The Alimond Show

Suzanne Eblen Owner of The Old Lucketts Store

March 28, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Suzanne Eblen Owner of The Old Lucketts Store
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever chuckled at the sight of towering newscasters or marveled at the spontaneous charm of live TV? We're taking a behind-the-scenes peek with our guest whose journey from a quiet start-up in an abandoned lot to a booming local enterprise exemplifies the blend of humor and resilience needed in live television and entrepreneurship. Buckle up for an episode brimming with laughter as we recount tales of televised quirks, and the steadfast dedication behind cultivating a cherished business while keeping the authenticity of a homely atmosphere.

What does it take to steer a team through a sea of change? Leadership and adaptability sail into the spotlight as we chart the course of navigating team dynamics and the "fast phase-out" strategy for preserving a harmonious crew. With the pandemic's tidal wave, our guest sheds light on the pivot to online sales and balancing a creative vision with the nitty-gritty of business management. If you're seeking wisdom on leading with grace under pressure, this treasure trove of insights is your beacon.

As we wrap up, lean in for a heart-to-heart on the power of love, respect, and dropping judgment, especially when times get tough. Our guest opens up about transformative experiences from a recent retreat, underscoring the significance of individual contributions to the greater good. Through stories of meditation and compassion, we're reminded of the profound impact we can have on each other—so tune in for an episode that's not just an earful of business savvy, but a soulful guide to living with intention and kindness.

Speaker 1:

I know those darn video cameras. They show everything.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, and I'm not that closey, shall we say so. I'm like oh, it was like a bad trip to Target yeah.

Speaker 2:

So you said tell me a story about the news. The news was hilarious because the first time I ever had to do it I never have, I ever had to speak or be seen, and so, anyway, the funny thing about it is you walk through these dark hallways, dark hallways, dark hallways. I don't know which channel it was, but it was like okay and go, and they just push you through this door and you're there's the newscaster behind all the fancy things, and the funny thing is a lot of those people who interview you. They're like six or seven feet tall.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and they're in heels, so now, they're like eight feet high.

Speaker 2:

And they've got the super outfit and 50 pounds of weight, 50 pounds of makeup on and you're just like. You just crawl out so thin. You're like, oh, and then you also don't know where to look because you're like, do I look at you Cause you're talking to me, but do I look over that they don't tell you anything. It's just like and go. So what was it about? It was about our fair that we have out in Berryville and the Clark County fairgrounds. We did a big fair twice a year and so I can remember at the very end of it I realized I never mentioned my store, I never mentioned really any relevant things that if you had an opportunity as a business person, you might have brought up.

Speaker 1:

I learned a lot you learned that it's a good learning lesson, that's right.

Speaker 2:

That's right. Just jump off the cliff, you'll be fine.

Speaker 1:

So so. So, speaking of store and the fair, tell me a little bit, so I know a look at store in 1996.

Speaker 2:

It was an abandoned building and we fell in love with it. I had a little shop up the street called my woods end that I had for several years. I saw that building. It was just an abandoned building left in an estate kind of. I had two side, like a seven year old, a five year old and I was pregnant with another one and it was, I think, march of 1996. By August of 1996, I had a baby. In July we had restored the building and we opened in August because there was like a little county fair across the street at Luckett's Elementary School or Luckett's Community Center and we wanted to try to be ready for that. So 1996 was a very big year, very busy year.

Speaker 1:

I'm sure you learned a lot.

Speaker 2:

I learned a lot. It's always about learning a lot.

Speaker 1:

All about the corrections what else can I do 1996,?

Speaker 2:

so it's been 27 years.

Speaker 1:

And your place now is like a go to spot. Something Well yeah it does appear that way.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what we know is we're always like be nice and do a good job. It's that simple. And we all like almost psychotically love what we do. We love buying stuff, we love selling stuff, we love finding something you've never seen before, we love surprising you, we love you, we love the whole transaction and literally we never get tired of it. So it's taken that kind of vibrance and energy from a core group of people for I mean, most of my people have been with me a good bit at that time- and I'm going to add something else you love because I could tell whenever I'm there is creating an experience for people.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yes, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Because, like you, can go out there during the holiday times and it's just an experience, oh yeah. Yeah, it's a whole fun day.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, there's just not a lot of that anymore. That's homey and actually real and just by regular small people and not a big, super commercialized thing or whatever. It's just old school, small town. You know, I have people I mean the entire holiday season, you know. What else can you do? How can I be bigger?

