Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What you look at....

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."
Henry David Thoreau

     The top photo was taken near the entrance to our neighborhood a few days ago.  The bottom one was taken looking out of my front door ---  also a few days ago.  As you can see I do not live in a metropolis!   I love our quiet neighborhood and our relatively small town.   When I walk "around our loop" there is always something beautiful  or interesting to discover.  Soon it will be the first buttercups to bloom!!!  Sometimes it is our neighborhood deer --- it is really their neighborhood --- they are just kind enough to share it with us.  In September it will be the exciting first leaves of fall!!!  My favorite!

     When I go to market in Atlanta this is what I see:


      At least these are the buildings I see.   But they are filled with ideas, colors, textures, artists, designers, and of course, salespeople!   There are also workers in restaurants, hotels, and policemen and taxi drivers --- the thousands of people who keep a city running.    And then there are the mart employees whose sole  job is to open the doors for us, help us with our packages and greet us as we enter and bid us goodnight when we leave.   These are my favorite people.  To me for a few days twice a year these greeters are the face of Atlanta.  Really, you could say  their soul job is to greet us because that is what it feels like to me.

     I described to you in my last entry that this trip to market was a particularly challenging one but it was also fruitful and energizing.   However, so many ideas and wishes for the store start whirling around in my head that it is easy to lose focus and become rather unsettled.  But, then I can go across an eighteen story cross-walk and look out the window and just  take a moment.  Just take a moment to reflect, be thankful, and look around with eyes that are eager to see. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kindness of Strangers

    Market is always difficult.  It is comprised of really long days, difficult decisions, and  aching feet.  On the other hand I always come home with new ideas and great merchandise scheduled to ship throughout the year.  This year's trip to market in Atlanta did not disappoint.  I am especially excited about the merchandise I bought and some store events and displays which are brewing in my brain!  I encourage you to visit the store at different times through the year to see some changes which will improve and update our space.  When you visit please remember that interesting displays and new products always have a starting point.  Most items in the store have been handpicked with our clientele in mind.  As often as possible I speak directly with the artists or at least meet the designers.  I love offering our customers products which have a story behind them.

     This year's trip to market was, unfortunately, also fraught with more than the usual number of bumps and bruises.  My Dad was hospitalized almost as soon as I left town and my room reservations were messed up causing me a great deal of stress.  It did not help that I had yet another sinus infection either!  Without going into the painful details let me just say that some kindhearted strangers offered me solutions and friendship in Atlanta when I desperately needed it .   A motel clerk, the diligent workers in the housing department of market and a jewelry designer from Manhattan all smoothed my way and reminded me that most people are sympathetic and caring --- even with strangers.    I needed that.

     So, come by Vineyard's and see our fabulous products and redecorating and share your stories with us and we will share ours with you.   It will not matter if you are a stranger or an old friend we will be glad to see you!  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Behind the Scenes

     We had our Open House both at the store and at  the complex where we are located last weekend.  For a small business owner this is both an honor (a way to say thank you to the customers who keep our doors open) and a lot of work!   There are the behind the scenes preparations which you would expect such as public relations meetings, emails with advertisers, etc.  But then there the moments you might not think of.  For starters there was last Tuesday evening spent at the grocery store buying large quantities of items.  Then on Wednesday I baked seven dozen cookies.  On Thursday I hauled as much as I could ahead of time and left it at the store for the weekend.  On Friday I had been asked to speak for our shopping center at an early morning news show which means being there ready to go at six a.m.    THAT MEANS SIX O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING!
     Of course I did not read the preparatory emails for the interview until nine thirty Thursday night.  How hard could this be?  I had thought about what to say and was pretty sure I could handle it.  I made a practice drive over there to make sure I would not get lost in the dark.  I knew what I was going to wear and even made sure it was ironed.  The curve came when our PR person suggested in the email that I print out the press release along with some other information to take to the television station with me.  Oh gosh!  My printer hadn't been feeling very well and I had to crawl around on the floor near it to try to coax it along but my efforts were futile.  Both dogs even gathered in to see what all the fuss was about but we could not get the darn thing to print anything useful.  It did eventually come up with something I needed weeks ago but that was all.  So, I did the only thing possible.  I called my neighbor and asked her to stay up a while longer and let me borrow her printing services.  It is a long story but after an hour and several phone calls to a college student we had the documents ready.  
     All went well on Friday's interview ( except they did not need the papers I had heroically printed the night before).   I left the show promptly by six thirty and went to Wal Mart to finish up shopping, then home to make and wrap the sandwiches and prepare trays of cookies.  I got everything finished up and the car loaded and then realized that I did not know where Nana (our St. Bernard) was.  Oh good grief.  I looked all over the yard and called and called.  Well, it was kind of a sultry day and our back porch concrete was sweaty.   In my haste to locate Nana I kind of skidded across the porch and ended up down flat !  Which of course, mad me tee tee in my pants just a little bit, and also, it kind of hurt!  I was lying there on the yucky  floor when I heard barking and looked up to see Nana standing inside the house and laughing at me through the window.....  
     I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and still had to go to the bank and then to work and I had slept only about four hours.   Then, just at this low point someone texted me to say that she had seen the interview and that I had done a good job.  Her kind words lifted my spirits and made me feel like my efforts were not for naught.  I share this for two reasons:  first, there is a lot of behind the scenes work involved in owning your own business.  Your day off is seldom entirely your day off.   There is always something to which you must attend.  And second, never, ever, underestimate the power of an encouraging word.  You just never know.  Your words could be the game changer for a sleep deprived stressed out  woman with a car full of food and pants that are just a little bit wet...... 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ho! Ho! Ho!

          Our stockings are hung and our shelves are stocked with goodies galore!
          Now all we need is you in the store!
          Please join us on December fifth and sixth
          to relish in a holiday retail fix!

                                                           Vineyard's Jolly Hollydays
                                                                 December 5 and 6
                                                                     9:30 - 5:00

                                              IT WILL NOT BE A PARTY WITHOUT YOU!!!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Critters in the Store!

     When my Mom died last year I inherited her love for all sorts of critters.  Apparently, this trait became dominant at market because look at all these adorable animals that have crept, crawled and burrowed their way into Vineyard's this fall!!!


                                         I LOVE EVERY ONE OF THEM!!!!!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Team Names

     So I heard on the news this morning that there is going to be a large group of people protesting the Washington Redskins game this weekend.  You know, because of their controversial name.  Oh boy, I need to get on a soapbox just for a minute.  What if all of the bluejays in Toronto suddenly swarmed the stadium like something in Hitchcock movie?   Or how about those Chicago Bears?  That could get ugly!   Just be glad all of the Cowboys in Dallas aren't on a rampage!   Seriously,  what are we supposed to name our teams?      Come on people, the world has enough real problems to keep us busy.  Let's move on.

     I also heard on the news that Amazon is gearing up for Christmas a little early this year.  That is fine.  But please, let me encourage you to visit your locally owned businesses during this holiday season.  Save some time for us.  We have great merchandise, personalized service and we are part of your community.  I hope to see you soon!!!