Demolition started with the little corner building… the old gas station side
Category Archives: entrepreneurship
The Paper Bag Experience
I can remember going into our local community grocery stores at Martin Cheek’s or Alexander’s Grocery and shopping for a quick “go to item” and coming back to the car with item in tow tucked inside a paper bag.
My memories of helping my mom carry in the groceries from the car, and not ONE of those bags was plastic y’all.
I maybe telling my age but, paper bags were the only option at the local grocery store. Over my lifetime, things shifted and plastic bags have become the standard.
As we approach the beginnings of year SEVEN in the hardware business, I realized the other day that paper bags are ONE thing our customers have grown accustomed to with each purchase inside our historic, hardware walls. Yes, we hand stamp our name on each individual paper bag! Bag stamping is a routine part of what we do each week.
Processing and writing this blog post, I began to wonder… Are businesses that offer paper bags perceived by the consumer as a more “customer service friendly” small business???? Is the overall atmosphere somehow uniquely different from a business that only offers plastic bags at checkout????
Humor me please… Think about this for a minute… where do you currently shop where plastic bags are the norm???? Grocery stores, big box stores??? Can you think of other locations with plastic bags???
Reviewing my current own shopping habits, I recall several stores in our area use plastic over paper bags. Good versus bad, paper or plastic, that is not a bone of contention that I’m undertaking today in the blog post. But, I must admit, I do love a good paper bag! And I do frequent some small shops that offer paper bags over plastic, which is part of the reason why I love these shops! But I must admit, it’s more than the paper bag, it is simply the overall shopping experience.
Y’all, don’t you feel a bit special with a cute paper bag from your purchase? It’s like the shop owner has taken a bit of extra pride, and care into their own livelihood. And marketing that small,unique business with the paper bag. Paper bags are easy for gift giving, reusing, or even recycling.
Further into my reflection, I would like to dive into & explore a tad more into my thoughts about the “atmosphere” in a business with paper bags at checkout versus plastic. Here’s a story I would like to share with y’all today…
I needed a couple of baby gifts, and I wanted to give each one a special gift. I stopped into, A Baby Celebration in our local downtown area. The shop was packed full of all sorts of sweet baby stuff!
As I finished up my purchases at the baby store, I’m thinking in my mind, now I need to gift wrap these and get these gifts to the new soon to be parents. It was almost like the owner read my mind. Maybe she sensed my stress of gift wrapping…having to head out to find the perfect gift wrapping paper or gift bag to place these sweet gifts into. But, that wasn’t the case! The owner then quickly pointed up to the display wall and she asked me to select a gift bag for each gift. I was tickled pink, and it was included in my visit!!! Customer service at its best y’all!
My point is, shopping small businesses can often come with perks you may not often be aware of! Shopping at small businesses, not only can you find quality merchandise, amazing service, friendly atmosphere, gift wrapping, & yes, even paper bags!
Which brings me back to the thought of what could customers infer from small businesses where paper bags are standard?
In my mind, my inference about small businesses that offer that simple, classic paper bag is often a way to keep customers coming back into your store. Customers tend to associate such memorable things with your business… that cute paper bag you carefully placed items into, the excellent customer service you provided, or even the amazing products offered inside your store.
Regardless of whether it is the paper bag, or other reasons, as a small business owner, you want your customers to return often & regularly.
So y’all might be wondering why did we choose paper bags over plastic? Here’s our answer:
1. Nostalgia, when y’all enter our building you have literally stepped back into time. The age of our building dates back to the early 1900’s. We are offering our customers such an experience. I’ll call it, The Paper Bag Experience, stepping back into a time where life was a bit simpler, friendly service, shopping in an “old school”hardware store with the classic brown paper bags as standard fare for packaging.
2. Classic Sophistication, let’s face it, a sweet,,little paper bag is much cooler than a slinky plastic bag😂 right???
3. Social responsibility, Paper bags have a few advantages over plastic when it comes to sustainability. Paper bags are recyclable and biodegradable.
4. Marketing to our customers, our goal is to ensure that every customer feels special! What is more unique & special than a stamped paper bag with our logo information on it???
5. One cool impact of using paper bags in our hardware store, paper bags are often used for gift giving.
In closing, the psychology behind paper v. plastic may not be resolved in this blog post today, but we are thankful that our customers keep returning and continue to support our small business at Wilkes County Hardware.
Richard & I truly appreciate your patronage as we launch into year SEVEN of the hardware business. The Paper Bag Experience has been impactful inside our historic walls. Shopping at Wilkes County Hardware is a definitely a unique experience. Whether you come for nostalgia, love of hardware stores, or locally sourced goods, we can neatly tuck them into a classic brown paper bag as you leave the checkout.
