Sunday, May 29, 2011

HiHo Redux

I know I've posted about HiHo Home Market before but I am a little obsessed with that place! I took a ride up there again today. Look at the pretty window boxes! So cute. The shop owner has such a wonderful eye for display. SUCH a wonderful eye, as a matter of fact that - I finally realized - I love her store more than I like her product. Every little corner is evidence of a special kind of devotion, each diverse item so lovingly placed. I think if she ran a butcher shop I would want to hang out there! I visit often, not necessarily to shop but to enjoy the atmosphere. I do try to buy something each time I visit, to support her efforts and small business owners in general. Don't get me wrong, her mix of merchandise - foods, spa products, new and old jewelry, vintage and reproduction furniture, books and stationery - certainly makes it easy enough to find a little sump-in' to love. Yet I likely wouldn't be compelled to buy the same item if I saw it in a department store. Wait a minute - did I just have an Arsenio moment? Did I just find something to make me go "Hmmm?" Do you think maybe THAT'S one of the keys to success in the oh-so-hard-to-compete-in world of retail? Perhaps being true to one's heart is as important as having a national presence. Maybe offering merchandise that one believes in is as important as carrying every hot new thing. Is it possible that an owner, like Heidi, is as important - or more important - than an army of buyers, crunching numbers and not caring about the product?

I imagine her each morning cheerfully greeting the postman, accepting this day's new treasure. Carefully peeling tape off the carton, like a child pulling the ribbon from a birthday gift, she gingerly pokes her hand inside, searching for the little gem through the packing. Excitement builds as it emerges. She lovingly unwraps the surprise, turning it over and over, as it coyly reveals itself, a little at a time. She holds it, gazes at it, wonders just where it wants to live. She has an idea - maybe in the front corner, with it's sunny yellow siblings. Or rather, nestled amongst its aged brethren in the cozy back nook. So many possibilities but, in the end, only one right answer.

I guess I should reveal right here and now that I am so inspired, I am seriously considering that this is the right time to open my own shop. Cause or effect? Probably a little of both. I've had the thought many, many - many - times over the years. Originally I wanted to have a gallery-shop offering handcrafted, artisan goods. While I would love that I know the immense investment and risk of that kind of venture was, for me, self-defeating. I have another idea now and am in the process of coming up with the ole elevator pitch. In fact I am using the blog format to develop images, ideas, plans etc. I will post about it when I get closer (shhhh...please don't tell the unemployment police!).
 Everybody have a great Memorial Day - but please take a few moments to honor, in some way, the brave men and women who have given so much for all of us!

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