Speaker 1:

And it's just like no man. This is what is.

Speaker 2:

Even my own son this year was like can't we do something else, because we'll get just so many phone calls all day and emails of people who want more. But the reason it is charming and sweet and wonderful and a nice experience is that it's just that what do you mean, they want more?

Speaker 2:

They want, well, more people. You know photographers want to come and spend the day. Yeah, and it's a thing, because when you get too many people and then it's not what it was, you know we do it for our customers, we do it for the people who want to be there for that. You know, our holiday house is a ticketed thing and we could sell twice as many tickets as we do on demand, but we don't want to do that because we want it to be a nice experience for everybody who's there. So there's like, well, how can you make it bigger? You know, well, it's bigger than it's not even anymore.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's nice that you know that balance. Yeah, because the business owner is so easy to be like. Well, that's big, oh you always.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's a built in entrepreneurial thing. You always want more. It's societal. You always want more, every more, more, more, more, more. But I'm realizing as I age and I have a really great business partner who's about now like typically she would even be we would be wrapping up like some of our big holiday house stuff this weekend because we want to have a holiday. Yeah, we've been doing this now hard, hard, hard, hard, like working almost seven days a week for five weeks and right before that was our fair, so we work seven days a week right before that. So we've been going hard on all this stuff for quite a while. So we want to break.

Speaker 1:

So it's like no, Can't you just move like Christmas to like July or something? Well, we're just building out this Christmas, Because in July it starts in June.

Speaker 2:

We're receiving the stuff. We're pricing it. We have a barn full of ladies that price all summer long. And then the building of the house starts in June and July and it takes that long to do it. And then Luckett says well, luckett starts becoming all Christmas out and right after Halloween, because I can't. I can't bear to put Christmas out before Halloween.

Speaker 1:

I can't. I don't care what rule, I don't care.

Speaker 2:

No, no, I don't care what I don't care. It's not happening. Let's honor a moment of October and November and fall and the beauty of that. And is it the smartest business move in the world? No, but I don't care, I just can't sink into that. It's just, it's not nice to say, but I was in Cracker Barrel. I went to a flea market there was a Cracker Barrel right there In July.

Speaker 1:

They had Christmas out and I was just like it's probably that Christmas in July, I'm right. That's where you draw the line.

Speaker 2:

That's right. Yeah, that's where I draw the line July.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so do you see things panning out in the next 10, 20, 30 years?

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's a well. I'm 63. So 30, for my business or for myself? For it's an interesting question, because the fact is I really love what I do. So, I see, doing it till I literally can't do it anymore, I mean, I have moments of being like you know, I could sell all this and do quite well, it's a nice piece of property on a busy highway, blah, blah, blah. But I love what I do so much and I think it's. I just think it's special because it is a dying breed that is willing to be old school. I had a bunch of people say it was cute. Actually, oh my God, like they hand write their tags, they hand write their receipts. Well, yeah, I mean it's not going to be a QR code situation here or whatever scanning situation. We're just never going to be that ever. And yeah, until I literally can't do it anymore, I'm gonna keep doing it because I just I think it's what keeps me vibrant.

Speaker 1:

I'm gonna say young, yeah, you've got like young energy. Oh, yeah. You've got like 19 year old, young energy yeah it's shocking.

Speaker 2:

I mean, when I was, I think I was like a psycho. Then I don't think I could like reign it in, but now at least know what the focus is. So that's helpful, yeah.

Speaker 1:

What are some of the like special stories or special experiences that you guys have created out there? Have you ever had anything.

Speaker 2:

Well, one of the things I love, just in general, is that we really are like a big family out there. I mean we genuinely are, and it's like there's something really special about that. Like my gang, like they, you know, we all need a moment cause it's a lot. You know this holiday season is a lot cause we do work a lot, but it's like two days off or whatever, like you can't wait to get back. It's the opposite of most jobs, like it's the thing we like to do the most, and I think there's something so deep and profound in that that we all care about each other. We would never let anything happen to each other. I don't know. It's just rare anymore.

Speaker 1:

Creative community. It feels like with it here.

