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.
Logistics… in the business world, this is essential & crucial part of doing day to day work. The logistical problems of 2020-2021 brought about by a pandemic event has made it even more difficult for business to be carried out. 😳The supply chain difficulties have been unprecedented! The hardware business has unquestionably been impacted by logistical problems.
What are we truly talking about when we say the term logistics?Logistics is the management of the flow of things from an originating point to the point of consumption. In essence, how resources are acquired, stored, transported to an ultimate final destination.
Please bear with me a moment & I will share a simple example…Making your morning coffee, you need a coffee pot, water and coffee right??? Your resources must be available- water, coffee, coffee maker, & electricity in order to get brewing. What happens if one of those things becomes unavailable??? No coffee right??? 😢😢😢😢😢
During the height of Pandemic life many people were stuck at home. Many people turned to the world of internet shopping in order to meet the wants/needs of their lifestyle. Internet orders skyrocketed! I’m sure this is not news to most of you as you read this. Let’s go back to the intent of this blog post… logistics. The pace of transporting goods to customers skyrocketed. Goods weren’t moving quickly to meet the demand of the consumer. The logistical line was broken. Pandemic life and logistical issues were commonplace.
I think the general assumption was that 2021 would rectify the problems of logistics and the supply chain. That has not happened thus far.
From a business owners standpoint, we can see so many issues in convergence at one time and point. Here is a quick overview of a few issues we see each week when it comes to ordering for our customers.
1. Raw materials shortages( metals, resins/plastics, pvc, peat, electrical components, pool chemicals…) I could go on but… well the list is long😳
2. Shipping delays from issues directly at port, staffing, increasing costs, congestion at port areas…
3. Allocation buying- limits being placed on what you can purchase
4. Bulk buying of 3rd party resellers… ultimately makes products unavailable for us( businesses) to purchase and increases your price online 😳
5. Trucking issues- equipment & staffing issues.. and more
6. Many companies are now staffing employees in shifts around the clock in order to try to keep up with consumer demand. It takes a bit of time to add an entire new shift, (ie..3rd shift into your business model)
7. The reality of what is actually happening from our customers standpoint maybe slightly different. The topic of conversation sometimes comes up when they ask for a product and we may/not have it on shelf at that moment. We have heard lots of outlandish viewpoints on the pandemic, some are thought provoking, and others very poignant.
8. Richard and I are “digging” into our available inventory each week in order to keep our shelves stocked. That may mean items are new, or temporary replacement items until our tried and true brands can become available for purchase again. Keep checking back with us for a specific item if we don’t have it on hand. Items often go out of stock for a few weeks and become temporary unavailable.
9. FYI: Hands down the most requested item in 2020 & 2021 mason jars and canning lids!!!
As logistics concerns continue into the last portion of 2021, we are dedicated to the process of vigorously working through shortages, allocation buying and grimacing through the third party resellers who gobble up much needed items of our customers.
Lastly, my thankful words to our loyal customers and friends today, we truly appreciate you dearly for shopping local with us. The more you shop local, the money can stay within our community and add buying power for our small business.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many of us have spent a great deal of time at HOME in 2020. Just a couple of closing thoughts on HOME for you today as we look back at life in 2020.
Home is where you belong, & are loved
Home should tell your story of who you are, and be a showcase of your collection of treasures- albeit the things you love , in whatever form those treasures might be in- human, animal, plants, objects, etc
Home can be a feeling, do you have multiple places where you truly feel at “home” when you are there???
Some folks travel around the globe searching for home
– When we leave home, we leave something of ourselves behind.
How we HOME has not really changed in 2020. We still have those essentials in place. Y’all may have DIYed in your home this year to reflect new needs within your home, but those beautiful memories are still strong.
Y’all have made our small business HOME . We couldn’t do this without you. Thank you for your continued support during 2020. We truly appreciate it. We are looking forward to another great year in 2021 as your #hometownhardware store.