Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Friday night football

As many of you know, I live in a small town.  No, I wasn't born in a small town like Mellencamp sang.  I live in a small town.  So anyway, come fall, football rules life.  The sun rises and sets by football.  When I first went to a game, it was overwhelming.  People worship this team.  Some older men, and I do mean older, still wear their letter jackets.  People really get into the game, as if these high schoolers are pro players.  The atmosphere is electric, especially if it's a rivalry game.

So this last Friday, I went to the first home game.  I ended up sitting next to a player's mom.  I won't mention who the player was, but the kid played a great game.  He plays a pretty big roll on the team.  Two older gentlemen were sitting behind me.  They were ranting about everything- the refs, the team's level of enthusiasm, how the quarterback threw... you get the picture.  So much so, that you could see, it started bothering the mom about halfway through the game.  I leaned over to her and said, "You ever seen the Muppet Show?" She said, "Yeah."  I said, "Those are the two old guys that used to sit up in the box and complain all the time."

So next time you go to a high school game, or for that point any game with amateurs playing, remember that's someone's child your yelling about or at.  Watch what you say while your screaming fanatically at the field and the kids.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Limestone sinkers and good company...

Today I received a banner for my window in the mail from a company called RockyBrook Sinkers. Let me tell you about this company.  They make a sinker out of limestone!

 I saw a commercial for them on one of the fishing shows.  You know, the kind that they never miss a fish and catch lunkers all day?  Yeah, that's reality for everyone who fishes!  I wish.  Any way I scrambled around for paper and copied down their number.  A couple days later I was talking with Brook of RockyBrook Sinkers.  He is a fisherman and came up with this idea after getting traditional lead weights snagged all the time.  American ingenuity!

Brook is a down to earth guy.  I imagine he's like a lot of my customers.  He loves to fish and works hard so he can do so.  He's always been kind to me and even made sure my first order was sent express so I could have the product for a kids fishing day I was attending!  He threw in some stickers and freebies to hand out to the kids as well.  Brook didn't have to send me a banner.  I didn't ask for it, but he sent it to help me sell his product.  He has also given a shout out to our store on his Facebook Page!

The problem with the sporting goods industry is that small businesses don't seem to exist.  A lot of the larger companies buy out smaller companies if they are any kind of competition, or even worse, they copy their product.  You never talk to the same person when you deal with a distributor.  Many of them are going to computer ordering only.  It's impersonal.  They have no idea about my business, my life, etc...  Everyone is looking for the bigger stores and the large amounts they order.  A little store like mine just doesn't matter.  That's where a business like RockyBrook is so refreshing.  I am thankful for ma and pop businesses like Brook's.  When I can, I will give them my business before I give it to a huge corporation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquakes and other excuses we can use

Today's earthquake in our area and the whoppers (oops, I mean testimonies) surrounding it, got me thinking.  I could just hear the earthquake being used as an excuse if it happened in hunting season!

Imagine this conversation in my store?
Me: Hey, Mr Smith. How did your hunting season go? 
Mr Smith: I had the buck of a lifetime.  He was the biggest I've ever seen.
Me: Really?
Mr Smith: Oh easily.  Thick tines, nontypical, but I missed him!
Me: What happened? Your ammo failed? Something wrong with your scope? Did he pick up your scent? 
Mr Smith: No, no.  We had that darn earthquake and it threw my shot off.
Me (incredulous): Really?

Oh, I can think of all kinds of excuses the earthquake could bring about...
I had a monster fish on and lost it when the earthquake knocked me off my feet.
I was going to catch the winning touchdown, but the earthquake tripped me.
The earthquake struck me out in baseball.

It goes on and on.  Any you can think of?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sometimes your wrong. Sometimes your right.

I had a customer come in yesterday to pick up 2 lures he had ordered.  When I showed him the products, Rapala Original Floating Minnows in the Hot Steel color
(I know your saying, "Really?  Did we need that info?")  He swore I ordered the wrong product for him.  I knew that this guy has undergone a lot of surgery and some radiation and just chalked it up to illness.  The thing is, I knew that I had ordered the right product.  Believe me, I have ordered the wrong thing before.  Not a good feeling because you do not want to send it back to be restocked.  Fees, shipping, etc.  I usually just keep it in the store to sell later.  Anyway, I showed him where I wrote the request down.  I tried to remind him that he had already purchased the product he thought he wanted, but ultimately I left it with, "I'm so sure I ordered the right one, I bet you a free lure that I did.  Go home and check.  If I'm wrong, I'll give you a free lure."  We both laughed and he left amicably.  He called today.  He had went home and the very lure was on his fishing rod!  His friend even told him he had ordered it.  He apologized to me for giving me a hard time yesterday.  Which takes me back to the first post I made.  Yeah, I do have occasional customers who give me a hard time, but in general, my customers are like this guy.  I'm very thankful for each and every one of them!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hunter Safety Classes: Elmer Fudd needed them

Last fall, my son and I took a Hunter Safety Course.  I mainly took it because he needed to take one, but I also wanted to see what they taught.  It was several nights long, a couple hours a night.  Really not a big chunk of time.  Shoot (haha, get it, shoot and a hunting class?), I spent more time at football practice with him.  So I dove in.

