This past week I was winging it single parent style while my better half was away at a conference for the coop that is starting in Hamilton. We first heard about the Mustard Seed while attending Harvest Fest back last September. It was our final hurrah to the summer and what a fabulous summer of fun we had – as soon as we walked up to the both hubby and I looked at one another and knew that this was the perfect volunteer opportunity to get us connected back into our hometown. Moving back to Hamilton from Windsor was a big step for us – our family is all here so that made the decision easy – but in terms of friends – people who think the way we do – there was no one on the horizon. All our homeschooling friends – the kids my daughter had known since 18 months were all being left behind. So seeing that booth for the Mustard Seed seemed to be an easy connection – people who were making a difference in terms of food security and local business – and the retail experience we had just left behind in Windsor seemed like it was tailor made to help with this new venture.
We felt really blessed and excited when Richard was asked to join the board. Again it just seemed like synergy. The opportunity to make a difference – be a part of something so exciting – and using his skill set of getting something started – this is his forte for sure. So fast forward to this conference that he was asked to go to – when I picked him up on Thursday and we were driving back from the conference and catching each other up on what had occurred. Seeing as we ran a retail business I am always interested in the business aspect of things and we have great talks about various aspects of to work things. This was one of my favorite parts of running the store – brainstorming together on everything from marketing, to display to product. One of the major things that stuck us and stumped us always was the lack of support we received from folks who we thought were our closest friends. Now to be clear – our friends were all people who believed in clean living – organic – sustainable – safe for our kids and our planet kind of folks. And time after time, we found them heading out to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and even often Zehr’s Natural Value section buying the same things we had in the store but not coming back to the store. As a small business, this drove us crazy. We could never figure this out – why could we not get our friends in our store? Why did they not see the importance of supporting our store? In fact, I also ran a kids yoga class and had two of my closest friend sign up for classes with another teacher in the city who didn’t have the training I did.
So, as we were driving home decompressing and sharing it came up that in one of the sessions at the conference this was a big topic of conversation. Time and time again – no matter what the business was – friends and family somehow just didn’t support the stores as the owners thought they would. Always people who they thought would be their customers just weren’t. I found this so very interesting because I think we so often wonder what’s wrong with us – why aren’t they supporting me – what can I do – or what did I do that they aren’t shopping here. Now knowing this, I can understand my current business from a very different perspective. And I can let go of all the disappointing thoughts and negative energy that so often comes up when we aren’t supported in the way we expected or hoped to be.