Speaker 2:

It's a real community. Yeah, and to me that's a big, pretty big deal and I think I've learned over the years to like the thing about being a good leader. I think I used to be to try to do everything, but I learned about being a good leader. It's just simply bringing out the best in everyone around you and you not overly controlling everything. Let things be and have faith and trust in the people around you that they're going to do a good job. And don't micromanage, don't get into any of that, just let them be their best selves, you know, and it ultimately comes out. And we've had people who, like I loved them but I couldn't figure out like they. Let's just say they weren't the best behind the counter, but I loved, I knew they were wonderful and it's like just evolving into what is their best fit. And there's quite a few people who have really come into themselves via working there, which is pretty great, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I love that. I do have a question, though. What happens when it's not a good fit, or have you ever had any of those situations? Well, if I'm being really honest.

Speaker 2:

I have what I call the fast phase out. I never the fast phase out. Fast, okay, yeah, and they should fast.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, no, no the fast phase out.

Speaker 2:

You're just kind of like this just is not working at all, like there's no energetic connection at all. They don't get us, they don't understand that we're a little organic in how we operate this and that, and it's just, your hours become less and less and then we're just like you know, we're good.

Speaker 1:

Fast phase got it. Now how that works.

Speaker 2:

Yeah yeah. Rarely do I ever I'm like you're fired or anything like that. We've had a few. This is not vibing man.

Speaker 1:

All right. So if your hours are being cut week by week, know what?

Speaker 2:

no, yeah no, it's probably on the phase out zone. Yes, yes, yeah, it's funny yeah.

Speaker 1:

No, it's just a hard conversation, but I always like to ask business owners that because it's something that other business owners, as they're hiring team members, as they're trying to grow that community and, by one way or another, like the wrong apple, got into the bunch there.

Speaker 2:

I've made mistakes over the years, for sure that people I should not have let stay. They were a weak link and what I really realized now is I did not honor the rest of my staff. That's what I realized. It's not like and you know I'm like sometimes I'm from South Jersey so sometimes I could be. You know, watch it.

Speaker 1:

You're gonna get it.

Speaker 2:

Or, but I'm also kind of a pushover, so if somebody who's kind of always given me a little bit of pushback, sometimes I allow, I've allowed that. But now I realize that I didn't honor the rest of my staff and they're all like get rid of her. I had many gifts COVID brought many gifts in that regard that let us clean house, like it took us all the way back to me really 100%. Everybody was gone and trying to navigate that.

Speaker 1:

So you lost everybody.

Speaker 2:

Everybody well, they just couldn't come to work obviously and so on and so forth.

Speaker 2:

Some left, some just you know, obviously we couldn't be open. It was a crazy navigation of what to do. I never worked harder. I don't think I worked that hard since I opened when COVID hit because you just didn't know what to do. But it was interesting because one morning I woke up at like four o'clock in the morning, right when that was all starting, and I was like somebody has to have some suggestions about this. Like literally there's no cars on route 15, everything is closed, nobody's anywhere and, to be honest with you, I'm not a big newsie, so I really wasn't paying that much attention to what was going on. I'm just living my life and I just Googled like 4 am Like what are business leaders saying to do? And it was interesting, it was Mark Cuban. He was like pivot. If you're a small business owner, you need to pivot. You cannot disappear, you cannot become irrelevant. We don't know what's gonna happen, but you still need to remain alive.

Speaker 2:

And so we switched on to online sales. It was all anybody could do, really, and it went extraordinarily well. But when you have a store like mine, basically what you normally have is thousands of items that hundreds of people. Per weekend, let's just say, or even during the course of a week, hundreds of people come in. So hundreds of people are seeing thousands of items. When you go online, tens of thousands of people are seeing one item at a time. And it was like we posted a farm table and it was sold in like 30 seconds and we were just like oh, oh, oh, okay. And then we like posted, whoa, it's sold, but now you have to photograph it, measure it, describe it. So the effort toward versus people just wandering through and seeing the sofa became a lot more effort. And it was selling so fast that we needed to then come up with a system, cause all of a sudden everybody hated everything in their house.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, cause they were staring at it for too long.

Speaker 2:

So that was a wild ride. It was the, and then I you know one person came in to help me because I'm really good at the energy and I'm really good at like, let's do this, but the follow through and the organizational thing not my not responsibility.

Speaker 1:

I can see you being the person, though, on camera. Yeah, have you seen the thing where there's I don't know which? I don't know where it was, but it was somebody that was selling items and she would just hold it for a second and do this and they would sell as soon as she picked it up and like so I could see you being that person.

