Reasons to Shop Small Business Saturday

Re-posting this piece because it bears repeating….

As you plan your holiday shopping this year don’t forget to frequent your small businesses as much as possible.

After all – we need to feel the love, and we need YOU.

IMG_0139Do you shop small businesses? Whether it is retail, service oriented, an exercise facility or an eating establishment – are you a proponent of helping families support themselves and their employees by supporting their business?

Or do you automatically run to the big guys for your needs and wants?

If you do support small businesses, than thank you! So much! If it’s not something you’ve given much thought to then I implore you….before making your next purchase – whether it is dining, lawn care, working out or shopping for ‘stuff’ – please stop, and take a moment to consider the services and goods your local small business can offer.

You see, I belong to one of those families. My husband, Ronald, and his brother, Gary own a retail store in our town. In fact, we are very proud that it is the oldest business in our city and not too long ago celebrated the 50th anniversary of its humble beginnings. But, in this day and age with the fierce competition of larger national retailers the success of our entrepreneurship is in danger of faltering.

Are you surprised? I’m sure it’s possible. After all, there is a general misconception that people who own long-term businesses that have grown through the years must be rolling in the dough. The reality is we are just like most middle-class families. We have a comfortable life, but we are struggling with a tough economy that continues to throw zingers as we try to get ahead. The ever-increasing and high cost of goods, the ridiculous cost of health insurance today – don’t even get me started on the ‘affordable’ health care act – along with the fierce competition from big box stores is taking a toll on our ability to succeed.

So, what services and goods does our particular business offer? We sell flooring and appliances and have a service department to help you when those items give you fits. They can also help you with a variety of remodel jobs for kitchens. Did you even know that? Are you aware all of this is offered right here in your very own ‘neighborhood’? (And if you don’t live in my area of Texas then apply these words to the small businesses that are also trying to make a buck wherever it is that you live.)

So why are we struggling? It’s a good question and one we are trying to answer and resolve with a variety of new strategies.

A big reason – in our case, at least – is sometimes the population doesn’t realize our business even exists. Sometimes that’s the fault of the owner – lack of or poor advertising certainly won’t help the community appreciate all you have to offer. And, sometimes the reality is people just don’t pay attention. Being located in what used to be the hub of Allen the construction of a new main thoroughfare (many many moons ago) means our physical location is seen by much less traffic. There are tons of people in town who don’t even know we are here. Attempting to overcome that obstacle, we have invested a large amount of income to advertise in and around town. Including in the Allen Eagle stadium as so many people attend Friday night football games.

Another big reason…..people assume our prices are going to be higher, they won’t be able to find a good deal or we won’t offer same-as-cash financing.

But, it’s not true.

At all.

Any extras you find with a large retailer we will also offer. We are quite capable of competing with the big boys on their prices and often, we can even beat them.

Let’s look at the reasons why you should shop with us:

1. Again….first & foremost – Our prices and selections are competitive with the big boys.

2. Our sales team is going to offer you the expertise and a level of service that you will not find at Home Depot, Lowe’s or Nebraska Furniture Mart. Period. Our employee’s knowledge of the merchandise we sell is going to be more extensive, and you will find our sales team is genuinely interested in helping you find the best product to meet your particular situation. Each one of our associates understands that by making you happy and keeping you satisfied we are helping the business to succeed which translates into job security.

3. But, if, God forbid, you have a problem or an issue that has left you dissatisfied then the associate helping you is going to have a direct line to the owner. And, I promise you, Gary and Ronald WILL return your calls and work to resolve any issues that may occur.

4. Being a small, family-owned business, I admit that our hours are not as long or as extensive as a larger retailer. We are not open late and we are not open on Sundays. Again though, because your business is important to us we will work around that obstacle for you. If you cannot come in during regular open times then you can contact us and we will do our best to accommodate your schedule.

