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 break๐Ÿ˜ฌ, 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰, 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 us๐Ÿ˜‰!

Snowpocalypse of 2018

“Snowpocalypse” is defined according to dictionary.com  as a major winter storm which shuts down a city or town and brings about some overreactions as a results of the impending storm.

We are coming up on the anniversary of this “Snowpocalyse” here in our hometown. It is still very fresh in our brains I must say even today as hardware retailers. What a huge event for our town, an early December snow, totaling 16-18 inches in our county- depending on where you live!!!! This was huge!!!! We rarely can total this much snowfall all winter long!!!!  So let’s set the stage a little bit and travel back in time to recall some of this “Snowpocalyse in December of 2018”.

Monday December 3rd arrived like any other Monday- it was truck day. The guys were unloading merchandise from our main vendor supplier and preparing for the week… I’m busy at school (this is before I retired)… there were some rumblings of a possible snow storm that could break later in week…. It was business as usual.

At dinner on Monday evening,  Richard reported that we were busy with a “flurry of activity ” โ›„๏ธ and people seemed to be preparing for winter weather early. That is always a good sign as a retailer, you want your community to have what they need before a storm hits, not in the midst of a storm, and dealing with aftermath after the fact.

By Wednesday Richard and I were in deep conversation about several items:

  1. We were seriously running out of major items that we need in order to service our customers heating needs- we need to order more heaters, ice melt, lamp oil, shovels, the list was long… we decided to place an order with a company which we use that will ship quickly, and more merchandise would be in store by Friday morning, people were buying and planning for a big winter storm!

2. I was in constant communication with my brother in law in Charleston, SC concerning the weather. By the way, he works for the National Weather Service in Charleston, he does not forecast for our local area, but he can definitely tell us what could transpire with the weather in our area with definite certainty. I trust his skills as a professional. He is quite amazing as well as my sister, what can I say, I am very blessed with great family:)  We were getting regular updates from him as well as the local weather stations. It was coming together as a major storm. As a hardware retailer, storm prep is always on your mind, and how to balance your inventory needs vs demand of the consumer- (how much do I really need???)

3. Sales were heavy and people were definite snow prep mode!

4. If the storm hits on Saturday evening/Sunday like the projections, what would this do to our truck coming on Monday with all the other items we have ordered??? What would we do then if the truck could not get through our area???? We would be without essentials needed for an extended time????

5. “Snowpocalyse”is coming…..????

Thursday evening came and we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the much needed extra merchandise on Friday morning.

Friday Morning:

School was in session for me, & we discussed the potential snowfall. We looked at the forecast for our area, our class have completed a huge weather unit in 7th grade science earlier in the year. It was not unusual for us to discuss weather. Of course, the kids knew that I had been talking to my brother in law, and they seriously wanted the scoop on his thoughts too! Our discussions turned to potential final snowfall totals- the guesses ranged from 4 inches all the way up to 20 inches!!! We all laughed at those really high totals. These kiddos have never really seen that much snow at once in their lifetime. Never did I think that we would be close on the higher end of the potential totals!!!! (“Snowpocalyse” )?????

Richard on the other hand was extremely busy!!!! The local television station had called early in the morning and asked if they could come up for an interview. The tv crew arrived as the truckload of supplies were being unloaded. Literally, people were buying things as they were coming off the truck!!! The phone was ringing off the hook all day!!! It was so busy all day long!!! We were extremely grateful for the extra load of supplies but now the worry of not getting the truck on Monday was starting to set in. We were still needing a few key items. Richard completed the tv interview, they told him it would air later that night on the news. I was able to catch it during the 6:00pm newscast. He did an absolute fabulous job!!! I was so proud of him!!!!

We decided to go out to dinner that evening and the phone calls started coming in as we came back home…… Friends were calling Richard from other parts of the US- “hey, man I just saw you on the weather channel”. Evidently, a clip of his interview was picked up for national news!!! WOW!!!! We had friends who called from Las Vegas, & NY, who saw him on tv that evening.

Local weather forecasts predict at least a foot of โ›„๏ธ snow!!!!