Speaker 2:

I could probably do that. I could probably do that, jumping up on the table Look at how stable this is. I could have started those. Yeah, yeah, I could do that. It's a good idea, but anyway. So.

Speaker 2:

But then as people started coming back, we had to navigate. How were we managing this? Because it was crazy. It was like. Then it became like also crazy because it was almost like people were battling for the stuff. You know you, it sold so fast that then people became obsessed with our site. So then I allowed all my vendors to take pictures of inventory they may have had in their barns at home and send it to me. I post it, it sells, they get it to the shop customer. We did a whole remote pickup thing where my guys were just outside. You pull up, they shove in your car, you're gone. Nice, yeah. But it helped me weed out the staff that I didn't need anymore, that weren't serving me, the ones that really needed to go. Cause that is the hard part when you are like a family. It's even harder when you've got to weed people out.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Was it because the duties had changed or because you needed more grit and put in more effort and some people just weren't willing to do that Both.

Speaker 2:

I just had a few that really shouldn't have been there in any way, that I just didn't have the fortitude to get rid of them and they needed to go, and then they went on their own.

Speaker 1:

They went.

Speaker 2:

they just went and found something else to do, yeah.

Speaker 1:

You're like oh yes, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Oh, you're moving. Terrible, terrible situation.

Speaker 1:

So that basically took care of.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it took care of a lot yeah it took care of itself. Then we rebuilt, even stronger and better. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So the internet was a magic button for you.

Speaker 2:

Magic button and really I'm learning now to you have to pivot so much and you have to be, you have to be. The times have changed dramatically in 27 years and I'm realizing even after all that we navigated all that. Everything was great. This was the best year we ever had, like by a lot. 20 and 21 were crazy, but then everybody stopped buying furniture, like even this past year. I mean like just stopped Because I think so much had been spent during that time I'm gonna say yeah, why?

Speaker 2:

So yeah, like you can't keep going and you start realizing, oh, oh, okay, but we're luckets. Well, we're luckets, so doesn't everybody love us? Yeah, you still have to stay nimble, you still have to keep fresh and you still have to keep. And we dropped way off because we had done so well during that time. And then, when COVID started to phase out, people started coming in and droves that had never been there before, because they heard about it via all that and that was great. We couldn't keep up. So then we pulled way back on likes. We couldn't keep up. Really, we didn't need to do it anymore because everything was still going well.

Speaker 2:

And then this last year it was like we had cut back to four days a week. All that Everything changed yet again. It was like people stopped buying furniture, people weren't just wandering out and you're just like okay, well, I'm sure it'll be better soon, I'm sure that'll change anytime now and a lot of the shops around me are like we don't even know. I mean, it's just like dead. And then I realized it took me a while to not be like again. It's kind of funny when you work so much, you're like oh God, it's kind of nice to have a break for a minute, and so that was it, but you got to put your boots back on. Yeah, you got to put your boots back on.

Speaker 1:

Take a breath and then stop. Take a breath and put your boots back on and get back in the game.

Speaker 2:

So we went back to be an open seven days because my brain went to okay, what would Mark Cuban say now? What would he say? If I don't even have to look at him, what would he say? And in my mind he's first of all, you have 30,000 cars a day going by your store and you're closed 40% of the time. Open back up, you're closed because we would use that time to reset the store and people were coming like can I come in? And we're like no, we're closed. Well, that is really terrible.

Speaker 1:

How did your staff react to that when you said you know what we were four days. Now we're going to be seven. They got it, they got it. They were okay with that. They got it.

Speaker 2:

Again, my crew is like family. They're just like okay, because we could see, and yet in the very beginning of that nobody was coming because we had trained them, that were closed Monday, tuesday, wednesday. Then we had to retrain. We were open seven days a week and during that time we had also kind of got lazy on the online store stuff and it was just like. It was just like yeah, you know, it's fine, you know again, we're lucky. Yeah, and now I realize you know, comically, because it's so obvious, myself included, everybody just looks at their phone all the time. If you want to be relevant, that is the number. People don't just go meandering it. Old timey, not old timey, but you know what I mean. If you live in the DC Metro, if you live in Sterling, luck. It's like not on your mind, you're not driving by it.