5. When you come in – or call – repeat customers can find out when each of their items was purchased and/or repaired. Whatever information you may need on whatever items you bought or work you had done – all of that history is available with the click of a button.

6. We service what we sell. You don’t have to worry about looking around for a third-party repairman if something goes on the fritz. You bought it from us and we will work to get it fixed. Again…..see #2.

7. As a small business, we remain resolved to giving back to our community. Keeping your tax dollars local and buying from ‘mom & pop’ stores helps us to keep paying it forward by employing our neighbors and supporting causes that directly benefit our town.

8. We are also committed to supporting other small businesses in our city. We want them to succeed as much as we want to succeed. After all, small businesses are the backbone of this great country in which we live, right? No matter what the service or dining options being offered or the goods being sold, America has a historically successful middle class because of the small business owner.

So I’m asking you – wherever you live – please look for and shop at the small companies that make up the fabric of your community. Give us a chance to help you and give you a better experience then you’ll get with a large company. Seriously, it doesn’t cost anything to check us out and see what you’ve been missing. And, if we can’t find what you need or get what you want than those big chain stores are just down the road.

Come see us. We need YOUR business to stay in business. Oh – and tell your friends too. 🙂

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The Last One

This is my last blog post for Todays Good Life.

Thank you for hanging with me – I have appreciated the support more than you know and it’s been a good run.  However, for a variety of reasons, it’s time to move on.

May God bless you.

Ecclesiastes 3**

1There is an appointed time for everything,

and a time for every affair under the heavens.

2A time to give birth, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.

3A time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to tear down, and a time to build.

4A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

5A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;

a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

6A time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

7A time to rend, and a time to sew;

a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

8A time to love, and a time to hate;

a time of war, and a time of peace.

9a What profit have workers from their toil?10I have seen the business that God has given to mortals to be busied about.11b God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put the timeless* into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.12c I recognized that there is nothing better than to rejoice and to do well during life.13Moreover, that all can eat and drink and enjoy the good of all their toil—this is a gift of God.14I recognized that whatever God does will endure forever; there is no adding to it, or taking from it. Thus has God done that he may be revered.15* d What now is has already been; what is to be, already is: God retrieves what has gone by.

(**copied and pasted from http://www.usccb.org/bible/ecclesiastes/3)

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Exercising Your Right

Nov 3

Today is the day!

If you didn’t cast a ballot in early voting then today is YOUR day!

Get out there and make your voice heard.

Exercise this all-important-yet-vastly-underused right to VOTE!

And, remember, if you choose to be silent or find an excuse to not vote then you have also given up your opportunity to complain.

Make a difference.  Make it count.  Vote Today.

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The Call

I got that call. The one no parent ever wants to get.  Our son had been in a car wreck.

My husband received the first call, from the carpool mom driving our 16-year-old to school.

Then he called me.

With the call no parent ever wants to get.

“There’s been an accident.”

I was in the car – and, actually, on the same highway – driving our 14-year-old to school when my cell phone rang. The adrenaline kicked in as a dozen questions flew through my mind. Trying to stay calm I went ahead and dropped my child off. Trying to control the urge to yell “GET OUT OF MY WAY!” to the traffic around me, I did my best to head back to where the accident had occurred. Without causing or having one myself.

Easier said than done when you know that your teenager and friends are in danger.

Because anyone who has ever driven any highway anywhere knows how vulnerable safety is in a situation such as this.

I thought it might take me forever because it was rush-hour and any little hiccup on the road can create a backlog of cars within minutes.

But, it didn’t. Within 15 minutes, I was on the scene.

Thank you, God. For the miraculous parting of cars that allowed me to cross 4 lanes of traffic with relative ease.

As I pulled up, I could see the car was not driveable, but I could also see that no one was seriously injured.

Thank you, God, for protecting them from harm.

Jumping out of my vehicle I ran to the wrecked car and, while hugging the mom who was very shaken up, asked my son and her 2 daughters if they were okay. Patrick, my son and M, the older of the sisters said they were fine. The younger one was sitting with her eyes closed and her head leaned against the seat but eventually said she was okay. We decided I would take them on to school and she would stay and deal with the wrecker and the police.