Saturday Morning:

Richard was at the store as usual, my routine was to finish my morning walk and then head into the store for the day. The storm was not going to set in until later in the day. On my morning walk, I suddenly received a call from Richard. He reported that a news clip of our store had just appeared on the Today Show! What on Earth!!!! We had made the national news for storm preparation for this upcoming “Snowpocalyse” !!!! AMAZING!!!  The day was full of talk and discussion of his appearance on the local/national news but, mostly folks were still winter storm prepping. Some folks thought it would amount to nothing, others were preparing for the “Snowpocalyse” .

By Sunday morning  December 9th, it was snowing like crazy. Richard and I were excited to see the snowfall. It had been several years since we had this much snow, and it was still coming down very fast. We went by to check on things at the hardware store around 10:00 am and I measured at least 14 inches and it was still snowing hard!!!! Yes, it was true, “Snowpocalyse”  had come to our hometown. It did take a few days for things to get back to normal. This is not normal amounts of snowfall for us here in Wilkes. There was so much snow, lots of it was dumped in Memorial Park parking lot so that the town could clear the streets. It took weeks for that “huge mountain of snow” to disappear!!!! It literally was a mountain of brown yucky snow!!!

By the way, our truck did roll through on that Monday, it was later than usual delivery time. We were extremely shocked and surprised that they were able to make it through, but very thankful. We survived the “”Snowpocalyse” , and learned that sometimes we think we have “nailed it” and are prepared for everything but then, things change- like the weather and we must adjust quickly and react to help those who need it.  This early December storm is still in our minds as Richard and I plan for weekly shipments/truck. Our discussions are always about being prepared and a having a healthy stock balance- it is truly hard to gauge… you can’t plan for a “Snowpocalyse”…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Mishaps

I was driving down the road the other day and the song, “Holiday Road,  began to play. That song brings back the memories and the many laughs of the Clark Griswold movies.  One of our family favorites, has to be National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  I think that we can all recite lines from this movie, it is a classic. I began to think about all of the misadventures the Griswold family encountered throughout the movie and I giggled in the car as the song was finishing up.

My sequence of thinking then moved onto our own unique holiday mishaps and adventures. I guess we all have them, maybe not to the extreme as the movie played out. I hope that your upcoming holiday season is uneventful and blessed. Enjoy our holiday mishaps and adventures!!!! These are some of my favorite and most memorable….

Thanksgiving: In 2018, we had planned a trip to my parents for Thanksgiving. Everyone was excited about going- including my grandparents… my bags were all packed up and ready to go… as I went to bed that night, I experienced the worst pain I ever had in my entire life! It was a kidney stone:(    To say the least, the trip didn’t happen the next day. I ended up not being able to pass the kidney stone, it was lodged in my right kidney- it had to be surgically removed after the holiday passed.

Holiday turkey leftovers are always a challenge. What do you do with all those leftovers in your refrigerator in order to make them “fresh” again for your family? My mom had asked me to make a turkey casserole with our leftover turkey a few years back. I had whipped it out quickly using the same formula as the chicken casserole that our family loves. I placed the turkey casserole into a Pyrex glass baking dish. Boom, it would be done in time with all of the other leftover veggies, etc. We were all laughing, talking, working away in mom’s kitchen. I pulled the casserole out of the oven and began to let it cool before we ate. All of the sudden, the entire dish popped, glass was flying all over the kitchen. Lucky for all of us, no one was hurt. No turkey casserole for dinner- I think we all ate a ham sandwich.

Christmas:

Richard and I were so excited the first Christmas that we were homeowners. We had a beautiful older home with high ceilings. This would be the year that we were going to a choose and cut Christmas tree farm to purchase our tree. Normally, we just purchased a tree from a local spot in town in years past. The Christmas Tree Farm had simply beautiful trees!!! We selected a tree that believed to be around 10 feet high. Once the tree arrived at our house, the realization had begun to set in… our tree was 12/13 feet tall. How were we going to get it in the house??? We knew it would fit inside our home, but getting it upright and inside???? Richard ended up bracing the top limbs for safety reasons and securing it with fishing line, so it would not tip over.

