Strength

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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. 😢😢😢😢

Granny loved to be outside, strawberry picking was always a special time spent together

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…

Store flooded after a significant downpour… the back parking lot drains were unable to direct water correctly and our neighbors beside us flooded. As a result, our store took on water as well from their flooding event😢

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???

Beautiful weather to get outside to keep body strong and always good for my soul

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!!!! 😉

The “Soundtrack of the Hardware Life”

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Music is good for the soul💕. Doesn’t it seem to express how you are feeling some days???

Do you notice the background music inside a store or a restaurant???

When you enter a place & the music doesn’t seem to “fit” the mood of place, it can leave an impression on your dining or shopping experience. If the mood and the music match, you will leave remembering your experience as positive one.

All that begin said, Music can be powerful force inside a business.

Richard & I have been discussing music. What type of music is best inside our store???

Here is a small peak inside our store

In the first few years of business ownership, the music was a mash of whatever was playing on the radio. Every tune that came out of the radio, we had begun to realize, just didn’t fit the mood of our store.

So the soul searching began. What do our customers expect for “mood music” inside our store??? Who is our target audience??? Our store has that old, rustic feel… so how does everyone feel about the music, or do y’all even notice it??? We had lots of questions rolling around in our minds.

Decisions…we both love all different types of genres of music, so it was becoming a difficult choice, but our favorites should not drive our final decision… it should be based on what our customers feel as a connection to our store.

Then COVID hit. Things changed quickly for us as we moved into curbside service only. Wayne, one of our longtime employees, decided that home was where he needed to be. It was the safest option for him. Adjustments were made in staffing, and his “boom box” back at the key desk was silent.

I missed those classic country tunes that Wayne always played while he worked. I missed him and his music. His radio station was always a classic country music station. No one turned his radio station to another one… it was just what was always on. So one of my connections to the hardware store was Wayne’s music. 🎶🎶🎶🎶

Music & song lyrics have a way of bringing up memories that are powerful. We missed Wayne, and playing country music in his absence, was a way of having a small part of him there with us. A new pattern began to emerge for us during the COVID curbside. We were listening to country music.

Our discussions turned then to maybe we should look at that genre of music. To us, it seemed to make sense. Country music does have a more laid back tone, & rustic nature. Country music also tends to focus on life in the everyday. The song lyrics communicate ordinary life. Shopping at your local hardware store can be part of your routine errands, usual stops… you know… things you do everyday.

Local artisans keep us well stocked in high quality handmade products

You may not have noticed our music inside our store on your last visit. We are consistently trying to keep the country music 🎶 going. We are still developing playlists, and adjusting our music to hopefully keep our customers happy.

Our ultimate goal, that y’all find our music to be a perfect fit for your shopping experience with us at Wilkes County Hardware. Whether the music just blends into the background or speaks to your soul as you shop.🎶🎶

As a closing footnote: IG stories survey results- 75 percent of our customers think country music is a good fit for our store. It appears we have found our hardware Life soundtrack 😉.

Letter to Graduating Seniors

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I was asked by a local publication to share my best wishes & advice for the current graduating class of 2020. This was my first narrative after my grandmother’s passing in May. I am so thankful that Brian Carlton asked me to do this because I lacked the motivation to write anything after her death.

I’m grateful to a few friends who were willing to share their thoughts & ideas with me as I went through this writing process. Thanks for being my tribe 💕. I hope y’all enjoy the letter to graduating seniors.

Senior Class of 2020,

Congratulations! What an amazing achievement you have just reached in life! I am so very happy for each and everyone of you! As a retired teacher, and now a local business owner, I know how hard each of you has worked in order to get to this day! Your greater community is so very proud of you.

So what happens next in your educational and life journey? The world today gives us a perception that times are too uncertain. Please know that your decisions are all within your circle of control. You have the ability to control your words, thoughts, actions, choices, behaviors, & efforts. I do realize these historic and unprecedented times are not how you envisioned your graduation. But, now is the time to celebrate your achievements, cherish your school memories, and look ahead to the future. Dig deep within yourself and find that inner strength to focus on potential opportunities for your future.

Speaking of new opportunities, some of you might be thinking of heading off to a university, community college, or possibly even in the “world of work”. No matter what path you take in the next few years, you will continue to evolve, change and grow as a young adult. Learning will be a constant in life.

As you transition into the next phase of life, here are a few reflective life learning experiences that I have found to be helpful in my journey. I hope you can use these 7 tips as insight & encouragement for your future endeavors.

1. Treasure those in your life. Love your “tribe of family & friends” fiercely. Nothing is guaranteed or promised in this world. So that being said, stay connected, call home! Visit home as much as you possibly can do it. Your family is a very important part of your journey & they will be your biggest advocate.

2. Keep life simple. Experiences & memories in life are the things you will always have, possessions will not last.

3. Dream BIG! Set goals for yourself. Life is not a sprint, it is a journey to be enjoyed & cherished. When you set a goal, understand it may take years to fully achieve, & be patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

4. Show kindness to yourself & others. Let this one sink in for a minute. Life is not a perfect process. We all learn from success and failure. Be gracious & extend kindness in all things you do. Remember to say “thank you”, “yes ma’am”,& “no sir”. A kind heart goes a long way in our world.

5. Connections in life are important. The people you meet & encounter in life will sometimes circle back into your life via work, church, friends, or even into family circles. Use compassion, grace & understanding in difficult situations.

