As many of you know, when it comes to a small business, there are plenty of times where there are challenges that feel insurmountable. Whether it comes in the form of employee issues or financial ones, there is always something that needs to be overcome in order to maintain sustainability. With this recent threat that has taken over our nation, COVID-19, there is more to worry about than just catching the virus. Yes, the risks are there and yes, there are people dying from this virus every day and that is horrible. But, the main thing that we are losing as a nation and world is happiness.
Every retailer in my industry will tell of days sitting alone in their stores wishing that a customer would come in. Ever retailer will tell you of hard times and of issues that they have had to overcome in order to maintain the livelihood of their business. But, the one thing that people have almost completely forgotten about is happiness. The Corona Virus is supremely contagious, but happiness...wow...happiness is something that is more contagious than anything in the world.
I sat in my store yesterday, thinking of a million different ways to drum-up business during this crazy time. Whether we offer a discount or free-shipping or delivery to our local customer's homes. But, when I thought about it, the one thing that I can't deliver or ship or discount is happiness. As this world continues to change and as the issues with this virus continue to evolve, remember one thing...the happiness. The happiness of walking into a small business and everyone working there knowing your name. The happiness of bringing your children and grandchildren to the small business you love and showing them why you love it. The happiness of knowing that you are making a difference in your community by purchasing something that the business owner handpicked just for you.
To be completely honest, this post is something that I felt I have needed to write even before this virus. I want to say thank you. Thank you to each of you that have supported our business over the years. Thank you to each of you that has genuinely cared enough to bring happiness into our store. Clothes may not make the man, but I can tell you one thing, clothes can definitely change that man. What I mean by this is that when you leave our store, my goal is to have you happy. Not happy that you purchased something, but happy that you feel confident about yourself.
I have friends from my hometown that ask me consistently why I wanted to be in the clothing industry. "Why do you want to sell clothes?" they would ask. The simple answer is that I don't sell clothes, I sell happiness. Happiness that comes in a perfectly fitted shirt, or the perfect tie to compliment your suit. If I only sold clothes, I would be out of business. I sell happiness and I can tell you one thing, happiness is the most precious and special thing in this world.
Standing by your small businesses in a time like this is extremely important. You have your own issues going on and I completely understand that. But, I want you to think of every business owner that has ever done anything special for you and remember, now is the time to do something special for them. One thing I can tell you is that small business owners are somewhat prideful. Not in the sense of that we think a lot of ourselves, because we don't. The fact is that we are prideful in our customers and who we work with. We take pride in our businesses and not in ourselves. We work hours and hours more than we should to insure that your needs are met and we hate to ask, but this is a time when we need you to help our needs get met. Whether you buy a gift card online that you can use later on in the year or you come by to your favorite stores and place an order to go, we need you.
This is what it means to be a community. That is what it means to support your small businesses. This is what comes from horrible times. This is what comes from the ashes of an economy that has slowed. And finally, this is what comes from sadness.....HAPPINESS.
James R. Bower Jr.