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Resilience, Lemons, & Lemonade

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😉.

Routines

Monday has arrived again. Some of you maybe sad to be getting back into the “work routine” again after a few days off from the July 4th holiday.

We are excited to begin our 5th year in service to our customers & local community. So, I’m living & loving the logo I posted out there for y’all today on this blog post.

Even though Covid might have altered your daily routines, don’t forget to set your mindset for success this week. Keep your routines going.

Are routines important??? Yes!!! If you plan your day, you can become more efficient in what you do/need to do, which in turn could save valuable time!!! And let’s face it, those of us who love to procrastinate🙄, if you have a plan, it is much harder to put things off!

Routines provide framework for our lives & how we wish to live. Routines can instill good habits or bad habits. Do your habits help you accomplish your future goals??? If not, reevaluate your mindset. Once your priorities are set, your momentum will continue to roll in the positive direction.

My daily normal routines definitely have been out of sink lately. My grandmother’s sickness, her subsequent death, & caring for my grandfather, plus Covid life all rolled into the mix. One could say that routines have definitely been altered quite dramatically.

A very kind employee who has gone through a similar situation with a family member, continues to tell me, just prioritize, make a list when you feel overwhelmed, and do one thing at a time.

This has been very helpful advice for me. I have found out that everything does not usually get done in a day, but it is amazing to see the items crossed off the list at the end of the day!!! I can start fresh again the next day and prioritize my next steps.

My new “routine” is to review planner to do list everyday. This is now becoming an established habit. Ultimately what do I need to accomplish??? My planner has become my “new best buddy” these last few months.

Routines help give us a sense of normalcy in not so normal times. Honestly, I just need a little bit of normalcy now in my life.

Just a few minutes ago, I was working in the kitchen, and my son came up the steps and said, “oh, do I smell spaghetti sauce cooking”?

Yes, slow cooked spaghetti sauce is cooking up, a routine event for us on Monday nights. I don’t always do this every Monday, but a good consistent meal on a crazy hardware store Monday – unloading truck, payroll, helping customers, etc, the day rolls into early evening quite quickly without much thought or time to think about dinner prep 😳!!!

So I’m gonna keep making my slow cooked spaghetti sauce on Monday nights. It gives me a sense of comfort to make meals that my family enjoys and loves. Routines… 😊

Hardware Life

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.

One of our best selling logo hats

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. 🌳🌳🌳

Our wood stove is a constant source of heat

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 😊

Our Family… Always First

Total honesty post…

The picture I’m sharing with y’all today is from our trip back from Yadkinville last night. The sunset was breathtaking. Richard commented on its grandeur as we began our drive back from Mountain Valley Hospice House. I was able to capture only a small portion of the skies natural state. Richard & I have made this trip together regularly for the last week now. Spending a few moments each day with a very sick loved one, are minutes that I will treasure always. 💕

So I’m just getting it out there, these times are hard. Everyone is struggling somehow in life. Life is not “normal “ anymore. COVID 19 has changed how we live and work or not working. Changes have been coming fast in the last few months and some folks have been sick. People are ready to get things back to normal.

That being said, I am going to address the next phase of business for us at Wilkes County Hardware and what our current vision looks like.

After May 8th, WCH will still do curbside service only at this time. We will slowly proceed with caution. Our WCH staff is like our family. Many of you know, Wayne has been home waiting out the brunt of the COVID crisis and we miss him dearly🤗. Our staff has been great to work through such a unique & challenging time. We love & appreciate each and every staff member at WCH. As a business owner, we feel compelled to create a safe & healthy working environment for our staff, they are our family too.

Many folks have been gracious, kind and understanding of the new normal at WCH, curbside service only. Please know that we value each and everyone of you!!! We must take care of our family first, immediate family and our staff. So business will not be normal for us for a while longer. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as we do our best to help you with your hardware store needs.

Eventually our plans are to gradually reopen our doors, welcoming our customers & community back inside the rustic walls of Wilkes County Hardware. Social distancing and other criteria will be in place when we reopen based on the current CDC recommendations. Please stay posted for further updates and information.

