Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Doing Business the Old Fashioned Way

 Despite our declared "self-sufficiency" there are still businesses we depend upon to make that happen.  One of these is in the nearby town of Union, where we --rather regularly--visit Mountaineer Farm Center.  Here we purchase pig food, calf and cow feed, sunflower seeds to feed the birds, dog food, garden supplies of one kind or other words, all manner of farm needs.  Today, we decided that with next winter storm approaching, (and rememering last year's shortfalls of needed feed when snow trapped us here), we would make a trip to Mountaineer to make sure the animal's larders would be full and ready to meet any onslaught that Nature might throw at us.

As we were checking out, the owner came out of his office and presented us with two calendars and a beautifully wrapped package, paired with a verbal "Thank you for your business!" and "Merry Christmas!"    
 I knew what was probably going to be in the wrapped package. Last year, it was a lovely box of Russell Stover Assorted Chocolates.  Sure enough, this year, it was a Whitman Sampler.  I love chocolates but rarely have them, so it's an enormous treat!  I had seen other customers carrying out the same array of gifts and knew that it was the proprietor's way of sharing and expressing his own gratitude for the business we've given him.  I suppose we could go to the larger agricultural chain store for our needs, but going to Mountaineer is like a page out of history.  It's always crowded, you see old friends from time to time, the store is stuffed to the gills with all kinds of nifty items, and everyone is so friendly and full of good humor and good cheer.  I feel like we always get our money's worth on humor and good feelings alone. It never fails.  We leave feeling glad for having come. Jim makes it that way.  His prices are modest, too, so we come away feeling it was a good bargain regardless of what we bought.   It's so unusual nowadays, though, for a business to give a gift to their customers for the business of the foregoing year.  During the fall, Jim hosted a barbecue for his customers, with all manner of beef, lamb, buffalo, all kinds of How many businesses have you visited many many times, but have never had the proprietor even say thank you for your patronage...let alone with a Whitman Sampler?  Not many, I'd venture to guess.  Perhaps out here JOTOLR, we're recipients of the kindness and thoughtfulness of folks who are still doing business the old-fashioned way.  And it's nice.


  1. We have a few local businesses like that -- a pleasure to deal with. And they give us calendars but, alas, no Whitman's Samplers.

    I don't think I've had a Sampler in fifty years -- they were a staple around my grandparents' house. I may have to treat myself...

  2. It is nice to know that some of these habits remain. Every year we get a little gift basket from our dentist! He orders them from a local store and we just love the idea.

  3. Elora -- A very good post. Owners would do well to follow your Mountaineer store. I am impressed that he actually gives out the gifts rather than having an employee do the thanking for him. My daughter has a small service business in Utah and every year she gives them a small gift of appreciation. I do believe that is one of the reason why she has kept her clients and even made nice friendships over the past ten years. I knew of one restaurant in an urban area that invited older people to free meals during the holiday. They said it was giving back to a community that supporting them through the year. -- barbara

  4. Nothing more than a calendar here though at this time of year some shops and garages have a dish of chocolates to treat their customers.I usually find I've eaten so many chocolates at work that I can resist the temptation.

  5. Hi Elora and MM:

    Thanks for your post about Mountaineer Feed. I did not realize that they were so customer centered. I have done business there a few times over the years, but usually end up going to Southern States in Ronceverte. I certainly don't get that kind of treatment there. If I checked the mileage, it would probably be a little farther for me to go to Union, but the types of things you described in your post carry alot of weight and would make up for the extra mileage and gas. I guess the biggest reason I patronize the Ronceverte feed store is that we always plan our routes and stops to maximize what we do during the trip, and it always seems to be along the way. I really need to explore Union more and maybe I can do more business there. Thanks for the reminder and the info on the business practices of Mountaineer. It is good to hear that they value their customers.