We lost a dear friend late last week. It has been extremely difficult for me, Richard, and our entire staff to digest this loss. Monty was truly an amazing person. Those of you who also know him, will absolutely agree with me on that. His joyful laugh was infectious and he brought a lively nature into every conversation.
Monty has been a significant part of our team for the last few years. Monty’s work ethic, and life experiences was a model that other staff members noticed and worked to exemplify his success. Monty had the heart of a true entrepreneur. He was willing to take risks, try anything new, and discuss the potential and possibilities of “the what ifs”.
I’ve tried to wrap in my mind the impact he has left upon all of us… mentor, friend, and most definitely “hardware store dad” and dear friend to all of our staff. As a good dad model, Monty always had a kind heart, offering food those who were hungry, and even advice when you needed it. I’m not sure that I can fully grasp, and vocalize everything Monty has done for us. His daily life impact will be long lasting. Monty’s actions demonstrated that he truly cared for all of us and wanted only the BEST for every single staff member at Wilkes County Hardware and everyone he encountered in the surrounding community.
Grief is hard. I ask that y’all send prayers to Monty’s family, as the journey of grief is beginning. Monty loved his family. We also covet your prayers as we grieve and try to transition to life without him inside our store. Monty will remain a key part of our heart inside Wilkes County Hardware and we will carry his love with us forever.
My last blog post commanded attention from my readers who connected with my story about Waiting.
The messages sent to me were powerful, with beautiful scriptures, kind words & your personal stories of experience made my heart melt.
So many people who have battled cancer that I connect with everyday as a business owner reached out. Their stories they shared with me were amazing & a beautiful blessing. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me.
If you haven’t read the blog post, Waiting, I would love for you to click back and give it a read. We all go through periods of waiting in life. Waiting on test results, waiting for changes in a career path, or just waiting patiently on God to show you a pathway.
As I said before, my experience was not unique, but I chose to share it because I felt it would create common ground experience for many ladies who have walked in the path of waiting for test results OR seeking answers to any type of situation/problem.
Writing is a dynamic way to connect with others. As a blogger, that influence extends across our community & even across the globe.
Storytelling goes well back into history. In the days before novels & books, stories were shared orally, musically or artistically and passed down through the generations. Stories help us to keep our past history alive, & keep us linked together.
I had a professor in college who was a gifted storyteller. US History was revealed to me as a story of events & the people behind it.
As an educator, the most powerful thing you can do is to connect your content to the student. Once the student gets the practical connections, the path learning is much easier.
Often as a hardware store owner, we are privy to a portion of a person’s story. The struggle of a DIY, pool ownership (the good, bad, & the ugly 😂) and even the success of a beautiful garden.
The longer Richard & I have been in downtown North Wilkesboro, the more folks we have had the opportunity to meet & get to know a small portion of their story.
This week we met a gentleman who came by for a few keys, & he stayed to visit for a while. His story began to unravel. He told humorous stories which all made us laugh. He also revealed that his wife died this summer, she had a serious form of blood cancer.
My heart hurt for him. It was obvious he missed her tremendously. Once he told us his story, we understood more about him, his needs and empathized with his current situation.
So how do we share our unique life experiences in 2021??? We are all not bloggers, writers, gifted musicians, artists, or storytellers.
Do you look at Instagram stories???? OR Facebook stories, Snapchat, or even Tik Tok??
In the world of social media, we now have these little bits of video & images on our profile page called stories. The intent of those images is to give the viewer a quick glimpse of what is going on the “inside”of the life of that specific social media page.
After 24 hours those stories disappear and you must continue to add more of your own images in order to keep your story going.
Stories give us a way to stay connected to friends and family. A way to share triumphs, celebrations, fun times, sweet moments & even sad events in our lives. All are a significant part of living our lives.
Many of us are not public speakers who go across the country sharing their stories with others creating change. You may not be gifted storyteller OR even post out Facebook/IG stories everyday.
