Tag Archives: hardware store

Snow Daysโ›„๏ธ

Last week brought to us in Wilkes, the anticipation of snow. What we did not realize at that time was the impact of the coming winter storm. When in conversation with my brother in law, who works for the National Weather Service, he used the words “Epic Snow Storm” , and “this will a Storm people would talk about for years to come… ” I began to let the impact of this storm to settle into my mind. Preparation would be key. Richard & I began to evaluate our current winter weather supplies & those items that were blowing off the shelves early in the week.

Customers flooded into Wilkes County Hardware beginning about Tuesday of last week in preparation of the upcoming winter storm, daily sales had increased.

Knowing the storm was going to settle into our area by the weekend, we had already processed the timeline of our regularly scheduled truck shipment… it would not be here until after the storm had passed๐Ÿ˜ณ. The real possibility of the truck not showing up on our regular delivery day was looming in our minds as well, if the “Epic winter storm” was as bad as my brother in law had said it could be.

These are the worries of local merchants… planning for unpredictable weather and its impact on how you do business each & everyday. Mother Nature is unpredictable.. you can’t always plan for these types of events, but keeping a close eye on your inventory is key during peak weather months.

Richard was evaluating our store stock/supplies daily and we realized quickly that we needed a “stock boost” to get us through the storm. Richard & I talked back and forth about how much of each item we might need, trying to not overbuy for this event, which would tie up inventory dollars. So we submitted an order to our local supplier and another truck arrived Friday.

Once that shipment showed up, people were buying items off the truck immediately! The news of the winter weather was becoming evident to most people… they were planning for a huge storm.

Wilkes was predicted to be in the heaviest snow zones- at least 12 inches or more!!! Our hardware store was slammed with customers on Friday and Saturday!

Our local news station, WXII, called on Friday morning saying they were planning to stop by our store. Richard gave them a great interview and made it on the local news Friday night. I was so tickled to see him represent our store so beautifully.

The sweetness of my husband showed as he spoke about “our store”. (Even though I am not there everyday, and I hold another full time job as a teacher.)

He made sure to tell the local news crew that he was not the sole owner of Wilkes County Hardware. Sometimes it is the simple things that make you appreciate & love your spouse- after 20 plus years of marriage.

After the store closed Friday evening, we decided to make our winter storm preparations complete by filling up the car with gas, last trip to grocery store, etc. Richard’s phone began to message in from lots of people who saw him on the news.

What we didn’t expect was the range of our local impact would be! He heard from friends across the US who were seeing him on local broadcasts across the nation. Evidently the Weather Channel picked up a segment of his interview. By Saturday morning, our store front was on the Today Show in a brief segment on the upcoming storm!!

This news arrived to me as I was out walking on the Greenway, with my friend, when Richard called me to say we had made it on the Today Show! I was blown away. Here we were just carrying on with our routines, of a normal Saturday … he was already at work & I was to be there to help at the store, after I had finished my morning walk.

As customers came in all day Saturday, the conversation around the warm wood stove was of course the coming snow storm , Christmas shopping, and Richard’s tv appearances.

The guys helped every customer, each with their own unique needs. Demand had been so intense all week, that we were now out of stock in some items. So our staff made recommendations to those customers who needed help finding the items they still needed for winter storm prep.

Saturday was an awesome day, not because it was a great selling day, but the closeness of our community. We saw so many of our loyal customers arrive with flashlights ๐Ÿ”ฆ that needed batteries or bulbs, & requests of last minute items for storm prep. Our staff worked to make each a every customer happy.

What a great community we live in!!! We had cookies ๐Ÿช delivered to us, and great friends brought in lunch snacks!!! Richard & I are definitely blessed beyond measure.

It was so awesome to see our friends & customers gather at the wood stove for conversation and smiles. This is why I love snow days!! โ›„๏ธโ„๏ธ

(By the way, we received over 15 inches of snow here Saturday night/Sunday!) Yes, in my book, it was an “Epic Storm” for us in Wilkes County Hardware History.

Wood Stove

It is an all encompassing feeling of warmth and memories. Time spent circled around the wood stove at Wilkes County Hardware -feeling the heat from the fire, warming up your hands and cold noses from the cold, outside air. The smell is distinctive- burning hardwood, and the lovely “smoky” smell it creates in the store. The wood stove is an iconic part of our legacy and our history. It has definitely kept that “Old School Hardware” feel in place for our customers and myself as a business owner.

The wood stove is definitely one of the most recognizable features within our store that people initially see once they walk in the front entrance. No matter what time of year it is, those who have never visited our store always ask about the wood stove. It is definitely an “Oldie Goldie “. Questions range from “Does it still work?” to “How old is it?”

