Thursday, December 27, 2007

True Value: People

Last month, I went to the True Value on Higgins and Nottingham. I went there as usual when I go to Higgins. I go there for lint traps, lawn care products, a window screen fixed, drop off the snowblower for repair, or for just a single screw. I never considered going to ACE or the Home Depot. They always had the little stuff I needed.

The same guys and gals have been working there for years. You always could tell they enjoyed what they were doing and they were always helpful. This was the type of place where you would always see regulars; they were the ones leaning on the merchandise, coffee in hand, and shooting the breeze with the employees about family, local politics, and the new Black and Decker leaf blowers. At Schultz True Value, customers didn't just come in to shop, they came back because of the relationships they had with the employees.

Today was different though, today was like the feeling of your girlfirend breaking up by having her friend tell you over the phone. Total surprise, no way to change what just happened, no way to appeal to the person you trusted and came to love. Today, the big purple and orange sign said it all, Total Liquidation.

I came in and most of the shelves were bare, all the employees were smiling, but you could tell there was something going on underneath it all. I asked one of the old guys behind the counter how he felt about the store closing. He said he had been told by a customer first that the store was closing. I said that I was sad to see the store go, that I could get everything I needed for Higgins just a hop, skip, and a jump away. I said I'd miss the store. He replied that he was really grateful for my words. And that was it.

The owners bought the store 3 years ago and decided they'd make more money by off property. Little did they know that by selling the property that relationships and livelihoods would be changed forever. RIP little hardware store, because you knew that making money was not as important as the true value of building relationships and a community of satisfied customers.

Check out these comments from other happy customers:

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