Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Invisible on Main Street

Just The Way It Is: 

 It never fails that someone will come into the store and say, "What a darlin' store." I respond, "Thank you and where are you from?" Often they will say, we live on the lake or in Salvisa or some other location in Mercer or Boyle County. But, I already knew that. Then the conversation will turn back to me and I get hit with, "How long have you been you been here?"  I reply, "I've been here for twenty (or twenty one or twenty two) years."   That twenty something  year changes as the calendar flips over and over. "Oh, My God! I had no idea you were even here.  I mean we've lived here since 1999 and I never knew you were here."  Yeah, I get that a lot. That's part of the invisibility cloak that get pitched over Main Street, mostly over my store.  I guess it comes from being in a small town or maybe people just don't care to come onto this beautiful street and head to other venues instead.  You know, for a long long time people thought that Highway 127 was Main Street.  When they opened the new-ish Highway 127 by-pass several years ago, I heard time and time again, "That by-pass will put you out of business."  Little did they know that Main Street had already been by-passed, many a year ago.  It was called Highway 127. You  know its the place that the Ben Franklin store held sway. Ben Franklin has been gone a long time, but it left its children. Later they grew and expanded down the road to include Wal-Mart, Kroger and the other necessary modern day shopping venues.   We survived that by-pass and we'll survive this one.  Though at times, I wonder if we are surviving or if we will survive.  I guess that you never see what's at your finger tips. 

Its invisible me. lol
Now, lets explore another customer profile. I like to call this one the, "I've been lost since the 1950's" customer.  Unlike the other mentioned customer, this one is a local, born and raised right here in the burg.  I've learned to breathe deeply and unclench my fists when they manage to come into the store.  They push open the door as though they are pushing open the door to an inner sanctum.  They step in, with eyes already watering, their heads pushed heaven-wards,panning left and right. "Oh, this used to be the Gem Store.", they'll say.  " I bought my first tube of lipstick here. RIGHT HERE! God, I remember that like it was yesterday." I'll spare you the diatribe of how they paid for it, who checked them out, where they wore that lip lacquer to that night, what color it was and how it was such good quality.  Now bear in mind that this happens as they climb over book shelves, foot stools and display cases, as thought they aren't even there, all in a quest to walk the walk of fifty years ago when they were young, happy and had a great life in front of them.  If they took the time to shed the scales off of their eyes, they would see that I have some great stuff that could also enrich their lives and maybe even help to transport them back to the past, that they gild and wax poetic over. But they pay my "old" stuff no heed.  I've also discovered that this customer, though not always, is fairly tight with a pocket book.  I don't mean to be that way, they mean well. But it can be hurtful when you put such time and effort into your business, only to have someone compare it to a past that will never be again. Its a kin to seeing someone you saw grow up and saying, "Well, you were such a cute little baby and look at you know." I love nostalgia and history but pay attention to the history and nostalgia that's growing in front of you.

 Next time I'll let you know about one of  my favorite  customers, the out of town or out of state frequent shopper.  They make me smile and often laugh. Until next time.