6. Find and develop your skills & talents. What are you passionate about? As you grow and change, your interests and inspiration can create new opportunities. Be flexible. Be willing to adapt to new ideas and change.

7. Last, but not least, keep your body strong … mentally and physically. Let’s elaborate. Reading as an adult helps your mental capabilities, increases vocabulary skill set, & can improve memory. Reading for information is a powerful tool. Become an independent thinker, read and form your own opinions about news, politics and the world around us. And remember, it is ok to disconnect from your devices and unwind at the end of the day. Reflection is an excellent way to disconnect from the daily grind and evaluate what is next. In those quiet moments (in the car, spiritual time,journaling, etc) allows you to evaluate your goals, make decisions about goals…is this the path I still wish to take? do I need to adapt my goals, what did I learn along the way? In essence, you can learn from your success & mistakes.

And finally, be physically active…get outside when you can, enjoy the natural world around you, it is good for your overall health.

My final parting wish to you today, “may you be richly blessed in your journey ahead”. Your greater community is excited to see how your success will continue to add to our future growth in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

Angela Searcy

Co-owner of Wilkes County Hardware

Resilience, Lemons, & Lemonade

I met a lady about a month ago, she was visibly upset when she approached our front table- this was during our curbside service, but she was pleasant enough.

Luke went off busy filling her order and we were not busy with customers everywhere so I just stayed to chat with her. Over the next few minutes, she began to tell me she had been laid off from her job due to Covid complications within her workplace.

The company she worked for had been slowly laying off one group of employees at a time, & her time had finally arrived. I felt helpless that I could not offer any comfort to her other than allowing opportunity to talk about it with me. As her order was completed, I wished her the best of luck with her job, & prayers that it would be a short layoff and she would be back to work very soon.

As she walked towards her car, I began to reflect on our conversation and I could tell that she had a good sense of what was happening, she would continue on with her life as normal as she could make it. She was living through the challenges and changes of life in 2020.

Life in 2020 has presented many changes. One word keeps coming to my mind, as I reflect on the obstacles, challenges, & changes this year has brought. We used this word a lot in the educational community, Resilience.

What is resilience???

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant stress- family, workplace, health crisis & financial stresses.

I think most everyone could say stressors are up significantly in 2020. I feel confident that we all could easily tap into some portion of the definition… so how do we deal with all these unique challenges & changes in 2020???

My mind went quickly to this old saying… “ when life gives you lemons, make lemonade “. I believe it is quite true even today.

Those folks who seem to be the strongest in the toughest of times, they are ultimately dealing with the situations they are given and moving through it one step at a time… dealing with each lemon, keeping all things in perspective.

The final outcome could be definitely different from what was originally planned or expected. Once your perspective shifts, change can occur.

I suspect that life in 2020 will continue to be just that… different from anything we all expected or anticipated, the lemons continue to flourish in 2020…

Bringing home the “Lessons learned about Resilience in 2020”? “When life gives you lemons, you just go make lemonade”. I think I need to take the time to find the good in what I have. Maybe I need to appreciate the time I have carved out for myself, flourish in the company around me, & refresh my mindset. And lastly, sip on the lemonade. I’m going to enjoy the fruits of my labor😉.

Routines

Monday has arrived again. Some of you maybe sad to be getting back into the “work routine” again after a few days off from the July 4th holiday.

We are excited to begin our 5th year in service to our customers & local community. So, I’m living & loving the logo I posted out there for y’all today on this blog post.

Even though Covid might have altered your daily routines, don’t forget to set your mindset for success this week. Keep your routines going.

Are routines important??? Yes!!! If you plan your day, you can become more efficient in what you do/need to do, which in turn could save valuable time!!! And let’s face it, those of us who love to procrastinate🙄, if you have a plan, it is much harder to put things off!

Routines provide framework for our lives & how we wish to live. Routines can instill good habits or bad habits. Do your habits help you accomplish your future goals??? If not, reevaluate your mindset. Once your priorities are set, your momentum will continue to roll in the positive direction.

My daily normal routines definitely have been out of sink lately. My grandmother’s sickness, her subsequent death, & caring for my grandfather, plus Covid life all rolled into the mix. One could say that routines have definitely been altered quite dramatically.

A very kind employee who has gone through a similar situation with a family member, continues to tell me, just prioritize, make a list when you feel overwhelmed, and do one thing at a time.

This has been very helpful advice for me. I have found out that everything does not usually get done in a day, but it is amazing to see the items crossed off the list at the end of the day!!! I can start fresh again the next day and prioritize my next steps.

My new “routine” is to review planner to do list everyday. This is now becoming an established habit. Ultimately what do I need to accomplish??? My planner has become my “new best buddy” these last few months.

Routines help give us a sense of normalcy in not so normal times. Honestly, I just need a little bit of normalcy now in my life.

Just a few minutes ago, I was working in the kitchen, and my son came up the steps and said, “oh, do I smell spaghetti sauce cooking”?

Yes, slow cooked spaghetti sauce is cooking up, a routine event for us on Monday nights. I don’t always do this every Monday, but a good consistent meal on a crazy hardware store Monday – unloading truck, payroll, helping customers, etc, the day rolls into early evening quite quickly without much thought or time to think about dinner prep 😳!!!

So I’m gonna keep making my slow cooked spaghetti sauce on Monday nights. It gives me a sense of comfort to make meals that my family enjoys and loves. Routines… 😊