May the 4th be with you… I mean the workforce

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It would be easy to say that the way we work has changed significantly since Covid-19’s impact. Many people never stopped working during the shutdown, some temporarily worked for home, and others transitioned to full time work at home. Those in the skilled trades were considered essential workers, and their business boomed.

During Covid, it is my belief that the importance of Skilled Trade careers became appreciated, and valued by a larger population. Some might even say that these Skilled Trade careers are going to be “recession” proof… These careers will always be needed.

Elevator technician, Plumbers, Electricians, Welders… and many more career opportunities

But really… aren’t all careers important??? I never have understood why some people place more “value” on some careers than others. We all have value and worth in what we do. No stigma should ever be attached to any job or career path we choose.

Handcrafted woodworking

Today, May 4th is National Skilled Trades Day. This is observed annually on the first Wednesday in May. National Skilled Trades Day was established in 2019 by City Machine Technologies in Youngstown, Ohio. The purpose of the holiday was to raise awareness about the importance of skilled trades workforce in the United States, honor skilled trade workers, and also to create awareness about the skilled trades deficit in the United States.

Skilled trades are the individuals we call to repair our cars, complete complex electrical tasks, do plumbing repairs, build our homes, collect our blood, and ensure the health of our pets.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US will need close to 4 million skilled laborers to replace the nearly 8 million lost from the labor force during the pandemic. The pandemic created a significant labor shortage, and many Baby Boomers who left the skilled work force industries have chosen not to return. Some opted for early retirement rather than returning into the skilled workforce. Boomers are ready & waiting for a new generation to step into the skilled trades workforce.

For those highly skilled workers in trades such as welders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and others, the rate of pay is actually higher on average than college graduates. This rate of pay could grow as the demand for these trade careers increase.

So how do we move to filling the gap in trade based careers ??? The answer is simple in my opinion. We need to talk about it and find solutions. Educators, parents, grandparents, and community leaders, this is a discussion about educating our younger generations about ALL options they have available for career paths.

Beautiful handcrafted items are definitely part of our cultural heritage and legacy of trade based skills

Trade based careers offer a more specialized approach to learning in a specific field, ie plumbing or electrical. The overall cost of a trade based education is significantly less. The time involved in the training can be completed in one to two years versus college, 4 years or more depending on the educational path that is chosen.

College education is great, but every student may not be in the right mindset for university level learning or ready for the debt that it could bring into their future. It sure could save a lot of time, money, and heartbreak by exploring all career options if your teen is not ready for college.

Did you know that student loan debt is the second largest consumer debt factor for many Americans? Mortgage debt ranks first in the consumer debt category.

Student loan debt is estimated at $1.75 trillion with the US federal government holding 92 percent of the debt in student loans.

Approximately 43.4 million people in US have student loan debt(this equates to 1 in 8 Americans). This to me is a heavy dose of information… 😳asking a lot of a young person to tackle… finding a career, paying the student debt, management of family bills and more! Wow!!!

Ultimately, all a parent wishes for their children to have in their chosen career path is happiness, success, financial freedom & security. Right??? Laying out all possibilities in future potential careers today seems to me to be the responsibility of parents, educational staff & other stakeholders in the lives of children.

In closing, isn’t the key to success in a career this… finding what you are passionate about and not treat it as just a job you go to everyday???? Just a thought.

Thanks for reading y’all

Mowing Grass

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The memories linger from the days of my youth, of the first signs of spring… Windows open, a freshly cut lawn, a light breeze blowing through the curtains, and the aroma of cut grass coming indoors. Spring had arrived!!!

I can remember spending hours on that red riding mower going round and round. Our yard was large and it took a good hour or so to finish everything when we mowed the lawn. I would take my place on the riding mower & dad was usually on the power tools, cleaning up the edges of the flower beds and working the push mower like a pro. We worked as a team to get the lawn looking good. Mom often worked in her flowers, while we were outside. Mom always had beautiful roses. I learned to love to be outside, and meet completion of a beautiful task, a well kept yard.

Today I would like to share a few tips I learned from my dad about mowing grass and keeping a nicely kept lawn. These may seem novel to you, but they are truly important for growing good grass.

1. Keep your equipment in good working order. Do the routine maintenance on your equipment & keep your blades sharp. Your lawnmower blades if dull, can create problems for you. Need new blades or blades sharpened??? We can do that!!!

We can sharpen your blade or you can purchase tools to do it yourself!!!
Need a good gas can to keep your mower powered up???

2. Never mow while the lawn is wet… patience is a virtue for a “Mowologist”

A good neighbor is one who doesn’t mow in the early morning hours… right???