As a young married couple, we had lights, ornaments, but not nearly enough!!! We hit Kmart hard- yep, we are that old folks… we had a Kmart. I still have some of those ornaments that we purchased almost 25 Christmases ago from Kmart in order to fill up our first gigantic Christmas tree. I smile each year those ornaments come out of the box and think of that first Christmas.  All of our beautiful Christmas cards went on our giant tree that year in order to fill in the gaps. Clark Griswold would have loved it, especially when Richard used the chainsaw to get it out of the house!!!!

Mom always wrapped our presents and sometimes did not put a name on them so that we ( my sister and myself) would not sneak into them before Christmas Day. She knew who was supposed to get which present. Isn’t that such a mom thing to know!!! Well, one year we went to our grandparents house for our yearly Christmas Eve dinner. Mom had the presents all ready for each person that night. When Granny opened up her gift, she opened up a pair of mens pants, those were supposed to be for my dad to open up on Christmas Day. Mom was a bit sheepish about the whole thing of course, but she had two snoopy little girls who loved to have hints of what was to come for Christmas Day.  So, Christmas morning came, Dad opened up Granny’s present and they did a switch around gift…. Later on that day when dad was getting rid of boxes and taking them out to the wood stove,  my sister was searching for one of her gifts, but it was already too late… it was in the stove… of course, it was replaced, but mishaps happen.

Happy Holidays to all!

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Stove

It is an all encompassing feeling of warmth and memories. Time spent circled around the wood stove at Wilkes County Hardware -feeling the heat from the fire, warming up your hands and cold noses from the cold, outside air. The smell is distinctive- burning hardwood, and the lovely “smoky” smell it creates in the store. The wood stove is an iconic part of our legacy and our history. It has definitely kept that “Old School Hardware” feel in place for our customers and myself as a business owner.

The wood stove is definitely one of the most recognizable features within our store that people initially see once they walk in the front entrance. No matter what time of year it is, those who have never visited our store always ask about the wood stove. It is definitely an “Oldie Goldie “. Questions range from “Does it still work?” to “How old is it?”

Most people are surprised to find out the wood stove is WCH’s main source of heat in the winter! It cranks out a great deal of heat for the store. But if you wander into the far corners of the hardware store, you will sense the difference… it takes longer for the heat to travel there. Of course, the closer you are to the stove, you have to be very careful to make sure that you don’t put anything too close to the wood stove that would melt.. yes, chocolate ๐Ÿซ does not stand a chance around the stove!

Our wood stove is regularly cleaned, polished, and maintained in order to keep it in the best possible condition for daily use in the cooler weather.

We do keep a nice woodpile out behind the store so we can keep the “store fires” burning and our customers comfortable while they shop for essentials. We do have a few regular customers who purchase wood from us during cooler weather for fire pits/ s’mores, and camping fun. All of our wood is bought from local sources. Richard & I like to purchase products from our neighbors in our community.

The wood stove dates back to the early years of our building. Our building is over ๐Ÿ’ฏ years old, dating back to 1907!!! The original stove was a coal stove and it was eventually converted into a wood burning stove. We have been told that the stove may date back to the 1920’s. This is one great thing about our store that I love… it is deeply rooted in local history.

What I also love about this stove is the power of community it holds for our town. People use it as a central gathering place to discuss daily news, and local events. Often our regular customers will come sit around the stove and just rock for a little bit before heading back out into the cold weather.

Yes, our wood stove/ store has become a great “stopping off point” for local downtown events in the winter where our customers can drop by to warm by the fire before a horse carriage ride, or just to wait and warm before for the Christmas parade is to begin.

To me, nothing is better in the cold, and snowy day to be warming around the wood stove. Many of our customers know we will be open and we will have the fire roaring. Many locals seek to visit with us on these days. Honestly, these are my favorite days.. the snow days around the wood stove at Wilkes County Hardware.

We have had a few local media broadcast/advertising folks to showcase our store via the wood stove as a centerpiece. I guess it is just that “Old School ” way of gathering around and slowing down in the busy world we live in today. Even in 2018, people are doing the “Old School ” way of going back to our roots/heritage— community building.

I’m glad we can be a small part of building a great community here at Wilkes County Hardware, wood stove or no stove… we are all in for the “Old School” Hardware life.