Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Long Run - A Song For Independents

Did you do it for love?
Did you do it for money?
Did you do it for spite?
Did you think you had to, honey?
Who is gonna make it?
We'll find out in the long run
I know we can take it
if our love is a strong one
Well, we're scared, but we ain't shakin'
Kinda bent, but we ain't breakin'
in the long run
Ooh, I want to tell you, it's a long run
---- Glenn Lewis Frey, Don Felder, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley

Sunday, June 23, 2013

There's Culture In Them Thar Hills!

Altadena's reputation as an anomaly within the environs of Los Angeles County is a subject given much talk.  Mostly, that talk emanates from outside it - points west, east, and south of us. Those who live inside Altadena, though, tend to ignore the talk and go about their business, not really caring who thinks what about whom.  Life goes on as it always does in Altadena, that is, until someone or something pops up to rock our boat a little.  When that happens, people notice.  Not just people from the outside, although they certainly have an opinion.  People in our town are taking notice and getting involved in their community once again, and we think that's great!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Celebrating The Grand Paternal

What we're looking at here is a  copy of a page from an Altadena Chamber Of Commerce-sponsored soft backed book called "Altadena Welcomes You", printed around 1935 by the Altadena Press.  This particular page details Webster's Pharmacy, but more importantly, gives a picture of the founder, Harold Frank Webster.  Frank, as his friends called him, had moved up to Altadena from the orange groves that his father owned in South Pasadena.  While attending USC for his doctorate, Frank took a job at a pharmacy on Lake and Mariposa, and bought it from the original owner in 1926.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Sierra Madre Grocery Company and Elise Entertaiing Paper Tableware
Last week, we discussed our take on business philosophy and how it applies to WFS.  This week, I'd like to take a look back, in retrospect, from our first blog post to today.  In effect, our history has been documented since we first put pen to paper (figuratively speaking) in February, 2008.  Here is that first post, in which we give some history and an explanation as to why the walls went up at Webster's. It's still a hot topic with people here, interestingly enough.

We posted fairly regularly from then on, but didn't have any particular schedule in mind when we did. As you probably now know, we have been publishing weekly on Sundays for over two years now.  There have been high points in our blog-life, such as this post here, where we talk about the positive change a connected community can make; and low points, like this post that talks about a dissatisfied customer.  Through it all, however, there is a thread of hope running through all our posts - the hope that one day soon, our community, its residents, and all its businesses will prosper and grow.  Over the past five years, that hope has never dimmed. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Oftentimes, we're asked for advice from various friends, acquaintances, even customers of ours, on starting or growing a business.  Most of the questions we get center around operating a business in a down economy, like "how do you hang in there when it's so tough?".  Others couch the question differently, like asking what motivates us to keep showing up on a daily basis. Multiple paragraphs could be written about this subject, but we ran across a recent blog post from uber-entrepreneur Seth Godin that pretty much sums up our advice to anyone starting out:

What does your brand stand for?

If you tell me about service and quality and customer focus, you haven't answered my question, because a hundred other brands stand for that. If you are what others are, then there's nothing here to own or protect or build upon.

Compared to what? Compared to all those that you compete with for attention, for commerce, for donations and for employees, what do you stand for? Are you one of a kind or even one in a million?
Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton... they don't actually stand for anything, do they? They can't, because they stand for precisely the same thing. Puma vs. Adidas vs. Nike... They all want to stand for winning. How substantial are the differences?

Make a list of the differences and the extremes and start with that. A brand that stands for what all brands stand for stands for nothing much.

---Seth Godin, May 30, 2013

It was never much of a stretch for us to differentiate our store, because we had to.  Due to the circumstances of our purchase into this long-standing family business, we were actually a new store, born from the carcass of the old.  From day one, we vowed to stand for our community's artists, writers, for hand-made, for local, and stand we have.  It's allowed us to help bring our area's artists to the attention of potentially hundreds of people.  It's also allowed us contribute to several of our town's non-profits, schools, and causes - maybe not with thousands of dollars, but as one retail friend told us, "even if it's only $100.00, it's $100.00 more than they had before".  With that philosophy, we joyfully give whatever and whenever we can.

Another great piece to read is Jonathan Morrow's post about fear, entitled The Cowardly Entrepreneur.  When, in the body of his post, he writes "The lesson is that courage isn’t about acting in the absence of fear; it’s about acting despite it", he had our attention.  This, along with Seth's post, really nails it in terms of advice for those just starting out (or those who need a jump start) in their businesses.  To quote Seth, "Go -  make something happen"!

Along those lines, we're hosting a book signing event on Thursday, with author Carol Woodliff.  Carol is a healer/shaman, and this event will be very exciting, with readings and demonstrations.  You'll find the event notice on our Facebook page and we hope we'll see you there!

We'll talk again next week, friends - enjoy!

Lori and Scott