Friday, November 23, 2012

Shop Small Business Saturday

Many of you are aware of the "shop local" movement, but some of you may not be aware that tomorrow is "Shop Small Business Saturday"!  People all over America are joining together to support their local small businesses.  As I was thinking about tomorrow, I just wanted to give a shout out to a few of the wonderful small businesses in Potlatch.  Gallery 255, is a fantastic little shop, full of amazing art and wonderful jewelry.  Hatter Creek Treasures And More is full of antiques, gifts, collectables, and just plain fun stuff!  Even if antiques aren't really your thing , you might just find the perfect book or movie to help pass the long winter evenings.  There is of course Northwest Pharmacy, where they work so hard to keep prescription prices low, and also have lots of great gift items.  Crazy For Quilting, the new shop in town has fabric, patterns, and other fun items sure to delight sewers of all ages!  Fiddlers ridge always provides fantastic healthy plants, and great gardening advice and Junction Lumber works very hard to keep prices low, and serve the community in any way they can.  Of course I know I am overlooking many great places in town, but my point is, there are so many local places that need your support, and Shop Small Business Saturday is a great day to get out and show them you appreciate them being in our town!
When thinking about supporting local businesses, it is important to remember that a little goes a long way.  What I mean by this is the "all or nothing" type of thinking is very prevalent in small towns, and it is something that as a business owner, I would like to actively challenge.  It is easy to feel that in order to support your local businesses, you need to do all your shopping there.  For example, buy all your Christmas gifts, all your plants, all your lumber, etc., but sometimes your budget may prevent that. So the easy thing to do, is just take your business into a larger city and do all your shopping there, justifying it by "Our tight budget just won't let us shop locally."  I am not naive, I understand many times smaller businesses have higher prices that larger box stores.  But the truth is, if everyone in the community and surrounding area spent a relatively small amount in local shops each month, in many cases it would be more than enough to keep the local shops in business.  For example, in the area from Viola to Tensed, Potlatch to Palouse, and Princeton to Harvard, there are easily 3,000 people, including all the rural areas in between.  If each of those people, spent $5 a month, at any local shop, thats $15,000 a month, which is more than enough to keep most small businesses going and growing.  I know that the picture I have painted is a bit simplistic, but the principle is very true, and often forgotten.  What small businesses need is not necessarily big spenders, it is MORE spenders.  And if everyone pitches in and supports the little guy, they will thrive, and that helps our communities thrive.  For you it may look like picking up a bouquet of flowers for your Grandma, or buying coffee locally instead of at Starbucks.  Maybe it's something as small as buying band-aids at the pharmacy, or a card from Gallery 255, but those small things are what keep us going.  It does not have to break the bank, or ruin your budget to shop local.  So promote your local businesses!  Tell your friends about your favorite local spots, post local sales or events on Facebook and twitter.  Be proactive.  We appreciate it so much!  We couldn't survive without your help!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Winter Blues

As we all start settling in to the fact that summer has indeed left us, and winter is breathing down our necks, lets take some preventative action to keep the winter blues at bay.
If you are anything like me, the thought of another long winter of dreary days, and dark mornings is enough to make me wish I could just go into hibernation and not wake up till the flowers start blooming in the spring!  So what to do?  The holidays keep most of us busy until after Christmas, but once January comes, it's all downhill from there.  So this year I decided to start planning ahead.  To start lining up projects, ideas, and things to look forward to long before the lights on the trees are being taken down and the reality of the long winter ahead truly sets in.  First, I have a brand new planner book for 2013.  It has special events I am planning for the store next year, along with projects I have been wanting to do this year, but just never had the time.  For example, there is a skirt I have been dying to make, with adorable stripes and ruffles, but with all the hubub this year it just didn't get done.  So instead of waiting till I "have time" I'm writing it into my calender.  We have a date... this ruffled skirt and I.  I know it seems simple, but the truth is that by the time Christmas has come and gone, and I actually have time to think about what to do, I will be lethargic, mildly depressed, and loathing winter.  And lets face it, it's hard to get motivated or inspired when you feel that way.  I'm much more likely to just snuggle under my blanket and watch another episode of "shark tank" then actually think up a project and do it.  So that's why I have to start NOW!  It's easy to get inspired now!  I can flip through magazines, thumb through quilting books, pick out fabrics, and plan out my winter happy time.  I can start looking forward each week to the projects that are awaiting me, all lined out so my "winter brain" does not have to be inspired, it simply had to put it all together!  So here is my challenge for all my friends that struggle with the winter blues.  PLAN IT NOW!  Find yourself some fun projects to do, get the supplies you need, and put a date on your calender to complete something you've "always wanted to do".  If you have trouble finding something that excites you, go to the book store and thumb through books, or go spend a few hours at the library!  Or better yet, come into Harebrained And Happy and thumb through our books and find something that lights your creative fire!
Start now!  Don't let this winter drag you down!  Go get your creative on!