Most people are surprised to find out the wood stove is WCH’s main source of heat in the winter! It cranks out a great deal of heat for the store. But if you wander into the far corners of the hardware store, you will sense the difference… it takes longer for the heat to travel there. Of course, the closer you are to the stove, you have to be very careful to make sure that you don’t put anything too close to the wood stove that would melt.. yes, chocolate ๐Ÿซ does not stand a chance around the stove!

Our wood stove is regularly cleaned, polished, and maintained in order to keep it in the best possible condition for daily use in the cooler weather.

We do keep a nice woodpile out behind the store so we can keep the “store fires” burning and our customers comfortable while they shop for essentials. We do have a few regular customers who purchase wood from us during cooler weather for fire pits/ s’mores, and camping fun. All of our wood is bought from local sources. Richard & I like to purchase products from our neighbors in our community.

The wood stove dates back to the early years of our building. Our building is over ๐Ÿ’ฏ years old, dating back to 1907!!! The original stove was a coal stove and it was eventually converted into a wood burning stove. We have been told that the stove may date back to the 1920’s. This is one great thing about our store that I love… it is deeply rooted in local history.

What I also love about this stove is the power of community it holds for our town. People use it as a central gathering place to discuss daily news, and local events. Often our regular customers will come sit around the stove and just rock for a little bit before heading back out into the cold weather.

Yes, our wood stove/ store has become a great “stopping off point” for local downtown events in the winter where our customers can drop by to warm by the fire before a horse carriage ride, or just to wait and warm before for the Christmas parade is to begin.

To me, nothing is better in the cold, and snowy day to be warming around the wood stove. Many of our customers know we will be open and we will have the fire roaring. Many locals seek to visit with us on these days. Honestly, these are my favorite days.. the snow days around the wood stove at Wilkes County Hardware.

We have had a few local media broadcast/advertising folks to showcase our store via the wood stove as a centerpiece. I guess it is just that “Old School ” way of gathering around and slowing down in the busy world we live in today. Even in 2018, people are doing the “Old School ” way of going back to our roots/heritage— community building.

I’m glad we can be a small part of building a great community here at Wilkes County Hardware, wood stove or no stove… we are all in for the “Old School” Hardware life.

The Chicken Hat

Earlier this week Richard told me that we had a visit from a local hardware store owner, out of our county. As Richard put it, he wanted to see that Chicken hat that everyone was talking about. Wow! I was blown away!!!

Working towards a great logo can be daunting for a new business. A great logo is one of the biggest marketing tools that can connect your customers to your store/brand.

As new business owners, we did get some great advice from fellow business owners to be very purposeful when selecting colors and a logo to connect to our customers and our store. We have tried to heed this great advice, and have used our great neighbors down the street, Cook’s Inc to help us through the process.

Over the last few years, we have really stuck with a classic gray color for a branding color. Why??? Many reasons actually—-our store has concrete floors, which has served many purposes in our building- chicken processing plant, & as a hardware store. I think that the gray is a great compliment to that old rustic hardware store feel as well, so the color is ours to stay.

Back to the chicken hat… The story of the Chicken Hat is a journey of logo selection over the last few years. We have been working diligently with our neighbors down the street- Cook’s Inc, to select a great logo for a baseball cap ๐Ÿงข. Our initial designs were very simple with the gray cap and a patch logo with our store name.

Brooke, who works for Cook’s, always challenges me to keep taking our logo to the next level. So as we were meeting one afternoon, we came up with a new design… a chicken, with red, white, blue flag inside it. The hat is of course that dark classic gray… (our best seller)

How did we arrive at this? We were trying to connect our logo hat to our store history. In the end, Richard and I have been super pleased with this new hat. I think we have achieved success with this new logo hat.

As I write this, we have chicken hats that have traveled all over the United States, and Australia. Even our local state legislator wears his to Raleigh and has gotten several great compliments on his hat. Of course, I keep telling him— tell the story about your hat… Our legacy of our store can be told and shared.

Here is our story…

Our building dates back to the early 1900’s. The building was used as a poultry processing plant for turkeys, chickens, etc. These animals were literally herded down the mountain and pushed into our store and processed. They were then loaded up on the railroad, which is just down the street and taken out of town. High estimates are close to 1 million chickens & turkeys were processed in our building in a years time at the height of production.

Maybe it is sometimes the story that helps you brand yourself, maybe it is the story that folks will remember… it could be a little bit of both.

I’m not sure if our neighbor hardware store really found what he needed the other day…. what the deal is with that chicken hat, but we sure love it here at Wilkes County Hardware. I hope his curiosity was satisfied.

