Hardware Life

I just realized that my last blog post was written a few days before my grandmother died. Honestly, I haven’t had the time, or the motivation to write much since her death😢.

I have been “MIA” in the hardware store over the last few weeks . I know my absence makes it harder for my husband and our staff to work effectively. I owe them a special treat for sure!!!

When I’m not there, I miss it. Yes, I do work with my husband every day and we have survived 😉… but seriously, I do miss our customers when I can’t be there.

The photo I provided for you today is a lovely gift that was on the front counter when I arrived late Tuesday afternoon💕💕💕.

Today I’m sending out a “huge thank you” to our friends, Eric & Chelsea Brown, better known as Made in McGrady. You can find them featured in several of our social media posts.

On social media I often use the hashtag, #thehardwarelife for our hardware store posts. The “hardware life” is continuing to evolve as we come up on our 5 year anniversary of hardware store ownership.

So after these first 5 years of ownership, I’m reflecting back on what #thehardwarelife actually looks like in real life??? Here is a small glimpse inside our daily lives…#thehardwarelife.

1. First and foremost our Hardware store staff & local artisans have become our family too!!!! I’m so proud to work with such fabulous professionals and have created great friendships with this new journey in our lives.

2. Community… you folks drive us each and every day to meet your needs in the hardware industry. We continue to add new products based on customer requests and availability.

3. Hardware doesn’t take the day off- we typically work 7 days a week (both of us) … always doing something related to business that needs to be addressed…. Early mornings and late days… most days it is literally “sleep, eat, hardware, repeat”. You have to love what you do in order to work that hard, right???

4. Anyone know a logo we use at Wilkes County Hardware???? I would bet if you are a social media follower of ours, then you know our key logos. Wilkes County Hardware t-shirt or hat anyone??? Yes, we have definitely been busy over the last few years working on building some great merchandise options for y’all. I bet you will find that if you see us out and about in town, we are sporting a hat or something else with a Wilkes County Hardware logo. Hardware work is a big part of our day.

One of our best selling logo hats

5. It is very common to come home dusty and dirty after a long day at the hardware store. I like to call it the “100 year old dust” phenomenon. The vintage, rustic nature of our hardware store brings in the dust and dirt … cleaning up is a constant and hard to keep up with 🤪!!! We all (staff) tend to joke that some of the dust has been here for💯 years!!! 😂😂

6. You have to dress for the weather as part of #thehardwarelife. At Wilkes County Hardware, we are subject to the “all natural” air conditioning- yep… no AC in our building… the doors let in the breeze. We installed new ceiling fans last summer to improve air flow. A dramatic change for our staff & customers!!! 😎

7. That smoky wood stove smell… Everyone who enters our store usually will find and ask about our old wood stove. We use the wood stove as our main heat source in the winter… the further you move away from the stove, the heating difference is dramatic on cold weather days🥶. The wood burning smell lingers in your clothing… well you smell… let’s just say… like the great outdoors. 🌳🌳🌳

Our wood stove is a constant source of heat

8. Hardware is hard work- truck deliveries… heavy lifting- 50 lbs bags, walking on concrete floors, thread& cut pipe, cutting chain, screen wire , window glass, this is just a small list of what we do everyday.

9. We really do live a simple lifestyle… we eat most of our meals at home, grilling is essential of course all year long , we 💕our dogs, & spending time with family /friends

10. Wilkes County Hardware encompasses more than the 1,700 square feet of hardware floor space we offer to our customers, the heart of our store is you!!! ❤️

In 2015, #thehardwarelife was a dream, now it is our purpose in life. So to those of you who have been faithfully following along via social media channels, we appreciate y’all making the journey with us and helping us be a bridge to a wider audience. I continue to be amazed at how our followers continue to grow in size, & scope- organically, the way it should be done. Thank you 😊

Expectations and Grace

Expectations & Grace

Recently, I was watching an old episode of Happy Days. In this specific episode, Howard Cunningham came home from work (owning a hardware store) and I was stunned to remember that he wore a 3 piece suit to work everyday!!! I actually did a double take… thinking to myself, “is this for real???”

Richard was not home, and once he arrived, the first thing I hit him with was my immediate reflection from that past episode. He kinda chuckled and we both giggled at the absurd thought of Richard or I dressing the same way for a day of work at our Hardware store.

Our dress is always casual and we dress for the weather… hot or cold. Typical day of work could mean exposure to, “100 year old dust”, kerosene, pool chemicals, and of course our wood stove is active in the winter. It just wouldn’t be practical to wear a 3-piece suit. Our customers would not “expect” to see our staff dressed that way. Expectations…. here are some thoughts on this subject today….