Speaker 2:

No, you're not driving by it, absolutely not. And the ones that are driving by it on their way to work and on their way home from work, they're on a mission. And so I was like we have to completely become relevant online again. So this year will be our big push to kind of transition back into that. And what we learned was when we did start doing it, we did it in the early fall, but our big fair happened and then the holidays happened and we're so crazy it was hard to put all the energy we needed into it. But when we were doing it, what was happening was people would just come in with their phone. They didn't the percentage bought it online, say 50%, but the other 50% it drove them to the store and they wanted to see the item. That's even better because it drove them to the store. So we're like, okay now. We're like we should not do this thing.

Speaker 1:

You know it's a game plan, at least for the next year or so.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, and my sons are involved in the business too. Obviously they're young, in the early 30s, so they're way more adept at all that. So I'm going to start really leaning them into that aspect of the business. I can keep procuring them. I like buying.

Speaker 1:

I think you should do. I would love to see you do the whole, like the sales, like just test it. Yeah yeah, where it's a segment, as many people as you know know about it, where it's going to be a live, you know type of selling auction, not auction.

Speaker 2:

but like show.

Speaker 1:

And then you literally have like 30 seconds with each item. You've got like 50 of your 50 to 100 items and just for fun during like a slower time yeah, that's a good idea. And all your like spunky energy yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that I can do. I can do that I can buy endless stuff. That's mmm.

Speaker 1:

It's your shopping fix. Yeah, that's right, that's right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I could totally do that.

Speaker 1:

That's so fun and I love how honest and real you are about the business you have to be. And that, like most people, a lot of people really struggle with that part, though, because they, like you said, like, but it's like yeah, well, you know, I got to say I'm 63.

Speaker 2:

And I say it all the time I love being this age. And I love being this age because I feel like all, all bets are off. Like you can be, you get it. You get the whole picture. Now you get life a little better. You've learned your life's life lessons. Not that it's over, but you get it. And you need to be honest and you need to help people with your honesty. You need to help fellow business owners. You all need to just get real with stuff and not be so withholding. You know I used to be. If you want to ask me all these questions 20 years ago or whatever, I'd be like oh no, everything's great. This is not true. We all have our struggles, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I feel like, yeah, when you're younger, like you're trying to put together the puzzle piece, but you're like right here on the puzzle, yeah, and the older you get, the more you can see more and be like, oh, it's a wider picture and I know where all the pieces fit and I'm not going to like. That's right. That's right. Pretend like it's just a belt.

Speaker 2:

Right, that's exactly right. And why? Why pretend anyway? Why pretend anything? Ego, ego yeah, I feel like a lot of it comes to ego. I had one yesterday. That was just funny, it's funny. It's funny to even say it here, but I'll say it anyway, because old me would have not addressed this the same way as me.

Speaker 2:

Now is when I'm having a little dinner with some of my staff tonight and I was inviting just the core staff that's always there. We have a lot of extra holiday staff come in and I was like, oh, I want to do a nice thing for my core staff and I always forget somebody. Because I'm an idiot, I'm just like somebody like, oh, I can't believe I forgot her and I did it again and somebody who's kind of new to the core staff. So it wasn't as on my mind and I forgot. And it's today and that was yesterday, but I just said it. I said you know what? This is what I did, and I'm really sorry. I do it every year. This year it's your, your new part, and I don't want to withhold that, because then it seems like I intentionally didn't invite you, you know, and me now is like I truly am sorry and I want you to know you're more than welcome and I want you to be there. I love her.

Speaker 2:

She's phenomenal you know, I would never, ever want her to think otherwise, but it's easy to be like, oh awkward, what am I going to do now? Just let the guard down, just let it down.

Speaker 1:

And people will respect you more. I feel like, yeah, the right people will respect you more because they understand the intention Exactly Rather than Well, then we all screw up, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Another day that person is going to screw. You know we all screw up, we all you know. It's just like I was just reading a thing this morning about feeling awkward at a party. Oddly enough, like I can feel awkward at a party, I'm a very outgoing person and I kind of. But if it's a certain vibe, I'm just like you know and I feel awkward. And remembering half of the people there feel awkward and being like more like they all feel just like I. Yeah, and that helps. We're all in all this together, right.

Speaker 2:

That's right, we're all little awkward ducks trying to Right, trying to navigate all kinds of craziness, yeah, so don't worry about it, can I?