15

Our lives changed dramatically 15 years ago. Our son came into the world ๐ŸŒŽ and Richard & I were transformed into parents overnight. We haven’t looked back ever since, his presence in our lives has been our greatest blessing.

As he begins another year, I am amazed to see how much change has occurred in the last few years… I am also drawn to reflect on how on earth did we get here??? Seriously, time does fly by!!!

The physical changes are ongoing. This young man is now his mom’s height… and truth be told, he will probably surpass me and head towards 6 feet sooner than later ๐Ÿ˜ณ. Those of you with teenage boys know how much food they inhale.., and of course we have gone through at least three buying sprees of clothing so far this year— in order to keep up with the growth process.

I can still remember the sweet little guy who sat on the bench out front of the hardware store and smiled for a first photo. Fast forward to Summer 2018, he made keys ๐Ÿ”‘ with Wayne, helped customers in the store, and even helped his dad get some of the local neighborhood pools open for the season.

I am sure that more changes will come for our big 15 year old in the next year, and we will continue to face them as a family. We love you dearly big guy!!! ๐Ÿ’•

Family is central to our everything isn’t it? Come to think of it… This is very similar to how we approach our business ownership, we make decisions as co-owners, working together for a common goal- serving our local community. The essence of #thehardwarelife ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy Birthday!!! ๐ŸŽ‚

Store Hours

When we purchased Wilkes County Hardware in 2015, the store hours were different from what we observe now. The hours were like they say “banker hours”. We were open everyday at 7:30am to catch the early birds and closed at 5:00pm on most days…the exception being Wednesday afternoon and Saturday. Both Wednesday and Saturday, the store always closed at 12:00pm. It was hard to believe that in 2015, that stores were closing at 12:00 in the middle of the workday, observing that old “banker” tradition.

What was the “bank hours tradition” that I am speaking of? Well, when I was growing up in North Wilkesboro as a young child, I can remember that banks always closed early on Wednesdays. It was just done that way here in the South. Why? You may ask, because the banks used that afternoon to do paperwork. Other people say it was to catch Southern farmers coming into town on Saturday because in the middle of the week, they were always too busy to be in the midst of downtown North Wilkesboro, NC. So the former owners of Wilkes County Hardware, carried on the tradition for years, keeping up those old bankers hours. Many local folks knew and anticipated our closing every Wednesday, and would make sure they came in the store before 12:00.

Richard kept the hours the same for a few months and he began to notice a significant trend. People were coming up to our doors and it appeared that shopping after 12:00 was necessary for lots of folks in town! Richard would often still be there working on paperwork and was seeing a trend that we needed to address quickly.  After discussion with me,  we formulated a plan on how to move forward. We would launch a massive social media campaign in order to let people know our new store hours for Wednesday afternoon. Richard also planned to update the store hours on the doors as our customers enter our historic building. The Wednesday “banker” hours are long gone now and seem to be just a memory. Occasionally, even now, we do have a few people to call the store and ask what time we close on Wednesdays, and they are pleasantly surprised when we say 5:00pm.

Saturdays was another one of those oddball 12:00 days for closing time for Wilkes County Hardware. The store was always busy in the late mornings and often the 12:00 push for customers to get in and out before closing…  well I’m just going to say it—- it was hard to close the store and not let our customers shop and do what they needed to do, and many Saturdays we did hold closing until our customers were finished with shopping- after 12:00pm. So Richard and I talked about this one too and we decided upon 2:00pm to close. That has been a good change for our store. Out of town customers can make it to us in plenty of time, shop with leisure, & ask questions about the history of our store. We did the same ads, social media launch with changing store hours as we did with the Wednesday hours and got the word out to our community. Our regular store customers can purchase what they need before they get too deep into a weekend project, seek advice, purchase that speciality nail or screw,  or even have pool water tested.

Richard and I are currently in discussion about  store hours for our future, extending shopping hours to 5:30 or 6:00. We posed a question to social media followers and fellow customers a few weeks ago to survey their interests in the extension of shopping hours to 5:30 or 6:00pm. I am just going to say our customers are absolutely awesome!!! They gave us great feedback. They said 5:30, not 6:00. Our feedback was positive & very honest. Many customers stated, “you guys need your family time too”.  Let me just tell you, our customers are super!!!! What an honor it is to work in such a fabulous community! I am anticipating that we will be making an announcement in a few weeks about our new updated store hours.

What I have found in the trend of store hours is flexibility is the upmost importance. Observing customers and how they are interacting with our store, looking for patterns for when they seem to be coming into to our store… early? late in day??? and of course the “old school” method we love to use at our store- just to simply ask our customers what they need. Happy Hardware Shopping Yall!!!!:)