Unlocking the Mystery… Keys
All keys are not created equal.
The variety of keys could boggle the mind if y’all really stopped to think about it (house keys of all shapes & sizes, master lock , mailbox, car, boat, RV, & ATV keys)the list goes on and on!
At Wilkes County Hardware we are known for making keys that work. We stand behind our keys. If ever a key doesn’t work, we will gladly replace it with one that will!
I would guess that not many places are left in our town locally where you can go inside and get a key made accurately in a matter of a few minutes. And I’m not talking about putting money/key into a machine… taking a chance on the luck of getting it absolutely perfect… we are talking about getting your key duplicated by an individual using a key cutting machine. Keys are what we do well. Below are a few examples of what we do everyday for our customers.
A house key is probably the easiest to duplicate. Using the original key is the best way to ensure the most accurate duplication.
Getting car keys duplicated can be a more of a dubious task. Many of today’s car keys are more costly to copy due to their anti-theft/electronic features. Car keys come in many varieties…chip keys, sidewinder keys, & fob keys if lost, can be a costly replacement.
At Wilkes County Hardware, we can replicate most automotive chip keys. The vehicle should be present for a replacement chip key, or really any car key duplicate. It makes it so much easier!
Wilkes County Hardware has been receiving several calls related to lock shop services… ie, Can you come out to my house to rekey my locks? OR I have locked my keys inside my car, can you come get them out… 😳OR can you make me a new key from the switch???? No, we simply duplicate keys at Wilkes County Hardware.
For many years Wilkes Hardware & Wilkes Lock Service were synonymous, and owned by one person. That is no longer the case. These two businesses have been separated from each other for over 17 plus years.
We are common neighbors on 10th Street with two very different businesses. We gladly refer all lock shop questions to our neighbors next door.
As a simple reminder, Wilkes County Hardware offers basic key cutting services, chip keys, & rekeying locks in our store. We are very blessed with an amazing staff who do a fabulous job of keys!
Thank you for supporting our local hardware store business for the last SEVEN years!!! We appreciate your support always!!!
Women Entrepreneurship in Downtown North Wilkesboro
My first memory of a Woman in business had to be my Granny. She owned a fabric shop in West End. It was a fun adventure to visit the fabric shop as a kid. I was old enough to rummage in the loose button barrels and play hide and seek with my cousin in between the fabric bolts. We always had a blast when we were there with her inside the fabric shop.
Upon a bit more reflection, I realized that my work ethic was strongly influenced by my parents. They both modeled an excellent work ethic… Hard work disguised as opportunities.
As I am writing this blog post today, it is International Women’s Day. A day to recognize the achievements of Women everywhere. March is a month where we acknowledge & honor the accomplishments of Women. So I thought why not focus on the Entrepreneurial Women of North Wilkesboro???
I began to really give this some serious attention a few weeks ago when I was driving in the downtown corridor of North Wilkesboro. An epiphany occurred to me…just within the North Wilkesboro downtown area, I realized that many business owners are women OR they “co-own” a business with their spouse. Meaning they are actively involved in the day to day activities of running a successful business!!!!
I began to reflect on each of these businesses and the faces behind them… These ladies who are business owners, are definitely not afraid of hard work or working 6-7 days a week!!!
Each of these individual businesses have unique stories and services to offer to our greater community. We are truly blessed to have each and everyone of these businesses in downtown North Wilkesboro.
Please know that you are appreciated and I applaud your dedication to our community during the last few years. Doing business during Covid has brought us all unique challenges AND new opportunities for success. Thank you for handling it with grace & style.
The following is a short & working list of retail businesses in our North Wilkesboro Downtown corridor that reflect the designation of Women owned/managed according to my definition above in my blog post. Please feel free to tag any other local businesses that would fit into this description in our downtown area.
Key City Antiques
6th & Main
Fruit of the Vine
Ivy Ridge Traditions
Wash House on Main
Vintage Home Studio
Christina Younger Art
Lauren Waterhouse Photography
Cassie Stone Photography
Wilkes County Hardware
Our Oasis Nutrition
Something Special Boutique
Other noteworthy businesses which are not necessarily retail based but would be considered women owned businesses in our downtown area
David’s Car Care
Our locally sourced products inside Wilkes County Hardware operating under the management of Women or husband/wife teams … we appreciate your support of local artisans!!!
Happy Frog Creations
Little Corner Pottery
Made In McGrady
Gypsy Ridge Honey /Soaps
The Land of Canaan Kids Soaps
Old Mule BBQ Sauce
Brushy Mountain Granola
Carolina Kuduz Crazy
Carmik Insect Repellent
Betty Miller Baskets