Monday, December 29, 2008

Buy Local, Installment II

We are thrilled to be in business in Downtown New Bern after 19 years.

So many of our customers have become our friends.

And so have the artists.

I know 90% of the people that make the things we sell. Many, I've been to their studios and watched them work. I know their kids and their spouses. They've become friends too.

We share information. I was at a show a couple weeks ago and one of our artists was telling me about some new work she was doing, she was firing at a lower temperature than she was used to and was having problems with bubbles in the glaze. I've had the same problem and told her how I fixed it. We were having cracking issues and another told us how to prevent them.

It would be impossible for all of our customers to know all these artists but we're all connected. The customer to us, us to the artist. We see things an artist makes, and know which of our customers would like it.

We buy supplies around the corner at Art Materials, they buy from us.

We make tiles and buy the glue we use on the back, we buy screws, lightbulbs, keys, tools, plumbing parts, sandpaper at Mitchell Hardware. Every year I look forward to the evenings I stay open late during December and Mitchell Hardware comes shopping for Christmas, or birthdays or whatever.

We buy lunch at Cow Cafe, Capt Ratty's, Port City Java, Bakers Square, to name a few. And they buy from us.

And on and on.

It's a different life than a lot of people know.

We have customers that we've had since the day we opened on Middle Street. We know their kids and have watched their families grow.

We know parents with kids at camp. They come every year. Then they'll disappear for a few years and the kids come back as counselors, they get married, then their kids come to camp and on its goes. Almost every year I do a special series of gifts that are given to Camp doctors, or Board members. They buy from us, we buy from the guy around the corner, the guy around the corner sends his kids to camp.

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