Wednesday, May 19, 2010

soapbox


please don't mind me if i jump up here for a moment..

i would like to tell you a story of a sweet man named john who i visited with while back east.

he has run a family owned craft, fabric and mail station for 20 years.
a simple man but hoenst and so hard working (60+ hours a week).

he is intelligent, kind, and runs a great business... until this happened...

2 years ago, walmart decided to rule his world and built 3 stores within a 8 MILE radius.
john was so hurt, frustrated and distressed but yet, kept plugging along.

now 2 years later, creditors are calling, and he has to close.
20 YEARS.
GONE.

and to put salt into the wound, his landlord cant wait to get rid of him because he wants his space back.
another guy called him about buying john's 20 year built business for $10,000.
what a slap in the face. is that all he is worth after pouring his heart and soul into it?

he and his wife are so depressed and anxious and what they thought would be their
"golden years" are now going to be spent paying off debt and trying to find their way starting over. i am not sure how old they are but i was assume late 60's. can you imagine?

so when i make small remarks about the "big guys" it is only because...
us "little guys" are peddling as fast as we can and will never have the resources or the $$$$$ they do. we cannot keep up, nor do we expect or want to.


i realize, many of us are in the row boats and if we continue to support one another we will all survive. so i want to thank all of you who support my small business.
it means the world to me.

xx

29 comments:

JustJoan said...

Hooray! I am so with you on this one. I live in a small community and love supporting our local businesses. I'm appalled by the Home Depots, WalMarts, even Barnes & Noble and Targets out there. I'm blessed to live on Bainbridge Island where the majority do not want box or chain stores and we have a downtown that does not look like any other downtown. Thank you for speaking up.

Renee said...

Walmart is FAMOUS for this and it makes me so sick to my stomach. I, for one, always feel like I need to take a shower after being forced to walk into one from time to time. For the most part, I've boycotted them for years now.
I hope your friends can find a way to turn this into a positive but it breaks my heart to imagine someone in their sunset years having to start over. Prayers for them.

flwrjane said...

I work for a small family owned flower shop and when we get customers who tell us "those cost less at the supermarket or big box store", sometimes all we can say is "well ,go buy 'em there!"

A customer asked yesterday what the difference is between a corsage from Safeway ( a supermarket) and us.

Um, what's the difference between a burger from McDonald's or one made with organic beef, on a toasted fresh baked roll with a ripe tomato and fresh lettuce? Quality.

its simple love said...

I am an avid anti-wal-mart-er. I support the little guys. Not the big guys who can wipe their butts with hundreds.

Rachael

HeddyShea said...

what a great post. I completely relate to your venting... my husband and I run a small construction business, and are unable to compete with the big guys. Glad to know there are loyal supporters out there. I'm sorry for John and wish him all the best.$10,000 is a slap in the face.

xo
shs

Privet and Holly said...

You are SO right. If I have a choice between something made in CHINA or something made by an artisan or company made in the USA, I support the China alternative, even if it is more expensive. We are losing the craft of many people like your friend and it is such a shame. I hope that women like us can lead the rally cry and convince people that CHEAP is just that: cheap. And though it may save a few dollars in the short term, the cost in the long term is extremely dear..... xx P&H

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Oh the lovely Wal-Mart is pushing their way into a battlefield of great historical signicance not far from me. Even with celebrities and politicians potesting and creating a flap...they are still coming.

I do shop Wal-Mart on occasion, but they need some serious adjustments in seeing the little picture and if those big, fat profits are worth destroying so much and so many over!

Ormolulu said...

I'm sure you hit a nerve on this one for a lot of us, Pam! I left "big business" fifteen years ago to follow my passion, and it has not been an easy path. The cheap-but-cute stuff can be so attractive to young people, but for those of us who've been around the block a time or two, we know you get what you pay for. And we are paying dearly as a country in so many ways for our shortsightedness. Thanks for standing up on your soapbox . . . I'm WITH you all the way!

xo

Debi

drollgirl said...

oh god. this is so brutal. wall mart, home depot -- they give and they take, that is for sure.

i hope this man will be ok. i really do.

and every time i daydream about starting my own small business, it quickly becomes a panicky nightmare. the thought of putting your heart and soul into something and having it fail or die would just be so HARD. sigh.

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

i completely understand what you mean...as a small business, we really need to support one another. it's the small businesses like his that add character to a town. so many towns are becoming homogenized.
xox alison

brock street said...

power to the little people.
i will not shop at wallmart for many reasons, but if you have seen the documentary and read anything about them you know that for every $1.00 spent in the US, $0.10 goes to wallmart. arg!!
it seems there is no stopping them, but i really think we will take a turn one day soon and realize we have lost the herritage of where we came from and how it was possible for families to survive by using their skills and trades.
here in SF i am seeing more and more coop business, where these small craftsman are sharing space with other craftsman and sharing the load of space and overhead....and people are loving the revival of this artisan culture.
keep doing what you are doing and know there is nothing out there like the ticking.
i know something will work out for him and his family...it will not all be in vain..i have faith in that forsure.

The Zhush said...

Oh no, I am so sad for this man and his wife. I really hope somehow things turn around for him.

Beach House Living said...

