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

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 !

A Flood of Memories

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.

Water came up to the bottom of the fixtures, any higher and we would have lost significantly more merchandise

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.

We were extremely lucky that the water didn’t impact our technology, we pushed water away from here first
Water… everywhere!!!
Our wooden ladder wall took some time to dry out, luckily that the water level wasn’t too high

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.

Check out the water line on the lock shop front door… the white line marks the water line 😬

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.

Logistics

Logistics… in the business world, this is essential & crucial part of doing day to day work. The logistical problems of 2020-2021 brought about by a pandemic event has made it even more difficult for business to be carried out. 😳The supply chain difficulties have been unprecedented! The hardware business has unquestionably been impacted by logistical problems.

Empty shelves are definitely not what a business owner wants to see

What are we truly talking about when we say the term logistics?Logistics is the management of the flow of things from an originating point to the point of consumption. In essence, how resources are acquired, stored, transported to an ultimate final destination.

Last year in 2020, gardening chemicals were extremely difficult to keep in stock

Please bear with me a moment & I will share a simple example…Making your morning coffee, you need a coffee pot, water and coffee right??? Your resources must be available- water, coffee, coffee maker, & electricity in order to get brewing. What happens if one of those things becomes unavailable??? No coffee right??? 😢😢😢😢😢

During the height of Pandemic life many people were stuck at home. Many people turned to the world of internet shopping in order to meet the wants/needs of their lifestyle. Internet orders skyrocketed! I’m sure this is not news to most of you as you read this. Let’s go back to the intent of this blog post… logistics. The pace of transporting goods to customers skyrocketed. Goods weren’t moving quickly to meet the demand of the consumer. The logistical line was broken. Pandemic life and logistical issues were commonplace.

I think the general assumption was that 2021 would rectify the problems of logistics and the supply chain. That has not happened thus far.

From a business owners standpoint, we can see so many issues in convergence at one time and point. Here is a quick overview of a few issues we see each week when it comes to ordering for our customers.

1. Raw materials shortages( metals, resins/plastics, pvc, peat, electrical components, pool chemicals…) I could go on but… well the list is long😳

2. Shipping delays from issues directly at port, staffing, increasing costs, congestion at port areas…

3. Allocation buying- limits being placed on what you can purchase

4. Bulk buying of 3rd party resellers… ultimately makes products unavailable for us( businesses) to purchase and increases your price online 😳

5. Trucking issues- equipment & staffing issues.. and more

6. Many companies are now staffing employees in shifts around the clock in order to try to keep up with consumer demand. It takes a bit of time to add an entire new shift, (ie..3rd shift into your business model)

7. The reality of what is actually happening from our customers standpoint maybe slightly different. The topic of conversation sometimes comes up when they ask for a product and we may/not have it on shelf at that moment. We have heard lots of outlandish viewpoints on the pandemic, some are thought provoking, and others very poignant.

8. Richard and I are “digging” into our available inventory each week in order to keep our shelves stocked. That may mean items are new, or temporary replacement items until our tried and true brands can become available for purchase again. Keep checking back with us for a specific item if we don’t have it on hand. Items often go out of stock for a few weeks and become temporary unavailable.

Always viewing our order for substitutions when products are not available and looking for great new products to bring into our hardware store!!! Research is constantly being done by both of us.

9. FYI: Hands down the most requested item in 2020 & 2021 mason jars and canning lids!!!

Most asked about item during Pandemic

As logistics concerns continue into the last portion of 2021, we are dedicated to the process of vigorously working through shortages, allocation buying and grimacing through the third party resellers who gobble up much needed items of our customers.

Lastly, my thankful words to our loyal customers and friends today, we truly appreciate you dearly for shopping local with us. The more you shop local, the money can stay within our community and add buying power for our small business.

Working together

Working with your spouse… could you do it everyday??? 🙃😉

5 years ago we just started… Richard and I launched ourselves into hardware store ownership.

I continued to work full time as a teacher until 2019. Then the transition of working together 24-7 began.

At times, this new venture into business ownership was uncertain, scary, and exciting all wrapped up into the same 5 gallon bucket of emotions.

We both have different and unique roles in what we do at Wilkes County Hardware. And… we are continuing to develop our best skills and talents that we can offer to YOU. We share responsibilities, & work through the difficult decisions together. Together… yes, we do work closely together, and we have survived & thrived.

Our goals are shared & our commitment is strong to serve our local community. I’m so glad y’all have been a great big part of our journey. If you are a new follower, Welcome!!!!

 As I look back, reflecting upon our WHY… In other words, WHY DO WE DO WHAT WE DO at Wilkes County Hardware???

The answer is simply YOU!!! Our customers are our driving force. We are so blessed to have formed many new friendships and made connections with our customers to help meet their needs. I’m also blessed to work with my spouse each and every day.

We always look forward to your visits into Wilkes County Hardware. Y’all have become our hardware family 💕and welcome new folks regularly into our midst.

The WCH shopping experience is unique in comparison to other hardware stores. We do our best to give one-on-one service to our customers so y’all can get what is needed in a timely fashion.

WCH is not the big box… just wander around to see the difference. Our historic exterior/interior will let you know immediately that you are stepping into a different shopping experience.

Thank you for being our WHY each and everyday. We are so glad to be there to help you with your hardware store needs. I bet you will find both us there… working together to serve our local community.