Expecting a specific outcome usually leads to disappointment… who has had that experience?? All of us right??? Our minds are powerful objects which can “project expectations” upon people and events. Other times, we can even create our own heartbreak through our own expectations.

Regardless of the circumstances,

I have had “expectations” placed upon me as a woman working in our hardware store. As a full-time owner now, I have encountered this more times than I ever wished would happen.

Some folks who maybe first time customers, enter the store, then I welcome them, and they immediately look for a male employee to help them, with the “expectation” that I can not find what they need. Here are three typical outcomes of customer interactions in our store when these “projected expectations” are visible….

1. Customer pleasantly surprised to see that I can get what they requested.

2. Unsure of where potential item is located( as a side note- we have so many different types of products… I’m still learning what is actually inside this very old hardware store!!!!)so I may go ask where something is located, and I can then, go get what the customer needs. If the item is unavailable, we send our customer with ideas to try next… recommendations of other local spots to find that specific product .

3. On occasion, the request is such a specialized item that I do turn the customer over to another staff member- who has vast knowledge in a specific area to assist them.

Sometimes the reactions from the customer/ regardless of their gender, is overall pleasant interactions. The “expectation mold” is shattered like a key “unlocking a new mindset “.

So why is this a problem today??? Do we have these preconceived notions/expectations about how people should be based on what they do???? Or how they will react???

I will be perfectly honest, I’m a little stumped by “old mindsets” / expectations. Has giving/showing grace to others regardless of what is “expected from them” gone by the wayside???? Is this mindset rooted in past experiences???? Hmmm… I wonder how life would be so different if we all used this philosophy of showing grace in all circumstances???? So what is grace???

Grace is defined as an exhibition of kindness, mercy, favor disposition to benefit or serve another. The older I become, the more I think these two things should go together… expectations/grace.

Let’s develop this concept a little bit further. As an educator for 25 plus years, the education world spends a lot of time talking about expectations: specifically, setting high expectations of students equal more learning opportunities.

I always wanted my students to do their very best. As a teacher, “expectations”(standards for learning) of my students were consistent and high. I also tried to exhibit grace and kindness on days students were having an “off day”. But that did not mean the standards of learning were less. We were always working together to achieve that nice balance of expectations vs. grace.

So I am wondering, the balance of expectations vs. grace is this a life learning experience???? Are we up to the challenge????

Simplify

Here we are, another new year in progress! The social media world and the nightly news is full of talk of New Year Resolutions. In 2020, I am making absolutely NO resolutions, instead I am setting intentions for 2020.

So what does that actually mean- setting up an intention??? My mindset has shifted from setting a goal (resolution) of I want to do this- X event or thing by this date-Y and this is how I plan to do it…. Living with intention is different- you are an active participant in your decisions that you make, because your intentions are driven by your core values and beliefs. Words of Intention let you stay true to yourself at all times.

Let’s be honest here, sometimes resolutions do not always come to fruition for various reasons. The ‘busy life” we all lead can get in the way of resolution goals. Intentions can be accomplished with this new mindset and small progress can be made in any area in which you hope to accomplish, whether the intention is focused around your mind, body, or soul.  My word of Intention will be a gradual process in 2020 for me—-living life-messing up-learning from mistakes-forgiving yourself or others- perseverance towards my ultimate intention.

My intention for 2020 is SIMPLIFY.  I actually believe I began to work on this intention back in 2019, and it did not occur to me that I had begun to put into practice already until my reflection began a few weeks ago. SIMPLIFY can look very differently for each unique individual, that would all depend on your priorities for 2020.

Begin your word(s) of intention for 2020 with small tasks- like simplify your kitchen pantry- then move to another area of your home that could use more attention- cleaning out bathroom cabinets, closets, etc. SIMPLIFY can be applied not just in the “cleaning out/purge rituals”  of each January in your home. An intention can be applied to better health, help with monthly finances, career goals, personal relationships, or even spiritual growth.

My word of intention is to begin to work towards a more SIMPLIFIED life at home & work. It is not my goal to become a minimalist but to streamline what we have and what we do. I hope to keep you updated as the year progresses.

Our closet spaces at home and in some other key areas are already have met the SIMPLIFY intention with great success. Today, little progress was made on my intention- setbacks will happen.  I have all of 2020 and beyond!!!  I think it was Leonardo da Vinci that said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.  After all, he was a well known “Renaissance Man” of his time- he can’t be wrong- to SIMPLIFY 😉.

 

FYI: For more information on Intentions, how to begin the process of intentional living, please check out our boards that we have set up on Pinterest for our followers. There are lots of books, and resources out there for you to investigate. We also have Pinterest boards set up for your organizational/ cleaning needs. A wealth of resources is out there!!!