3. Mulching your grass is good for your lawn, bagging grass takes those nutrients out of the yard.

4. Be aware of your blade settings, & don’t cut your grass too short. This may mean you cut your grass more frequently because you don’t want a situation where your grass gets too long and your mower bogs down with grass clippings, and then you have to rake the yard 😳

Just in case you need a new rake, we have those too 😉

5. Mix up your mowing patterns, it is good for grass growth.

6. Never mow grass into your flower beds!!! 😳😳😳Yep, I’ve watched people do this!!! Mow grass away from your flower beds and keep your flowers healthy & happy!!!

7. Your lawn is only as good as what you put into it. Curb appeal is a portion of your home value. If your curb appeal is amazing, that in turn, will help your overall home value. Homes with a well kept lawn & gardens could sell faster & for more money!!!

I don’t mow the lawn anymore, because of our work schedules…which puts us at work 6 days a week but, my dad still does his own lawn care. It is one of the things he truly enjoys doing AND he has one of the best looking yards in his neighborhood!!!! 🤩🤩🤩🤩

Whether you consider mowing as a chore or as a joyful gift to be immersed into the great outdoors, Wilkes County Hardware has invested in your lawn care needs. When y’all are ready to tackle that lawn this spring, we will be there to assist you whether you are novice “mowologist” or a veteran.

Speaking of being of novice… Have you been here before??? Going into a big box store and have serious questions that you need answers for and no one is around 😳, OR needing a product loaded into your car and no one is available 😬???If you have questions about your lawn, bug/pest control options for your lawn, our team should be able to assist you AND we load our customers purchases everyday!!!

Bagged goods can be quite heavy!!! We always load up our customers at Wilkes County Hardware.

Furthermore, did y’all realize that we have tools to make your yard work easier???? This is one area that we are trying to “grow” into. Many of these lawn care/mower maintenance products were not available at Wilkes County Hardware several years ago. Our customers were coming in asking for basic weed eating string, mower spark plugs, blades, etc and we now have them!!! Richard & I felt this was an area that we could definitely “grow”. Our “mowologists” regulars/customers know where these supplies are and they find them before gearing up to work in the yard.

Richard & I have have also expanded our lawn and garden product line over the last 6 years. We have lime, pre-emergents & post emergents weed control products for your lawn, and much more.

Just a small sampling of what we offer

Unsure, what a pre-emergent or post emergent products are??? A Pre- emergent is used to help prevent weed growth in your lawn… before they begin!!! Yes, that is definitely a win!!! Be very careful, you should not use a pre-emergent & grass seed at the same time😳. The pre-emergent will stop the growth of the grass seed as well as the weeds! Pick one to focus on for spring.

When is the best time to use a pre-emergent??? How do you know if it is warm enough??? Once the forsythia finishes blooming, pre-emergents can be used in your lawn.

Post emergent products for your lawn are used after the weeds have popped up into your lawn. Yes, Wilkes County Hardware has products that you can use safely in your lawn without killing the grass.

Let’s get growing & mowing this spring y’all!!!

Women Entrepreneurship in Downtown North Wilkesboro

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A view overlooking Downtown North Wilkesboro

My first memory of a Woman in business had to be my Granny. She owned a fabric shop in West End. It was a fun adventure to visit the fabric shop as a kid. I was old enough to rummage in the loose button barrels and play hide and seek with my cousin in between the fabric bolts. We always had a blast when we were there with her inside the fabric shop.

Upon a bit more reflection, I realized that my work ethic was strongly influenced by my parents. They both modeled an excellent work ethic… Hard work disguised as opportunities.

As I am writing this blog post today, it is International Women’s Day. A day to recognize the achievements of Women everywhere. March is a month where we acknowledge & honor the accomplishments of Women. So I thought why not focus on the Entrepreneurial Women of North Wilkesboro???

I began to really give this some serious attention a few weeks ago when I was driving in the downtown corridor of North Wilkesboro. An epiphany occurred to me…just within the North Wilkesboro downtown area, I realized that many business owners are women OR they “co-own” a business with their spouse. Meaning they are actively involved in the day to day activities of running a successful business!!!!

Don’t forget that Carolina Treasures, Copper Barrel & Key City Antiques are considered part of Main Street!! These businesses attract out of town folks all the time

I began to reflect on each of these businesses and the faces behind them… These ladies who are business owners, are definitely not afraid of hard work or working 6-7 days a week!!!

Each of these individual businesses have unique stories and services to offer to our greater community. We are truly blessed to have each and everyone of these businesses in downtown North Wilkesboro.

A view of the Downtown area from the Greenway

Please know that you are appreciated and I applaud your dedication to our community during the last few years. Doing business during Covid has brought us all unique challenges AND new opportunities for success. Thank you for handling it with grace & style.

The following is a short & working list of retail businesses in our North Wilkesboro Downtown corridor that reflect the designation of Women owned/managed according to my definition above in my blog post. Please feel free to tag any other local businesses that would fit into this description in our downtown area.