I had told several people about the class.  It ended up being a blast.  My sister, my son's friend, a customer of mine and his wife- by the way, I think that could be sung to the tune of Gilligan's Island!  Those were just the people at my table.  My neighbors were there, as well as, some other friends!  So I can say, I was quiet comfortable.  The teacher was knowledgeable and accessible.  He patiently answered questions.  We watched videos and at the end of the week I had my Hunter Safety Certificate.  Simple.

I did learn some things in the class:
#1- People are not as knowledgeable about hunting as they think they are.  They had a video titled "Shoot or Don't Shoot".  In the video, they went over various scenarios to shoot at game or not.  One scenario was a guy deer hunting sitting by a tree and looking into some brush.  He saw what looked like a deer in the brush, but it was hard to identify.  It came closer, he still couldn't identify.  The instructor stopped the class and said "Shoot or Don't Shoot?"  I would say at least half of the people said, "Shoot!"  That's a little scary considering there were about 50 people in the class, maybe more.  He turned the video back on and it showed a hunter coming out of the brush carrying a deer on his back.  Ok, obviously this was lame.  What kind of fool... Almost got into a rant there.  Anyways, even though it was seemed ridiculous, it happens every year.  This one happened last year in Virginia- 
It's pretty simple, if you can't see it clearly, don't shoot!

#2 Blaze Orange Saves Lives- He told the story of how the Blaze Orange Law came into effect.  A tragic hunting story years ago, but it still continues even though it's the law to wear orange.  In 2009, a college student was killed while walking in the woods during hunting season  This is a sad story for both sides.  Apparently the students didn't have on blaze orange and the hunter, did what we talked about in the first point. Now, a family has lost a daughter and a hunter has year in jail and a lot of guilt on his heart.  So, whether you hunt or not, please wear Blaze Orange out in the woods during hunting season, especially you hikers.  You can buy a vest at our store for under $3.  Isn't your life worth that?

#3 We are the best examples to our kids of how to enjoy the outdoors.  The kids in that class were there with their parents or adults who took the time to take them.  If you know a kid who likes the outdoors and the parents aren't interested in taking them to the class, ask if you can take that child.  Single moms, don't be intimidated.  It's not that hard, unless you're a little squeamish about cleaning game.  We'll talk about that another time!

I hope you take the class if you get a chance.  One day, I would like to teach it.  I just have to get the time to take the training course!  Here is a link to the classes:
If you put in your zip code, you can get the classes closest to you.  If you plan on hunting, please take the time to take this course.  When you're ready for your license, come by the store and I'll sell you one!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Uh oh, religion.

If you've ever come to our store you've seen this painting done by my friend, Kathy.  She is an awesome artist and has blessed me with this painting and our logo.  She has more talent in her pinky finger than I have in my entire body!

You might be wondering, why do we have this in the store anyway?  Well, it's simple.  For me, God comes first.  I would not be here on the earth without Him.  This store is a blessing from Him.  I want people to know that, but I also want them to know that while they are out enjoying all of creation, that even the earth and all that's in it knows "the Lord has done this".  Some people may call that religion.  Religion to me is a big formal church like Prince William and Kate married in.  I don't think anyone thinks of me like that, at least I hope not!

Here's a picture I took a couple of years ago in the fall while I was trout fishing in West Virginia:

When I am out fishing in a beautiful place like this, I can't help but think "God, you're awesome".  So I'll warn you, if you come in my store, you may hear about God.  I may pray for you or keep you in my prayers if you tell me about something you're going through.  I promise though, I will never be, dare I say... RELIGIOUS!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why in the world did I pick THAT name!

I own a small sporting goods store in what most would call rural small town America.  Every day I give advice in a male dominated world.  Often times I'm ignored.  You know, I'm just the little lady that runs the store...  I've actually heard, "She doesn't know what she's talking about.  She's a woman."  I've had people buy the wrong product, against my advice, because they assumed they knew more than I did about the product.  Hint: you may want to know the right ammo for your own rifle before you argue with me, just sayin'!

Over time, though, my customers have come to know me.  They know I fish and I don't hunt- unless cow hunting is opening up.  They know I try to be informed about the products I sell and if I'm not, I'll tell them.  Mostly of all, I hope they've come to know me as a person who is not just interested in their business, but in them.

With this blog, I hope to give you a little glimpse into my world.  Those of you who know me, know it will be intertwined with humor and sarcasm.  I also want to introduce you to different products that I have come across and hopefully help you be better informed when you buy.  Either way, I'm looking forward to the journey.