Yesterday I had an experience that was a perfect example of why ownership matters and why the very happiest shopping experiences come in locally owned and operated businesses. It was a simple, yet elegant and totally satisfying experience at Square Deal Lumber Company.
Wednesday night was the first evening of the week that I had time to mow my yard. Of course, it was also too hot for humans to actually be outside, so I waited until nearly dark to do my work. As is usually the case when I try to squeeze an outdoor task into a very limited time slot, something went wrong. This time it was my trusty Echo trimmer that refused to run long enough to tame the weeds around my yard.
Thursday morning I threw the trimmer into the back of my car to drop it off at Square Deal Lumber where I had purchased it many years before. Since we are in the heart of the mowing season, I fully expected them to take the unit in and tell me it should be ready in a week or so, but that is not what happened in this wonderful little establishment owned and staffed by folks who live right here among us. When I walked in the door with by dress shirt and tie on while clutching a very used trimmer, I was immediately acknowledged and within minutes a very nice fellow was asking about my problem with the trimmer. As I described the symptoms he took it out of my hands and walked toward his work bench. "Have you got a minute?" he said, "because if I don't fix it now it is going to be sometime tomorrow before I can get to it." "Why of course I have a minute," said I (even though the prospect of getting it back the next day was way more than I had hoped for).
In five minutes he disassembled, diagnosed, repaired, and returned the trimmer to my hands repaired. He also refused to allow me to pay for the repair! This, friends and neighbors, is not something that would occur at any big box retailer or foreign owned establishment. This is the kind of treatment that can occur in small towns where the locals support these businesses by trading with them even though the initial price might be a little higher than the big box retailer. This is the very heart of localism and the concept of a sustainable local economy where we vote for our happiness with the dollars we spend every day.
Cheers to you Square Deal Lumber Company! Now my neighbors will not have to look at my unkempt yard any longer.