Speaker 1:

I just love that you're dressed like a little Christmas tree today. Yeah Well, our little party site and we're all going to.

Speaker 2:

We're all going to get together and do a fun like little video clip and group Christmas card picture and one of our settings today, so that we can post it at Christmas.

Speaker 1:

I will say I have been out there to do some Christmas pictures before Like your spot is a.

Speaker 2:

Pretty cute.

Speaker 1:

Perfect, it's cute Holiday. Yeah, do you guys do like a charge for photos All?

Speaker 2:

of our customers and everybody that's coming for our store? No, absolutely not. They can come and take pictures. We help them take pictures. I usually have staff outside because usually one of the family members or they're trying to do this, so I usually have people outside that can help them during our busiest times. The only thing we don't do and we don't do it purposefully because it didn't go well people have admonished me about this, but they don't understand the true background of it is photographers coming. They would not ask. They would book sessions all day long, every 20 minutes, and they would block up our entrances. They would hog up our scenes. They never asked permission. They would take up all our parking. They were rude. There were all the things that we don't want to be and our people couldn't take pictures and they were fairly aggressive.

Speaker 2:

You couldn't get in the house, you couldn't get in the barn, you couldn't get, and I, one day we were just like.

Speaker 1:

How many years ago was this? Not that many, really.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I've seen lots of things written about us on Facebook saying how terrible, instagram, whatever. You know how we're the worst and it's just like okay, you can see what everyone. I don't care at all, you know it's not about you and what your needs are. If that's to me, if that's your business and you want really cute scenes, go build one, go do it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I was gonna say something you could do, not that you want to do it, but something I would do, because we're a photography studio, is, I would say, before the season starts, depending on when it's all finished. I know you guys are probably working, like you said since June, but it's all together. But before you really have a busy influx, say yes, you can. It's $500 an hour for you to come out here, or more and then just charge it.

Speaker 1:

That way, if anybody does show up with the professional thing, you're more than welcome. It will be $500. Even if it's 30 minutes but up to an hour, they will quickly go find another place.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, you know what it kind of boiled down to too just managing it, because that's what I had some photographers say, oh, you could do this and that and sessions, and we're willing to pay this and that and the other thing. It's just we're busy doing what we do. And then it's like do I want to manage your problem, Not really. It's not my problem which is another great learning. What is and isn't my problem?

Speaker 1:

What is to help the audience understand what is and what isn't your problem?

Speaker 2:

Well, there's a perfect example. Your photography business's backdrop is not my problem. My business at Luckett Store and making my customers have a great experience that is what I'm about. What your business is doesn't have anything to do with me. You know, like that, like learning, I'm not being a jerk it just doesn't have anything and I don't want to manage what you want your backdrop to be for your photography business.

Speaker 2:

And the audacity I want to manage what my customers experience the audacity of a photographer to come in and even leave a negative review or even say anything bad it was, yeah Is actually really horrible because it was surprising.

Speaker 1:

It's private property Right.

Speaker 2:

They're coming onto it and to the level of how brazen it got was shocking, was absolutely shocking yeah.

Speaker 1:

I'm sorry about that. On behalf of photographers, I apologize for the Bad apples yeah.

Speaker 2:

We just chopped it and then we took some slack for a while. But now we're like yeah, like the big science, that's like no. No, we just they write us, or you know whatever. We just say sorry, sorry, but no, it's all, we not so are we?

Speaker 1:

I love it. In terms of other lessons that you've learned along the way, is there anything that pops out?

Speaker 2:

Hmm, let's see. I mean that's a great question because I've learned so much. I've learned. Sometimes it's like until you start talking.

Speaker 1:

Talking about it Like, oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

You know, always be your very best to your customer, like really you have to truly care, you've got some like hard like lifers there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we got some lifers yeah.

Speaker 2:

Well, we really care about them and I want you to have a great experience Like and I don't want you to ever think I'm trying to get anything Like if you take something home and it's not Now, to an extent, where we do not Like if I come back five years later and I was like, yeah, it doesn't quite fit, yeah, right.

Speaker 1:

Like that Exactly you know, hopefully that doesn't happen.

