Summer of 2019- A New Chapter in the hardware life…

Labor Day is over and this year the end of summer feels very different. I think you will be able to see as you read along today. It has been a life altering kinda summer for me and our business.

I officially retired as a teacher this summer. My “work” focus is now focusing on being a business owner in our community, which has opened up new avenues for creating change in our town and community.

Many people don’t fully understand why I would leave a state job early, so here is the deal—-It had become increasingly difficult to do both, teach & help with the business effectively, and be a Mom.

Honestly, Mom is my most important “job title” and I need to be there for the “big stuff.” This is the first year ever in his entire school career that I have the ability to pick him up/ drop him off at school. Of course I know it won’t be for long, because his drivers license is coming around the corner.

Before my retirement, I had struggled with my decision for quite sometime whether to continue to work and do both, but now I am at peace with my decision to leave my life’s work. In essence, I have just added a new passion to my life- hardware store life. Don’t get me wrong, I miss that look when students learn something new. I’m just turning the page on a new chapter…

Speaking of new chapters… Richard and I both turned 50 this year!!! A milestone birthday πŸŽ‚ So far 50 is great!!!!

So enough about all that personal stuff!!! Here is what we have been working on inside the store…

Below is a top 10 list of some of the wonderful things that has been going on inside our store:

1. Pool season has been in full swing and will be winding down soon for most pool owners in the next few weeks. Richard and Luke have kept a few neighborhood pools cleaned, & chemically safe for swimming. I can not tell y’all how much work and time this requires of these two!!!! Pool owners, I bet you understand. The fellas have worked every day to keep these pools clean 7 days a week!!! 😎

2. Richard and I spent some time at the Chicago Orgill Hardware Show this August looking at new products to offer up to our customers. Hardware shows are lots of fun and I may do a different post on that later.

3. This summer we also added several new locally made products to our store! These items have been received well by our customers and people keep coming back to purchase these items. We are very proud to offer these to our customers.

4. Some of our readers maybe aware that we made some staffing changes this summer. We are consistently heading in a positive direction to move into a new level sales, services, & great customer satisfaction for our community. Thank you for your patience and support as we all learn new skillsπŸ˜‰

5. The first annual Harry’s Hotdogs was a huge success!!!! This was a absolutely amazing event to see people pouring into our store to eat a hotdog and remember Harry on his birthday. The funds raised went to North Wilkesboro Rotary Club- serving our local community

6. Wilkes County Hardware teamed up with Keegan Watson – local woodworking craftsman, during the Wilkes Art Gallery Art Walk Event this summer. It was great to see so many people in downtown North Wilkesboro

7. I’m still trying to figure out where my skill set fits best inside the store… I mostly work on merchandising, new product acquisitions, social media, and I have just started out learning some of the financial end of the business. My husband is invaluable in this business!!! He is a super busy guyπŸ˜‰.

8. Since we are a small hardware store, when new products arrive, we have to make “space” for new items. It is a challenge!!! We have been trying to find places for these new items and clearance items that are not moving. Inventory is always on our mind🧐 By the way , Eddie did a great job this summer moving some key products to new locations. It looks awesome!!!! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

9. Our office space upstairs is coming along!!! We are so happy to have this quite space to work! We have more shelves and walls to paint, but our work areas are clearly definedπŸ‘πŸ»

10. FYI: we have a few new projects that we are seriously looking at, I have spent some serious time with these ideas this summer so stay posted for more details later this fall!!!

Here’s to the new chapter in the hardware life!!! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰Richard and I are working together as a team now to make hardware happen every day for our customers. Y’all, I am just gonna say, that is a very satisfying feeling!

The Chicken Hat

Earlier this week Richard told me that we had a visit from a neighbor hardware store from a nearby 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 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 🧒. 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 hat. We have chicken hats that have traveled all over the United States… 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 by this hat.

Here is our story…

Our store 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.

I’m not sure if our neighbor hardware store really found what he needed the other day…. sometimes it is the story that helps you brand your merchandise… but I guess his curiosity was satisfied about what the big deal was about our chicken hat.

Retreat- β€œCome to the woods, for here is rest.” – John Muir

Retreat: time spent away from one’s normal life for the purpose of reconnecting, finding quiet time, or even escaping the distractions of daily routines.

Retreat maybe often used in the context of a spiritual experience. As I grow older, I am seeking more “retreat ” experiences in my daily life. These can be just the small things that I am doing everyday like walking with a good friend, coffee with friends, or seeking the sun porch quietness at my parents house. I appreciate the opportunities to “reconnect” to nature, family, or friends for a few minutes each day.

Even when I am working at Wilkes County Hardware, I will often retreat to the rocking chair area when I need a moment to reflect on the project I am working on in order to gain inspiration or a bit of renewal of spiritual energy to continue moving forward.

Often the quiet times of “retreat” brings about reflections, insights and new direction for the future. After retreat, a new vision or clarity can emerge. This is not only great for refreshing your mind but great for the entrepreneur spirit as well.

I’m grateful for my retreat community/”woods”. These beautiful people and places keep me refreshed, inspired and ready to move towards the new day ahead. Ah, the rest I seek… and need!!!

Can you quickly identify the “retreat” places or people in your life? Is it local destinations in your hometown, a park, church , or even somewhere in your home?

I would bet upon reflection, you maybe also be very grateful for the opportunity to go to the “woods”/community and find rest.