Friday, July 20, 2007

Country Store, Take Me Home

I am a complete sucker for the catalogues that come regularly from the Vermont Country Store, and have, in fact, blogged about my affection for them while back. I don't order tons of stuff from them, but I do have more than a few "practical and hard to find" things from the store. (But shoot me if I ever order a muu-muu, please.)

My brother Tom just sent me a catalogue from an outfit in his neck of the woods, and I can see that I could get sucked right in to lusting after goods from Jack's Country Store in Ocean Park, Washington.  Some of what they carry - like New England's own Sky Bars - overlaps with Vermont Country Store. But there's a lot of good stuff in there.

For starters, I could go for a dozen cotton handkerchiefs just like the ones my mother used to keep in her pocketbook - the nice, flowery ones. (Not that I'd actually want to use and launder them, mind you. I'd just like to have them.) I'd also like a Kewpie Doll like the one my Uncle Bob won for me at Riverview Park in Chicago. (Riverview closed in 1967, so this was quite a while ago.)  And although I do not have a yard, I would dearly love a John Deere Traveling Sprinkler (which is a sprinkler that roams around your yard and looks just like a little John Deere tractor).

But what really got to me is their business philosophy that - through several different owners, and two fires - has held steady since 1899. That's when Mr. Morehead, the original proprietor, wrote:

The firm of Morehead & Co. was established in 1895 and by a close study of the needs of the locality in which we have been located since then, and catering to these wants, we built up our present business. It has been our constant aim to deal in only the best goods and to sell them at such prices as - coupled with square dealing - would not only hold our old customers, but gain us new ones.

Think about all the mission and vision statements you've agonized over.

Now look at this one: "close study of the needs of the[ing] only in the best goods...[sold] at such prices  as - coupled with square dealing - would not only hold our customers, but gain us new ones."

Customer centric. High quality. Fair prices. "Square dealing."

I'd say we could all learn something from Jack's Country Store.

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