has created connections to friends and family all over the world.

Connections… part of our why we do what we do, helping our customers and followers within our community to find what they need in our hometown hardware store, no algorithm is necessary for that.

100 Year Old Dust

“I dusted once and it came back… I’m not falling for that again😂.” Anyone else heard of this cute little quote??? Have you ever been there yourself???

Dusting your home can be one of those thankless tasks that you are doing often. If you have the right tools from your Wilkes County Hardware team it can be an easier chore to accomplish. So before I get too busy with my blog post, don’t forget we have some great cleaning products for your home. Come see us soon!!! We always enjoy your visits!!!

Back to blog post reality… the running joke at Wilkes County Hardware… we have the best dust ever!!! We all affectionately refer to it as “100 Year Old Dust”. That’s right… we have the good stuff, century old dust 😂. What is even more amazing… it never seems to disappear😳.

Our building dates back into the early 1900’s. A good guesstimate would be our building could be 116 years old.

Those of y’all that have been loyal readers of my blog may also recall the blog post about “Old School Air Conditioning”… in other words, we open the doors and let the air circulate through, all the pollen, dust, & dirt naturally flows inside. Creating more dust you know…

The broom is busy usually during the slower times to help sweep up some of the 100 Year Old Dust as time allows AND we try to regularly clean the racks as often as we can. But, the century old dust floats down from the upstairs level and often settles onto surfaces… it is a constant battle.

A great point of nostalgia inside our store would have to be our freight elevator… folks love it. Yes, it still works and we use it often. The elevator does a create that large gaping hole inside our building, allowing the 100 year old dust to freely flow from second floor to our main floor.

Lastly, one of the unique features of our hardware store is the wood stove. During the cold weather season, the stove creates its own “dusty” problems, but it is our main source of heat and folks love it too.

Life inside an old school hardware store as you might recall in your own personal experience…seeing a bit of dust or even a “packed hardware inventory” in which only the owner knows where everything is located. So an old school hardware store can be full of nostalgia for many of us… right??? A trip back down memory lane of times past, & times we enjoyed. Nostalgia to me could be best defined as memories of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, and the things you never wish to lose.

Here’s a good old school hardware store bit of nostalgia from my childhood. I can remember the days of going into nearby hardware store in Roaring River with my dad just wondering how on earth could they find anything in there!!! Every surface was covered with hardware products, and I remember seeing the old, dusty floors. It was always an adventure going inside there in my mind as a kid.

So it got me to thinking a little bit…. Folks might be seeking some old school hardware store nostalgia when they arrive at Wilkes County Hardware. I think they are pleased to see that these type of stores still exist in 2021.

We are extremely thankful & grateful for the opportunity to help those in our community by offering several hardware services unique to our business, and maybe not offered anywhere else in town.

I’ll be content keeping track of our 100 Year Old Dust everyday because you can’t find another hardware store like ours anywhere else in town… the old school hardware store, complete with 100 Year Old Dust, and so much more 😊.