Six years ago we began our journey into hardware store ownership. It was an exciting time, a plan was emerging from our minds on what we envisioned happening in our new business.
Our official name became Wilkes County Hardware. Many folks still refer to us as Wilkes Hardware and wonder where Harvey is… lol he hasn’t owned the hardware store for many years. Gerald Lankford owned the store for 10 years before selling it to us. Harvey was the owner before Gerald.
Gerald stayed with Richard for the first year so that he could learn all aspects of the business, including the pools.
The first year is still pretty much a blur… we decided to add a point of sale computer system instead of a basic cash register so that inventory could be monitored closely, & new fixtures went in. A major highlight of year one was the filming of our hardware store on NC Public TV.
In the next few years, we added staff, continued to add new products into our lineup. One neat find inside our walls … when we opened up a space near the front entrance and found two doors that had been covered up for many years with pegboard. The captions that follow along with the pictures will chronicle the rest of our story.
I was standing in my kitchen Thursday morning before leaving to go to the hardware store, listening to Hoda and Jenna in the background on the television.
Hoda began to discuss a feature she had recently saw on Warren Buffett. He had revealed a bit of life advice.
The life advice conversation Hoda was retelling focused on the people in your inner circle, those who you could call upon in times of crisis or need. Buffett had spoken about a dear friend who survived Auschwitz. Every time they would meet someone new, they make a mental note, “would they have hid me”?
Wow… those type of friends or family are the people you need in your inner circle of life. Definitely those who you can count on in times of laughter and crisis….Right???
It was always an an “Aha moment”, when my middle students realized that Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr were born in the same year, 1929.
This interview piece brought several things to the forefront of my mind. I recalled that, Holocaust Remembrance Day was earlier this past week.
One of things we discussed in class was how different their experiences were, but the history of the times bonded them together, they were in the “same life boat of history “.
As I heard the interview from my kitchen, it all came to me…my grandparents were born in 1928. This was not a revolutionary insight, but more of a full circle moment for me.
I have lost two people from my inner circle that loved me dearly. The events from the interview and real life combined into my daily existence…
My grandparents would have been there for me if I needed them.
My inner circle may have grown smaller, but those who are inside that circle, are there because they would do anything they could for me or my family.
Grief is hard…
AND Life is short y’all. Find & keep those who are in your inner circle, those who would have “hid” you.
My grandparents witnessed a tremendous amount of history in their lifetime. Just like Anne Frank & MLK, they “arrived in different ships” but they ended up in the same “historical boat”.
Is your “boat” full ??? Who’s in your inner circle of care??? Do you have room for more on board???
February brings me full circle in 2021. This time last year, my grandmother took a huge downturn in health. I spent many hours at my grandparents house and a few hours in between at the hardware store.
With both of my grandparents now gone, I have more time to focus work, another huge part of my life journey, Another chapter…
Perspective. Chapters do come to an end, & things change. Sometimes life is hard. As another chapter begins to unfold, another one concludes.
I realize that these chapters should not dictate my life story, and I know they are an important part of my story.
So I’m ready this February to greet the circle of change, coming full circle.
As a retired history teacher, this day many years ago, was a watershed event in American history. Famously stated now by our former President, Franklin Roosevelt, “December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy-the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
How Americans lived and worked simply turned on a dime after this tragic day. America quickly entered into World War II and wartime life began.
The significance of history sometimes makes me consider the present day… in 2020, our world has experienced one of those unique watershed events, fighting a pandemic.
No, we may not have sent troops into full combat across the globe to fight against tyranny. But for many folks, 2020 will be a year that will go down in “infamy “.
Those like my grandparents who were part of the Great Depression/WWII Era, were called the Greatest Generation, rightfully so, in my opinion.
The “Greatest Generation” was given the name by news anchor, Tom Brokaw. These folks contributed to war effort, fought in war, & helped however they could because it was the right thing to do. They also worked in war production plants, & rationed… yes, they sacrificed… they didn’t have the basic necessities so the troops could have them during the war. Meatless days, Wheatless days, no sugar, coffee, & gas rationing. What an amazing group of people who made our nation stronger! If you still have these folks in your life, hold them dearly in your heart & prayers each day.
What will history reveal about life in 2020 Pandemic Life??? Will it be a “Greatest Generation Scenario” where folks did everything they could??? Or will it be a more muddled view???
My mind goes back to the old Thomas Paine passage from the American Crisis, “ These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer solider and sunshine patriot will in times of crisis shrink, from the service of their country…”
2020 has brought trying times. No need to elaborate. People are struggling everywhere, sickness, quarantine, economic struggles, business closings… the list is long.
Thomas Paine wrote these words during the American Revolution. By the way, the word revolution, it is a synonym for change…. we talked a lot about this in history. It doesn’t have to be a “change” in governmental structure. Case in point, The Industrial Revolution- so much change occurred in our world during this time.
Think about how our lives have changed in 2020… new ways to teach students, working from home, zoom, curbside business, to go orders only at restaurants, the list is long and still changing daily. Life in 2020 has been revolutionary whether we realize it or not.
I must admit, at times, I wanted to shrink away and just go hide. The difficulties of 2020 have been relentless in my world. I would bet that we all have had those days… but 2020 experiences have made me a stronger person. I’m still here, working through different situations as they arise, one at a time, using friends & family and prayer as my anchors.
The revolutionary quote by Thomas Paine continues, “ but he who stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman”. In other words, we need to have strength to continue on.
Stay strong. Be safe. Practice social distancing, wear your mask, wash your hands. Follow the science. Do all the right things, like our grandparents did during WWII.
We are now experiencing some of the darkest times of the pandemic, our numbers seem to continue to rise more and more each day. Let’s end 2020 with Hope…. Such a small word, HOPE. The power it holds is mind boggling.
I leave you today with more words from the World War II Era, just like I began this blog post… Winston Churchill’s famous line from WWII, “we shall never surrender”. In the speech he gave, he told the people of his nation, “we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields…” in other words, he told them, we are not giving up. We will press on… The “Greatest Generation”.
So I guess that could be a significant lesson for us today in 2020. Not giving up, always seeking answers, finding solutions to difficult problems. “Never surrender”. Go find your hope today.
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!!!! 😉
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.