Sunday, October 28, 2007

Some Store

Spent the weekend in Toledo with my sisterfriends, Susan and Lisa. It was so bittersweet, sitting in my spot at "The Paper". I spent so many hours in that chair, probably too many but no one would say that now, knowing the doors are closing soon. It was hard being there but I knew I had to go. Susan's exact words were, "I need you." So I went.
I hated watching the vultures come and pick the bones. I was amazed how rude folks were. Everyone knew exactly what she did wrong. All those people who if they'd supported her store all along would still have a friendly neighborhood place to crop. A place where you can go for inspiration, friendship and just a good time.
But instead, people came out of the woodwork to save a few dollars. They came to give their opinions. They came to swear at my friend. I'm not even kidding. They came in droves.
All the people who knew exactly what she should have done to stay in business.

She should have had classes. Had them. Few came even though Susan's creativity is off the chart and her teachers were top notch. I know. I was one of them. *grin*
She should have had crops. Had them. Every week. Folks would come and not spend a dime.

There were those customers loyal to a fault and you know who you are. You are part of what's kept Susan going for so long. There was even one woman who gave Susan a gift card to help her build her dream of an art studio at home. Those kinds of folks are the rare jewels. Thank you, not only for your support but your kindness and your gentleness these last few days.

Skrappaper had all the right elements. What she didn't have was a community who supported her. She had a good, solid customer base. She had some who were loyal, supporting their hobby in her store. But she also had folks who would go to one of the big box stores to buy say, a Crickut diecut machine but come to her saying, "But they didn't teach me how to use it. Will you?" And she would. Graciously.
-I- want to say, "Go back to Wal-Mart and see if they can't teach you." But that's the trouble with those big chain stores, see? They don't offer the same customer service as the little people. There's no classroom at Wal-Mart. Sure they offer the best price, but please, realize you're paying for so much more when you support the little guys. Those few extra dollars are buying such heart. And that is, as they say, priceless.

The little guys build their stores out of love for a craft. Those are the folks we should be supporting. Those are the stores I want to have my money. A store where my dollars matter. A store where my dollars are buying new shoes for a walking toddler or fresh produce for one vegetable loving kid. I don't want my dollars buying a new Jaguar for the CEO of Chain Stores of America.

I'll end my rant here.
I'm glad I went to Toledo this weekend, not only for the final crop and to be there for my friend but it seemed somehow appropriate. I was there when Skrappaper was born. It was only right I be there in the end.

Here's to new beginnings, Susan.
Peace, friend.


Karin said...

Well said Melly! I miss you - hope all is well!!

Nansi said...

It's like a death in the family, isn't it. Condolences.