Seeing a theme in my “New”’s so far this year??? Yep, most of my “new”-ness seems to revolve around food and family, and they tend to occur on the weekends… our family time. I wonder how many years it will be until Robert will no longer think it’s super cool to hang out with his parents… he’s only three but I know I’m going to blink and that day will have come. So, best not waste a minute of it. If I’m lucky, he’ll never be totally repulsed by the thought of spending an entire Saturday with his parents. If he’s lucky, he’ll one day have a child who thinks spending an entire Saturday with him is super cool. If I do my job well, he will be that lucky.
We had a team of sisters from the store “Stuff” in Brookside come to speak to our Soroptimist group last week. I’ve been in the store a few times before and follow the store on Facebook, and had read a bit about the sisters but after hearing them speak I liked them and their store even more. And it got me to thinking about small businesses and how much I appreciate great customer service and unique things that you just don’t get a big box retailers. Then this week there was an article in the paper about Reading Reptile, a really cool children’s book store in the same strip that also has sells cupcakes. I was trolling their website and reading one of the owner’s blogs and came across this.
“It’s always the Little Guy, you know? The economy collapses and everybody starts worrying about the Little Guy. “Is the Little Guy okay?” they wonder. I can’t tell you how many times in recent weeks somebody’s stopped me in the grocery store aisle with that pained expression reserved for chemo patients and dead relatives and ventured the question: “Has the economy affected your business?” If it’s a friend or someone I actually know I cheer them up with a punch line that doubles as an absolution if need be – “What difference does it make? Business always sucks,” I say – and we have a little laugh together. It’s a polite way of saying that one should worry about the Little Guy when the economy is good because that’s when we tend to forget about him entirely.”
That got me to thinking about this… Project 3/50. I read about it a while ago and thought it was really cool. I need to get past the “think” stage and move on to the “do” stage. So, my goal by March 1 is to come up with what I want my 3 stores to be. $50 a month is not a huge commitment (which is good because right now we don’t have huge money). We spent over $50 today so it doesn’t take long! My goal is to really think about the locally owned stores that I like to go to. The ones that if they closed their doors tomorrow I would miss. Perhaps even become a customer that they would miss if I quit coming in. I’ll let you know when I have my three.
We had planned on eating at Oak Street Café but it was closed. Aaarrgghhh. Normally wouldn’t have been a big problem but I had gone online last night to find someplace that had pancakes (Robert’s favorite) and had told him, all the way there, that we were going to have pancakes and chocolate milk. McDonald’s to the rescue.
I’m pretty sure that Stuff is going to be one of them. And this is why. Beyond the fact that the owners are really cool and philanthropic and I love their tag “Pursue Good Stuff”. We went in today and all the workers were really nice. And they talked and listened. And I didn’t make a huge purchase, but it was an important one to me. My aunt is haivng her surgery this week to remove the tumor from her brain. I found these mini note cards that said, “Oh Fuck It”. A bit tacky but just what we need right now. I know that’s how she’s feeling and she’s going to feel that way a few days after the surgery too. When the clerk heard they were a gift she showed me the cool hand made holders they had for them… they were adorable and would bring the gift together nicely. I bought it! The perfect gift. She even offered to gift wrap it for me. Then… she said I also got a pack of the same mini not cards that say “Pursue Good Stuff” on them. I love them. My mind was instantly swirling with what I would do with these because they are special and can’t just be frittered away with “honey do” requests to the husband. I think I’ve decided what to do… check back on my “New” week 6 or 7 (or 8 depending on how busy I get between now and then”.
After Stuff we headed over to Reading Reptile. We found books on pirates and dinosaurs for Robert (his two current passions). We also stopped to buy some cupcakes at the counter. They are all named after fairy tale characters. We got “Grandma”, “Little Red”, “Goldilocks” and “Big Bad Wolf”. Big Bad Wolf is delicious!!!
After that we hit the Brookside Toy Store and picked up a Wonderful Waterfalls toy for Robert. It’s the pirate one of course. A totally low tech toy. My brother got a basketball one for Christmas when he was 11. I remember being at Independence Center Christmas shopping with my parents. Mom send Dad and I to the toy store (one of the only times I remember my Dad shopping with us… especially at a mall!) He picked that out for my brother. I remember playing it for hours with him. A deliciously low tech toy. Robert loves it.