I’m a curious sort. I love to meet people and learn a little about their store, market, whatever. I have used a variety of ways to meet fellow retailers from chatting at market to Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram. One of my fave retail “compadres” is the crew from Creative Touch & Candy Corner in Hutto, Texas. Yes, the home of the Hutto Hippos (that story I’ll save for another blog entry).
It’s great seeing other stores, sharing product info, display ideas and enjoying the camaraderie of others in the same retail boat – filled with all those ups and downs!
So, if your ever in Hutto, Texas stop in and meet my friends Matt, Kim & mom, Janet. Oh, and get some taffy – they’ve got an incredible assortment!
Monthly Archives: February 2015
I always hear how people in Texas are, shall we say, overbearing in their enthusiasm of their state. I was raised in Texas and never thought about it until I lived in other parts of this fabulous country. I think when you live someplace that could STILL secede from the union, it leaves you with a bit of bravado knowing you are in control of your destiny. Also, when you can go from 80 down to 15 degrees in a day, you learn you are versatile and can handle just about anything. And then you must consider the sheer size of the place and anywhere we go, we meet a fellow Texan! That’s called safety in numbers!
Oh, and we are just so darn cool!!
We are lucky to live in a very proud state, especially when there is a program like GO TEXAN that makes it easy for independent retailers like myself find other Made In Texas products.
We have always carried only Texas foods – I mean why not – Texas has some of the best food in the country! We have found some fabulous items – such as the dips from Fredericksburg Farms (longhorn dip will make guy do anything!), the jalapeño peanut brittle and jalapeño gold for cream cheese is addictive (I’ve been stopped in parking lots asking if I have either in stock), and since I discovered Avocado Oil from Wimberley Valley Gourmet I hardly use Olive Oil anymore!
So, if you ever want some good Texas food products, just let me know! I can set you up!
When I opened Silver Barn 7 years ago I certainly wasn’t focused on opening another store. Heck, I just wanted to survive a gas crunch, a banking and housing crisis, 2 major elections, and a major drought!
Fast forward to 2014 and an opportunity comes along that is, well, now or never! Viola! Silver Barn gets a sibling – Silver Barn & Co. Why the “& Co.?” Because we have invited a few of our favorite people to bring their excellent taste and products to be the best we can be.
The challenges? Oh yeah baby! How do you remain consistent when one store sells one thing well and the other sells something different? Decorating two stores for Christmas is like the Groundhog Day movie – it is a new day of decorating every morning — over and over!
But where am I lucky? Two of the most beautiful locations in Columbus and La Grange, Texas house our stores; and the staffs at both stores keep me going and keep me sane! Thank you guys!! And, NO, I will not share their names!
We all have THOSE days. You know the ones where you should’ve stayed in bed with the covers over your head. For those of us in retail it can sometimes be a lost package that seems to be touring the U.S. when all it had to do was go 40 miles, a dock strike in LA meaning your Easter bunnies are being held hostage by sweaty men with placards, or a snow dump on the east coast keeping your new barware – on ice! OR, you can have one of those days where that ALL happens and you can’t do anything but wait for the next call with more good news.
Didn’t have to wait long. Semi-trailer driver thinks our address is, well, not our address. That’s a fun argument!
Whew! Ready for bed and it’s only 6:30!
When you’re in the mood, you’re in the mood. When you’re ready to paint and you don’t have the color you want – you invent. The invention of a new color is something I’ve never done. I feel so accomplished! Lol!!
So, now we took one super bright red and made a muted “blood plum”! Now I’m changing everything about this piece since I live the deep color. It’s sort of a Mardi Gras muted plum. It’s fun. It’s my first. Will I be as excited with my next? Hmm…
Whenever I come back from market, many of our customers ask, “What did you find?” Quite often I say the best things I found were “in the temps”. So, I thought I’d tell you about one discovery I made this year “IN THE TEMPS” which is the temporary showrooms. These guys don’t have fancy showrooms with numerous reps helping and food and wine all around. These guys are in a 10×10 booth crammed with merchandise and staff and hopefully customers. (I always feel bad when I walk by an empty booth, they look so lonely.)
This time “in the temps” I found a great new company called Knollwood Lane where there were all sorts of new and different items. From pillows to wall decor to a lazy susan out of an old tree to burb cloths featuring cute sayings. Basically, my kind of place. One stop shopping for all the areas of my two stores – Columbus and La Grange. And, their booth was packed! I love all of my traditional, showroom vendors and reps. They know me, know the store, know what we carry so they don’t try to sell me crystal and chrome chandeliers in a Tuscan-Lodge rustic environment. That is where the Temps can be a problem. And, through the years I’ve seen some Temp vendors we’ve found move up to showrooms and find great success. Nora Fleming and Mary Lake Thompson come to mind, and we’ve enjoyed watching and being a part of their growth.
But, there is something about finding that needle in a haystack that makes it all worth exploring the wonderful world of TEMPS. So, when you explore our stores you will find those hidden gems as well, and we hope you feel the way we do when we find something very special. That is our goal. That is why we are here. That is why shopping independent is so important. We all support independence and creativity in one form or another