Thank you

Richard & Angela Searcy

#Wilcostrong

What is Wilco…

We live in Wilkes County, NC. I guess you could say the “younger generation” have been calling our county, Wilco for several years. A fellow business owner, Cook’s Sporting Goods, has been able to market that effectively for the last few years. It has become quite trendy/fashionable to wear Wilco gear.

What is #Wilcostrong…

Simply put, our Wilkes County community pulling together and working together for a greater good during this COVID crisis.

Idea Time…

Back in March 2020, local restaurants had already been forced to do curbside only. The stress was already beginning to show and many local businesses were anxious about what was going to happen next. Our small town has taken several hits to our economy in the last several years. Major businesses have left, & corporate offices are gone. Food insecurity is a issue for more people than some people care to realize. I felt we needed to be working together to share our stories in order to help each other. Cook’s Sporting Goods had started to share out other small businesses Instagram stories each day… The Cook’s team and I had discussed potentially doing that to direct more business information flow to local businesses & locally owned restaurants. This sharing of information was to help our community to be more aware of current changes in business hours, new menus, new products, curbside services, etc. (By the way, this was all before the NC state executive order to shutdown).

Original WCH hardware store post…

Here is the direct context of the Facebook/Instagram post from March 18, 2020…

“So many businesses in our small town have been dramatically impacted by the current health crisis. We are open for business and several other small businesses are offering curbside service. Find our Instagram stories for local updates from other local businesses across our 2 towns. We are #wilcostrong!!! Other local businesses, we encourage you to use this hashtag to show support for our community. Simply add your business logo or storefront to this hashtag and share out to your Facebook or Instagram page and let’s work together in order to keep our local businesses functioning during this unprecedented event. Feel free to share other small businesses posts to share information out to a larger audience. We can do this together!!! Lastly, a BIG thank you to our followers and customers who continue to shop local!!! We couldn’t do this without you!!! 😊”

So that was it…

A simple post asking for fellow businesses to tag posts using a hashtag and to work together.

What happened next…

I received a text message from a friend once he saw the logo on the Cook’s Sporting Goods Facebook page with a Wilcostrong logo- he made a suggestion of a t-shirt using #wilcostrong as a 💡 idea. One quick phone call and the Cook’s team began to seriously work on this potential new idea…. Here you go, the birth of the t-shirt fundraiser project began…..

Hashtag time…

So we had the hashtag #wilcostrong and it was starting to trend among local businesses, folks were sharing each other’s posts via Instagram stories, helping to spread the word about local businesses. It makes me smile just a little bit wider each time I see another local business sharing what someone else is doing😊

T-shirt design…

#Wilcostrong was beginning to catch on, we had an idea and we wanted to capture the movement in a positive direction. The idea of t-shirt design was in the works. The team at Cook’s got busy working on a design with an old school pickup truck, loaded with goodies from shopping trips at local retailers without specifying names. It would be virtually impossible to name every small business in town. Cook’s team worked with us as equals- we helped to pick final design & color of the t-shirt. By the time the shirt was ready, to print, NC Business shutdown was in effect. Many of our neighbors in Downtown North Wilkesboro are currently closed and unable to do business as usual. 😢

Giving Back…

We were all in agreement that too many local folks had already been impacted by the NC state shutdown. So it was agreed by all involved that we should give proceeds to Samaritan’s Kitchen.

At least $5.00 or more of t-shirt sales ( per shirt) would be given back to Samaritan’s Kitchen. Samaritan’s Kitchen serves as a local food pantry for our community. Each week, volunteers help to organize and bag 700 “backpack” food bags for needy local students& their families each and every week!!! With the current Covid crisis, teachers, & counselors, or bus drivers are delivering those out to student families if they are unable to get to school each week!!! So, the need is great inside our community and constant.

Results are still coming in…

At the time this blog post was posted, 286 t-shirts have been sold so far!!!! One local business owner ordered t-shirts for their entire staff😊. Orders are continuously coming in each day. Absolutely amazing!!!! 💕