It appears many join you in this opinion as do I. Sadly, we have become a disposable society and one of more is good instead of quality and craftsman ship.

Where I work has suffered not at the hands of Walmart but large retailers that can afford to buy hundreds of each item for greater discounts but do not demonstrate how to use it or offer any warranty or repair services. Those same buyers then call us up on the phone or arrive in person and expect us to explain and show how the item works.

It's worse when it's not even a brand we sell some get so angry when we say we don't know or we cannot service it.

Many also think buying re-usable grocery bags are good. Think for a minute made in China meaning massive carbon foot print and an American not working. It takes dozens of uses to offset the oil use alone. Make one, buy one from a local crafter that uses recycled fabrics.

When I shop my local small business I make every effort to pay in cash or personal check credit card fees add up for a small business.

Goodness, I've really rambled here my apologies...I'm simply thrilled over this post!

C.J. said...

I personally do not shop at these stores and can always find what I want at the mom and pop stores. I am a small business as well, and thank God mine is a creative business, so don't have to worry as much as the man you were referring to. My heart goes out to him.

SPLENDEROSA said...

I am with you as well. Tragic is what this is. I call it the "Malling of America." I hate Wal-Mart. The ones in Houston look like 3rd world countries. I refuse to shop there for anything. The reason for me is this, I walked into one of their stores with my beautiful 7 lb. Poodle in my arms; this senior citizen stops me and says "you can't come in here with that dog." I asked him why. He said, with a complete straight face, "We have food service in here and dogs are not allowed." In front of this "food service" area there were kids who could pass for rats running around on the floor, yelling & hollering. Never went back again. They put small businesses out of business in small towns all across our country. And, now they are the largest corporation in the USA.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Pam
such a sad story about your friend John... I can't imagine trying to rebuild after all those years in business.. very sad indeed.. I saw on tv recently that Walmart is aiming it's target at Australian shores.. I sincerely hope not.. We are already suffering with food prices going through the roof due to the big chain food stores Woolworths and Coles having a stronghold and dictating the market.. they even own many of the petrol outlets and effect those prices too.. I for one shop at small stores wherever I can and prefer the loyalty and attention to detail of a small personal business.. I guess it depends on what you are shopping for..

One thing the big stores will never emulate is the welcoming atmosphere and feeling of community one finds in a small private business.. xx Julie

My Castle in Spain said...

Great post ! I do hope John and his wife will find an alternative.
Oh yes, it is hard to fight against the big guys. Many of my friends here are artisans, tailor, designers and it's not always easy but we love what we do even if it's the hard way...
Thank you for this post !

sinnlighet said...

Ohhhhhh, my heart and I like this post & story!!! Thank you!!

Agneta

seabold vintage market said...

here is a great quote from miss Frannie . . . I love everything about it . . .

"Buy classic, buy quality, buy less, live simply, live well . . ."

So glad you posted this!!! xo - liz

red ticking said...

thank you for all of your amazing comments and emails.. xoxo

and liz.. i LOVE frannie's thoughts.. mine exactly.

splendidmarket.com said...

How sad, but I am so glad you shared this story. As great as the financial loss is, I'll bet the loss of a craft and business they have built is unmeasurable. The sense of self worth..
yes, we all need to support the great "little guys". Nicely put, RT.

Kara said...

How very sad for your friend. I hope he ends up ok.

Great post.

FROM THE RIGHT BANK said...

Oh, stories like this just break my heart. I wish your friend all the best.

Vintage by LOU LOU said...

I am 100% in complete agreement there. The only way to show these big corporations is to stop supporting them. Which can also be difficult when they have the monopoly on everything and prices are so competitive and families needing to eat and all.
I have just finished having a fashion event where it was about supporting local boutiques and business and was such a success. People were surprised by what was available to them out there.
Louisa
xx

jeanine said...

What a sad story! I hope they are able to get through this time and succeed in the end.

I try so hard to support small and local businesses and do most of my shopping at them (even if it means ordering by mail).

Even though I haven't been to Walmart or Home Cheapo in years, last year they sold diseased tomato plants and all my (organic, grown from seed) plants were killed - the tomatoes that actually grew turned to mush as they ripened. Yet another reason to avoid these places.

Author said...

Yes, much is being lost in our country by our embrace of poorly made, inexpensive goods. Quality, small business, and creativity to name a few.

I work in antiques, and so much has changed and being lost - and for all the wrong reasons. It's very sad that people do not understand what their choices today do over the long term.

www.adiscourseontheartsandsciences.net

24 Corners said...

Boy you struck a nerve with this post! Thank goodness so many people feel the same as you...hang in there, your beautiful shop and all others like it will prevail!!!

America needs to re-learn what quality, craftsmanship and dedicated personal service are all over again and start to appreciate what they stand for!

Praying for John and his family...

Ok8e said...

I SO agree. There are so many businesses like this in my town that are sadly struggling against the "malling" store syndrome. I gladly support them whenever possible. I can think of about 5 off the top of my head here (West Hartford CT) that have shut their doors just in the past 2 or so years. And I abhore Walmart and avoid it like the plague.

beachbungalow8 said...

oh, i really hope this will become, in retrospect some kind of a blessing for john and his family.