Your personal story & experiences create change just by sharing!!! Do you journal everyday? Share your family stories with younger generations???
We all share our life experiences with others… how are you sharing your story???
Our life stories cause us to adjust, change, & can create empathy for others who have faced similar experiences.
What I have learned as a blogger is that you should not be afraid to share your story. Your personal story creates bridges to others… connectedness. If you don’t tell your own story now, someone else will later…
Our personal story is why we are here. Your experiences could become a survival guide for someone else who is struggling with the same thing.
My wish for you… find a creative outlet for your unique personal story.
This past week marks a year of the flooding of our hardware store, August 13, 2020. I just realized that I never shared any pictures or stories on my blog about that day.
The afternoon had proved to be uneventful. We had a sudden downpour of rain. It lasted for several minutes. What we didn’t realize was that the drains in the back parking lot couldn’t keep up with the tremendous amount of rain that was coming down.
Our neighbors at Wilkes Lock Service were gone on a service call, which was not unusual. Their building was locked up. As the water continued to rise, the back door was pushed open by the flowing water.
The water was rising quickly and was knee high inside the lock shop before we were able to get through the heavy metal door that separates our businesses. It was blocked with debris and we were not able to keep the water from flooding into our business.
Panic set in. Water was everywhere. What could be moved easily and salvage??? In a stroke of luck I grabbed Richard’s computer bag. He had dropped it earlier in the day and left it behind the checkout counter before the water hit hard in that area.
Our staff was few… Richard had left to run an errand. One quick phone call brought him back instantly. I’m very thankful for Luke… he came in from his day off and began dealing with the lock shop front door to release the rising water.
The next few hours are still a blur. Friends rallied to help us. We all worked late into the night pushing water outside our doors, running a buckets from the empty elevator shaft to the front door. Fans & dehumidifiers were set up strategically in order to efficiently dry our floors and everything else.
We opened our doors to our customers the next day. It wasn’t a normal day, but our customers were kind and gracious.
The storms of this past week brought a lot of anxiety about this past experience. But there are some things we don’t have control over… flooding, tornadoes, etc. It is a hard reality when it is your livelihood & business.
So in closing, I’ll share an update on progress… Usually during every major rain storm, the town street department swings by to check on the drains. Thankfully, we have been very blessed without any breakthrough water issues. And this past May, the town has completed a major project at our back door to help the flow of water.
I’m deeply humbled. Our friends rallied to help us in a dire situation. We receive phone calls from a very kind individual every time it rains for an extended period of time. Our customers drop by to check to see if our store is ok after a hard rain.
The flood of emotions are real… it is still close to our memory… every heavy rain storm we worry still …but the kindness of our community has been an amazing gift.
Over the last 5 years we have been blessed to acquire some pretty amazing product offerings for our customers. Since December is gift giving season, I thought it might be a good time to share a few of our favorites with y’all this December.
Don’t forget to read the other posts in the series…
Blog post 2 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄
Made in McGrady had posted another beautiful piece on their social media page. I had been captured by their talent from earlier posts I had viewed. The latest post was showcasing a wood slice ornament on social media. I loved the rustic look of the ornament. I sent a direct message to them inquiring if they could make something similar for us at Wilkes County Hardware. They replied quickly and they were able to design & deliver exactly what I had in mind.
These two folks were great to work with us, and come to find out, they were regular customers inside our hardware store. Double win!!!!
We sold the Wilkes County Hardware wood slice ornaments well in 2018. After that Christmas season, we asked Eric & Chelsea to continue to bring us beautiful pieces as they made them. What a fantastic husband & wife duo!!!
You can find Made in McGrady handmade items at Wilkes County Hardware. We now have cutting boards, handmade rolling pins, seasonal signs, magnets, candle sticks..,etc.
We are blessed to know such talented people as business owners & friends. Come shop local with us and Made in McGrady, for those unique one of kind, & custom made gifts.
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!!!! 😉
Living the "hardwarelife", join us in our journey of hardware store ownership