Carolina Treasures

Key City Antiques

6th & Main

The Block

Fruit of the Vine

Annatiques

Talia

Ivy Ridge Traditions

Baby Celebration

Hallmark

Wash House on Main

Vintage Home Studio

Gloria Sews

Gracefully Yours

Christina Younger Art

Lauren Waterhouse Photography

Cassie Stone Photography

Bliss

Wilkes County Hardware

Dom’s Bakery

Midtown Market

Our Oasis Nutrition

Cooks

Something Special Boutique

Southern Threads

Other noteworthy businesses which are not necessarily retail based but would be considered women owned businesses in our downtown area

Copper Barrel

David’s Car Care

Blair Properties

Our locally sourced products inside Wilkes County Hardware operating under the management of Women or husband/wife teams … we appreciate your support of local artisans!!!

Happy Frog Creations

Little Corner Pottery

Made In McGrady

Gia’s Pottery

Cindy’s Dishcloths

Gypsy Ridge Honey /Soaps

The Land of Canaan Kids Soaps

Old Mule BBQ Sauce

Brushy Mountain Granola

Carolina Kuduz Crazy

Carmik Insect Repellent

Betty Miller Baskets

Eunoia… beautiful thinking

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“Balance is something we create, not find”.

Eunoia ( yoo- noy-uh) is the Greek word for “beautiful thinking”, or well balanced thinking. My word of intent for 2022 is Balance. Words of intent are always a work in progress, unlike resolutions which by the end of January sometimes seem unreasonable, or unrealistic . It is hard to believe that the end of January is already here!!! How are y’all doing with your yearly goals/intentions so far???

Balance means doing enough, not everything.

Is balance not the key in everything we do or don’t accomplish??? When things are in “balance” your internal rhythm is strong, & when it is “off”, it can be problematic.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

Creating your own personal awareness of the balance in life… in all categories, such as…family, work, rest, health, & all other things can create growth. Growth & achieved balance in 2022, good intentions for 2022. 😊

A Prayer For Balance
Dear Lord,
I come to you in realization that my life is unbalanced. I know that I can achieve balance through you, so I come to you humbly asking for help in creating balance in my life.
Please help me in creating you as the priority & everything else will fall into place.
Give me the strength to say “no” when life calls me to, and not to just add something to my to do list.
Give me the peace to handle life when it feels disorganized & chaotic. Seeking you first for
peace & organization that brings everything back together.
Help me remember that I can’t do it all, but I can do what you have called me to do for your purpose.
Amen.

A look back at 2021…

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It’s hard to believe that 2022 is on the horizon!!! Here’s a glimpse of some of the new products & ideas we have brought into our hometown hardware store inside Wilkes County Hardware in 2021.

Premixed paint arrived on our shelves in January of 2021!!!
People just can’t enough of these!!!
These appeared in early spring months and sold out quickly
Amazing new BBQ sauces… made in NC
We opened our new pop up shop at Carolina Treasures on Main in 2021!!!
Expanding our line of Zep Cleaning products. Great stuff y’all
Added Black Wonder into our gardening line in 2021. Made locally in NC.
In 2021, we added a few new products to keep your furniture looking great.
Located at the front counter… just in case
Keegan’s cutting boards have been a huge hit in 2021!!! Thanks again for supporting local 💕
New shirt in 2021 in remembrance of Harry & our iconic wood stove
Beautiful handmade baskets inside our store all year long!!! These sell out quickly y’all!
Keys… a staple item of what we do well each & every day 😊
Beautiful hanging baskets, locally grown sold out quickly for Mother’s Day
This stuff y’all!!! Another great locally sourced item added into our store lineup in 2021. Amazing!!!
Local pottery pieces now available in 2021!!! Unique finds & treasures
As always, y’all continue to shop local with us to find your favorite Meyers Clean Day scents
The Big Easy Rocker has been a great selling item in 2021
Thankful that so many of our customers use the flag drop off box in 2021.
These products are fantastic!!! North Carolina based company and repelling animals in a safe way!!!
Y’all needed these and we had them!!!
Great sellers in the summer of 2021
Y’all asked for more organic/earth friendly products in our lawn & garden line and we added several in 2021
Keep odor off your hands in the kitchen with this locally made soap
Kuduz jelly & sauces have been flying off the shelves!!! A must try!!
Keegan added pens 🖊 into his woodwork line
Fall y’all.. thus was a huge hit
New in 2021!
Now in stock!!!
Added new food products from NC based company as the holidays grew closer
Happy Frog candles… y’all couldn’t get enough of these during the holidays season… more to come in 2022!
Good for any meal!!!
Good for all metal cleaning… we got y’all covered
Local honey… with comb & without!!! Local granola & more!!!
Did you know that we are on Instagram, Facebook & now Tik Tok ???
Live music!!! I hope y’all didn’t miss it during the holidays season…
Stove pipe, wood stove products & gloves are essential as the cooler weather sets in
New in December of 2021!!!
You are the nuts & bolts of what we do each & every day. Thank you for your support in 2021 & moving into 2022. Happy New Year!!!
Happy New Year from our family to yours !