Thursday, September 18, 2014

The things that mattered

When people ask me what I'll miss I'm always at a loss for words. Which part of this business do I choose to mention and what memory or story do I share? So many things made an impact on me; the customers, the experiences, personal connections, laughter, tears, amazing people and so much more. But that should come as no real surprise since often small retail shops are the heart and soul of their communities. Did you know that? Sometimes I think that gets overlooked but in so many ways we seem to care about things that corporate chains may not.

For example, these stickers mattered. Yes, basic, black and white oval decals mattered to me, and to others. They are from Operation Homefront and are free, to be given to veterans as a small gesture of recognized for their service. They are displayed in the front window with a small American flag and a note saying "Thank you for your service. They are free; please come in to get one". Funny thing is no one realizes they are free - they assume I'm selling them and are always hesitant until I turn the decal over and show them the information about Operation Homefront and explain the project.

And then selfishly, here's what I get out of the deal; I get to shake their hand and tell them we appreciate their service. I see people grateful to be acknowledged, almost always humble about their service, yet proud of what they did. I see them smile at being recognized as an American soldier. I'm able to place a decal in the hand of a hero. Sometimes I see them tear up at such a little gesture done for them. And sometimes, I even get a story or a few words about what they did.

Those are just some of the moments shared with my guests, visitors, customers and friends. Those decals and those who they are handed to mattered to me. I am lucky; during my 19 years here I was able to catch so many of these moments. I will always remember this experience.

#storeclosing #goodbye #smallbusiness #after35years #lossofsmallstores #momandpop #closing #thefinal90 #whatmatters #veterans #memories #smallbusinessmatters

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