Speaker 2:

Case by case basis. I have a funny one that a lady. You know we sell new things too. I mean the furnishings. You know we used to do the design house every month, where the holiday house is. Now we don't do that anymore. We put a lot of that merchandise is now in the lower level because a lot of our new homes in the area they how do I say this? Like you need both to have a balanced house. You know you're not going to find some of the things that you need for your home in an antique store. You know, even the giant dining farm tables and stuff we sell, you're not going to find an 1800s one, you're just not. And if you do, it's going to be $20,000, you know. So we're trying to strike that balance so you can have this certain look integrate the old and the new.

Speaker 2:

But so I had a lady one day and we represented as such. We never say anything's old, that's not old. We always try to be as honest and true to everything. But she got a table and we delivered it to her and she was absolutely certain it wasn't the table that she bought and it wasn't. The one she bought was still on the floor and that's one was in our warehouse. So we went back, we left her with. She had that table. We went, we got the other table, we brought it to her, we set it up right next to that table. They were identical. And then she was like, oh sorry, but you have to do that with a plum for your customer to be like it's okay, you just needed to know we know it's the same exact table, you know, and we would never do that to you and it was far we had to go far.

Speaker 1:

I was about to say I don't know whether or not you did this or not, but if you did, in charge a travel set up fee just for her to say, if it happened all the time I would.

Speaker 2:

But when you're like one offs, like that, you just suck it up and do it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm the same way you do it. And then when I see there's a pattern, I'm like, okay, we can need a policy that way. Exactly, that's right.

Speaker 2:

You determine when you need it. Yeah, my son said all the time he says you know I can see why, like big companies have policies. Maybe we need to look at that.

Speaker 1:

So if it happens over three times, I first internally see within this business. Are we creating this problem Right? That's right. There's something in the process that we need to make sure that we're not.

Speaker 2:

That's right. And there's trickiness to when you sell online too, because I personally it's very hard to buy anything from a picture, I don't care what it is or what the picture is hard because the scale is always a little different, the tonality is no matter how good you are at that photography and how good of a job you do. It's a little. And I buy stuff. I mean, I'm on online auctions. You know the companies I try to see feel, touch, sit on, jump on everything as much as I can, but I can't always and I'm still like, oh man you know so when we were only selling online, like we were during COVID, it was really a challenge because we would have every measurement.

Speaker 2:

I still think like a person needs to be near it so you can really see the scale.

Speaker 1:

I do agree with that and plus, you have to remember, even if your colors, because as photographers we make sure that our colors are like perfect, but if you're viewing this photo on your phone that has some different color profile on it, or a computer, the orange is going to look red.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, 100%. When we're doing auctions, which the bummer for a lot of us old school folks who have done auctions forever most of them that was another COVID gift for some businesses is that they went online almost exclusively and some of them, I mean you can preview, but some of them are far away and this and that, and I can tell you so many auctions, everything I bought. I wish I hadn't bought, everything I didn't buy, like when you go to pick it up you're like oh, I saw that I should have hit on it.

Speaker 2:

It looked completely different online. Yeah, so that's a challenge, but, yeah, navigating, but I so don't want anybody to ever think of trying to get anything over on them or that I don't honor them and you have to balance out. Some people are a little. Yeah, I remember being at my mom's once and all of her neighbors and their little retirement community like their whole hobby was buying stuff from home goods and taking it back. Why? Just because it's just what they did. It was just a hobby. They were all retired and they wanted to see how it looked in their house and have it for a minute and then return it Like they never planned on owning it. And you have to be careful how you navigate that world.

Speaker 1:

Mine's opposite problem is I buy things from home goods and then decide it doesn't fit and then just sits in the corner because I've also received or something.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, I know, I never return anything, ever. I'm just like, oh well, my bad yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, at least you've got a space. You can sell it now. That's right you kind of can Last couple of questions. Yeah, what type of music do you listen to?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great question. I won't be able to spell this for you, and my sons are really good with music. There's a band called Krunman. It's like K-R-E-U-H-G-B-I-N, it's something like that. Krunman is phenomenal in that it's super cool. It's back.

Speaker 2:

I don't like to bother people with music. I don't think that's fair to their experience. Now my girls play a lot of 70s funk that they're so they're like all day keep some going. We've been getting hollered out for not having Christmas music. We're like well blunt soon, don't worry.