All three of them walked from the wrecked car to my car.

Wanting to make sure they were okay I kept looking in my rearview mirror at the girls. What I saw was the younger sister appeared to be sleeping.

“M….is your sister okay?”

“She’s fine – she’s just tired and she can doze off wherever she is. I’m pretty sure she’s just relaxing.”

Coming to a stop at a light I turned around and began calling her name and shaking her leg. She did not respond. Less than a mile from their school I drove on and told M to run in and get the school nurse. Getting out of the car I tried to rouse the young girl again but she would not respond.

Holy crap….this was serious and it was time to call 911.

Within one minute, the school nurse was with me and agreed that we needed to call emergency services. Minutes after that the fire department and their efficient paramedics, along with several school officials were present. Within a short time, the ambulance took her to the hospital.

Thank you, God, for trained paramedics and efficient response times.

Her sister went with her in the ambulance and I followed because their mom was still tied up at the accident.

I’m so happy to say that she was not seriously injured and was released later that day to rest at home.

Thank you, God, that she is okay.

When I finally made it home, I just sat down. Being ‘mom’ was done for a bit and I was able to take a few deep breaths. The adrenaline pumping through my system all morning long had finally begun to abate and with it a massive headache set in. I couldn’t do much more than sit in the chair and try to process all of it.

It was such a scary experience getting that call. And yet primarily on my mind was giving thanks. It could have been so much worse. There could have been such devastation that my mind can’t even comprehend what that would have been like.

But there wasn’t.

The car is totaled, but everyone came out of it relatively unscathed. We had a bit of a scare with the sister passing out, but the efficiency of school personnel and paramedics took excellent care of the situation.

Every morning I pray for safe travel on the roads as we go to and from our various destinations. Every evening I thank God for that safe travel. Last night was no different. A car can be replaced but our loved ones….well, like I said, my mind can’t even go there.

Give them a hug and a kiss. All of them, whoever they are. If they are important in your life, do not take them for granted.

Psalm 28:7

The LORD is my strength and my shield,

in whom my heart trusts.

I am helped, so my heart rejoices;

with my song I praise him.

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My Happy Place

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

My happiest place is not necessarily the spot where I recharge my batteries or gear myself up to deal with the busyness of life. It’s not even about a particular destination. But, it is the place where I find contentment.

Give me a table – anywhere, anytime – and place around it family and/or friends. Include a meal and some wine and without fail I will marvel at the joy found in the laughter and fellowship.

Quite simply a table filled with loved ones, and therefore love brings a sense of serenity.

fdinner fdinner3 fdinner2 fdinner1

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Halloween Baby

First, I’ve been going through stuff.  And by that I mean I keep getting distracted by memories and not getting around to finding what I am actually looking for.

When I stumbled across this picture from oh-so-long-ago (of the cutest baby EVER!) I was taken aback.  I thought I was looking at my granddaughter, Thérèse, but it turns out it was actually my sister.

How about those cheeks??

I think it is safe to say that my side of the family has some strong DNA.

Second, I was shopping recently and came across a too-cute costume.  With a first birthday rapidly approaching for Thérèse, a present for her seemed like as good a reason as any for indulging my inner Nana desire to spoil my babies rotten.

Showing up at my house in another Halloween-themed outfit just sealed the decision that it was time to get the camera out.

Toddling now all over the place I had to get a picture of her coming and going.

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Then it was time to see if we could get a picture – or 27 – with background props.

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Finally  we got the costume on.  The head threw her balance off at first….

But with a little help from her big sister she got the hang of things.

Eat your heart out Olaf – you ain’t got nothing on this adorableness!

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Boundaries

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Boundaries.”

Keeping our little ones safe.

GRK 2013

CMK 0909

PJR 0501

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