Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mob Rule

Back in the 5th century, Greek historian Herodotus said, "There is nothing more foolish, nothing more given to outrage than a useless mob."  Normally, we would agree with that, seeing all the damage done throughout history by mobs.  The word "mob" itself holds all these negative connotations and is used, like in Herodotus' quote, in a disparaging way. 

What if we could take that word and turn its meaning into something different?  Make it something not so sinister and menacing, but happier - joyous, even!  Reaching across centuries of abhorrent use, people are now using it for an altruistic purpose.  The news stories have been buzzing lately about groups of people organizing what they term a "cash mob" in order to bring much needed trade to flagging local businesses.  The story here in the International Business Times gives the basic story, and there's even a blog here about how to organize one.

We were the grateful recipients of a cash mob today.  Organized by some wonderful friends, old and new, here in Altadena, they came in starting a bit after noon.  When the day was over, we had Sunday totals that hadn't been seen since the holidays!  We are touched deeply by being "mobbed" and we'd like to make sure that everyone who participated, and all of those people who weren't part of it but got in the spirit with everyone, know how very thankful we are.  Not just for the sales, although that's a wonderful thing, but for the good will and the thought behind the "mobbing"!  I can't say it enough - thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!

Have a great week, friends!  It's Girl Scout Cookie time - we've made a donation to our local Girl Scout troop (crew member Megan's little sister Kiera, who looked adorable in her Daisy Scout smock!) and are serving your favorites along with our fresh coffee and tea (or lemonade, depending on the weather), so come on by and see us soon!  There's a shipment of new toys in store, some fabulous new fashion accessories, a new shipment of home office essentials (multi-color pen sets, binder & paper clips in an array of colors, envelopes (still available by the each!) and some very nice report covers and portfolios in stock now.  Hope to see you at WFS!

Lori & Scott


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Retail Sees Presidential Support As The Economy Recovers

Former President Bill Clinton Speaking At The New York Gift Show - photo credit NRF

January is the month for all the retail gift shows and the biggest of those is the Big Show in New York.  Held at the Javits Center, there were 25,500 participants representing 85 countries and over 400 vendors.  That's amazing!  Matthew Shay, with the National Retail Federation, says that the companies showing product would occupy the equivalent of 4 football fields!

The Show's keynote speaker this year was former President Bill Clinton.  This was the very first time a President of the United States, current or former, attended a retail show.  To me, this proves that we are paying attention to the importance of retail and what it means to our economy.  A large portion of our country's population works in retail, whether corporate or independent. 

President Clinton mentioned in his speech that before he took off on a career in politics, he worked at a grocery store.  He said he was "morose" when the Borders bookstore chain succumbed to the pressures of on-line competitors and the down economy.  "I could have been one of you", he told the crowd.

On this President's Day weekend, I'm glad that I can talk about a contemporary President and celebrate the fact that Bill Clinton validated the retail industry as a major job creator.  What enriches this country and makes it run are the myriad small businesses owned by people like us and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Have a great week, friends, we'll talk again next Sunday!

Lori and Scott

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Champagne, Chocolate and L O V E Spells Magic!

This last Friday was our Valentine's Day wine pairing and poetry event, Champagne, Chocolate and LOVE.  We think the discovery aspect of our wine pairings combined with the unexpectedness of live readings of prose and poetry can be unparallelled.  Such was our experience Friday evening!

Naturally, our locally made gourmet chocolate was an exciting hit that went perfectly with our Champagne choices, but it was the poetry that thrilled and touched us all.  Aldonia Bailey, Altadena artist and poet, brought poets Heather Hilliard-Bonds and Brian Miles, and magic ensued.  From audience participation in Brian's poems to Aldonia's heartfelt musings and Heather's song-infused offerings, it was truly an enjoyable night!  Listen to this little video clip I recorded of Heather reading and singing - who knew that Whitney Houston would pass away the very next day.  Thus poetry and song celebrates, albeit unintentionally, the life of one of the greatest songstresses of our time.

Have a great week ahead, my friends - it's Valentine's Day on Tuesday!  Drop by the store and see how we can help you find something for your sweetheart!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Every once in awhile, an article in our local newsblogs generate many responses.  Two such articles in Altadena's have done that this week and I think they're worthy of your time to check out.  Of course, if you're not local, you might think that it's really not something you're interested in.  I say, au contraire, mon ami - all of us need to be concerned about our local independent businesses these days.

The first of these posts was written by friend Karin Bugge.  I love her style and what she has to say.  You'll find this article here.  It's called Unoccupied Lake Street, and the comments are very interesting.

The second article, written by Patch editor Dan Abendschein, is short in length and about a local restaurant closing down.  Again, comments are interesting.  You'll find that article here.

In stark contrast, here's an article from NBC Today Show's Mike Leonard about the value of an old-fashioned business' wonderful customer service.  I think you'll enjoy the accompanying video - my goodness, the entrance from the back alley sure looks a lot like Steve's Bikes!  You'll find a lot of correlation, I believe, with many independent businesses in your area....I'm sure you know of one or two without thinking about it much.  View this video here.

All this to say (briefly, because I know it's Superbowl Sunday) that there is something inherently valuable in local businesses.  They're like a love-letter to your community......go out and experience one today!

Have a wonderful week, my friends, and enjoy!

Lori and Scott