Speaker 2:

But I like things that don't affect you. I remember I listened to a talk once from Chef Patrick in Little Washington and it was such a great talk because he talked about the theater of a restaurant. I believe retail is a theater as well. Your smell, what you're hearing, the lighting, what you're seeing. The whole experience, how you're treated, obviously, is kind of like a theater. You have all different folks in there. You have to be mindful.

Speaker 2:

I've learned when we play Krunman, for example, you have to put it on so you can I'm going to have to go through that. You feel cool. You just feel like, oh okay, we'll probably get asked 10 times a day what's playing and they want to know. They have to take a picture of the name because it's hard to spell. No, I love that. You want to have this feeling and if you're 20 years old or 70 years old, you don't want to be invaded upon by the music. I really don't like when I go out to eat and the music is like and there are places around here like heavy metal, like why would you play this? Why I'm eating it makes me want to leave.

Speaker 1:

You have to be mindful to be I don't know considerate of each shopping Exactly that one nails it every time and we never get tired of it.

Speaker 2:

I don't even know how to tell you what kind of music it is.

Speaker 1:

I don't know how to describe it. We're going to have to look it up. You're going to have to look it up, we'll find my phone one more time. And then my last question is what type of message would you give the world?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I have a little speech I give. If you allow me this, I'll give it to you. It's not too long. I had this realization lately because I love things about where we are in the world today and where we are together and why everybody, why there's so much. Everybody just seems a little stressed out. You know, not everybody, but the feeling in the air, and I'm kind of interested.

Speaker 2:

You know a little bit evolutionarily, how we got here and this is the first time I've ever said this to more than one person, but I believe in it wholeheartedly that when you look back to us a little bit, you know for 30,000 years as a species we were hunter-gatherers. For 10,000 years, taking us into the 1800s, we were farmers. 30,000 years we lived a certain way. 10,000 years we were farmers and we lived on the land and then everything started to change. That was a couple hundred years ago, not that long. In the last 50 years everything's changed dramatically again In the last 25 years, dramatically again.

Speaker 2:

My feeling is that we're having a hard time adapting and adjusting. We can't see that. We're so in the middle of such dramatic change because we're living it, so we can't see it. So therefore, all of the crazy changes, all of this and us looking at you know, oh, the millennials, everybody's lazy, everybody's this, everybody's that. No, no, no, no, no, no. We're in the middle of a massive, massive change in our society and we're just trying to navigate it the best that we can, and it all boils down as cheese balls. This comes out as is. We just have to love and respect everyone, because we're all in this very unique time together and, instead of judging anybody for anything, we genuinely have to love and respect them and just be like come on, we're all in, come on let's hold hands, come on, it's gonna be okay, because we're we can't.

Speaker 2:

it's hard for us to see it. But when you just zoom back a little bit to those few facts, when I have a little spare time I keep trying to add to that, like I just started learning more about the industrial age and then how to get us like fast forward to this to give the big picture of that and where we really are and then understand everybody. I feel the dis-ease is because it's so dramatic and so fast. We're just having a hard time because we're in the middle of it, you know, and just just just take a deep breath and just stop with the judgment of anybody and just love and respect. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

It's a good message.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I believe it's so wholeheartedly. When I finally really got to the why we need to love and respect and stop the judging, it just was like a absolute arrow through my heart, like uh-huh, I got it now I got it, the why being because we're in the middle of it and it's hard to yeah, it's hard to see that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but zoom forward a couple hundred years and when we look back on this we'll be like, oh wow, that was dramatic. Yeah, so when I have my little you know times with my friends and people, I was just at this retreat and I gave that speech to a little group of people and they were just like dang. I never really thought about it that way. That's kind of my response. So None of us have, but it's helpful. It's helpful and I'd like to learn to be more helpful. You know, there's an old meditation and it's just how can I help? And you're like that's a good meditation. You know what?

Speaker 1:

do you mean it's a meditation?

Speaker 2:

It's just when you just are being quiet and shut your eyes and meditate. That is your mantra. How can I help? That is it, and every one of us has a way we can help. And for me, because I do have a big mouth and I do feel very I don't know. I feel compelled to help and it's like I feel like that's a message I would like to spread in the simplest way, because we all have short attention span.

Speaker 1:

That's true, right? It's such a beautiful message. Yeah, thank you so much for being on the show, yeah, of course, and sprinkling your little love bits for all of us.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, it's important, it's important, you know. So Very cool, thank you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

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Adapting to Rapid Change and Balancing
The Power of Love and Respect