#Wilcostrong

Featured

What is Wilco…

We live in Wilkes County, NC. I guess you could say the “younger generation” have been calling our county, Wilco for several years. A fellow business owner, Cook’s Sporting Goods, has been able to market that effectively for the last few years. It has become quite trendy/fashionable to wear Wilco gear.

What is #Wilcostrong…

Simply put, our Wilkes County community pulling together and working together for a greater good during this COVID crisis.

Idea Time…

Back in March 2020, local restaurants had already been forced to do curbside only. The stress was already beginning to show and many local businesses were anxious about what was going to happen next. Our small town has taken several hits to our economy in the last several years. Major businesses have left, & corporate offices are gone. Food insecurity is a issue for more people than some people care to realize. I felt we needed to be working together to share our stories in order to help each other. Cook’s Sporting Goods had started to share out other small businesses Instagram stories each day… The Cook’s team and I had discussed potentially doing that to direct more business information flow to local businesses & locally owned restaurants. This sharing of information was to help our community to be more aware of current changes in business hours, new menus, new products, curbside services, etc. (By the way, this was all before the NC state executive order to shutdown).

Original WCH hardware store post…

Here is the direct context of the Facebook/Instagram post from March 18, 2020…

“So many businesses in our small town have been dramatically impacted by the current health crisis. We are open for business and several other small businesses are offering curbside service. Find our Instagram stories for local updates from other local businesses across our 2 towns. We are #wilcostrong!!! Other local businesses, we encourage you to use this hashtag to show support for our community. Simply add your business logo or storefront to this hashtag and share out to your Facebook or Instagram page and let’s work together in order to keep our local businesses functioning during this unprecedented event. Feel free to share other small businesses posts to share information out to a larger audience. We can do this together!!! Lastly, a BIG thank you to our followers and customers who continue to shop local!!! We couldn’t do this without you!!! 😊”

So that was it…

A simple post asking for fellow businesses to tag posts using a hashtag and to work together.

What happened next…

I received a text message from a friend once he saw the logo on the Cook’s Sporting Goods Facebook page with a Wilcostrong logo- he made a suggestion of a t-shirt using #wilcostrong as a 💡 idea. One quick phone call and the Cook’s team began to seriously work on this potential new idea…. Here you go, the birth of the t-shirt fundraiser project began…..

Hashtag time…

So we had the hashtag #wilcostrong and it was starting to trend among local businesses, folks were sharing each other’s posts via Instagram stories, helping to spread the word about local businesses. It makes me smile just a little bit wider each time I see another local business sharing what someone else is doing😊

T-shirt design…

#Wilcostrong was beginning to catch on, we had an idea and we wanted to capture the movement in a positive direction. The idea of t-shirt design was in the works. The team at Cook’s got busy working on a design with an old school pickup truck, loaded with goodies from shopping trips at local retailers without specifying names. It would be virtually impossible to name every small business in town. Cook’s team worked with us as equals- we helped to pick final design & color of the t-shirt. By the time the shirt was ready, to print, NC Business shutdown was in effect. Many of our neighbors in Downtown North Wilkesboro are currently closed and unable to do business as usual. 😢

Giving Back…

We were all in agreement that too many local folks had already been impacted by the NC state shutdown. So it was agreed by all involved that we should give proceeds to Samaritan’s Kitchen.

At least $5.00 or more of t-shirt sales ( per shirt) would be given back to Samaritan’s Kitchen. Samaritan’s Kitchen serves as a local food pantry for our community. Each week, volunteers help to organize and bag 700 “backpack” food bags for needy local students& their families each and every week!!! With the current Covid crisis, teachers, & counselors, or bus drivers are delivering those out to student families if they are unable to get to school each week!!! So, the need is great inside our community and constant.

Results are still coming in…

At the time this blog post was posted, 286 t-shirts have been sold so far!!!! One local business owner ordered t-shirts for their entire staff😊. Orders are continuously coming in each day. Absolutely amazing!!!! 💕

January

The trees are bare, no leaves are found. You can see a tree in its true natural form. Every limb is exposed… the natural beauty of the trees are everywhere. Do you see it???

In January and February most hardware retailers go through the “bare tree” season. The holiday rush is over, cold weather keeps folks inside, and all the shopping “fluff” is gone. People are conservative with funds after the holidays… I’m going to go back to my analogy of the tree, the “leaves are gone” = budgeting funds after holidays.

The hardware store season is in its natural state in January…people are seeking out DIY needs, making needed repairs to things that break😬, keys, furnace filters, in essence, completing just the basics. We often call it the slow season.

During the “bare tree season ” some people are often anxiously waiting for winter to end and spring to come on back in a hurry. Yes, as hardware retailers, we don’t enjoy the January economic slowdown but it does provide opportunities for us to work on our spaces- see our natural beauty 😉, launch new ideas to our customer base- adding new limbs to our tree, and begin to think about spring when the leaves start to fill back in. How was that for serious analogy tie in???

Regardless of how you view January, it is a time of endless opportunities to advance into your goals for 2020 or it can be a time to stay in past… things aren’t like they used to be when….

I guess it depends on which perspective you wish to take… the natural beauty of the season or all the leaves are gone, type of mindset.

We are ready to see y’all whenever you need us, we are “rooted” in our community and ready to help when you need us😉!

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!!!

 

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 🎂 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 skills😉

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 guy😉.

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!!!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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 defined👍🏻

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!!! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉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- “Come 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.