My Mother, The Country Grocer…Success Isn’t Always What You Think
In the apprentice challenge this week, we’re to relate to Kay, our prototype entrepreneur, a success story that might inspire her. I discovered recently that success isn’t always what you think it is, Kay.
My Mother, the Country Grocer
When I consider business success stories, I now think of my mom, who, with no experience, took over the operation of a small country grocery. She’d been a school teacher, then farmer’s wife and mom to four children. When a grocery store, built on a corner of our farm property by my dad and a friend, was in need of a storekeeper due to the friend’s ill health, Mother decided to embark on a new adventure.
“You don’t have any grocery store experience,” Father reminded her. But we couldn’t leave the store vacant. Besides, Mother thought it would be good experience for us children.
She operated the Poughquag Town & Country Grocery Store from 1955 through the early 1980s. She learned by trial and error, perhaps trusted too many people to “pay her later,” spent more time visiting with her customers than stocking shelves and doing bookkeeping, and juggled caring for a family with a store (much like Kay who has a business and family).
She taught her daughters, “Be pleasant to customers. Help them find what they need. Don’t talk back when they’re difficult. Remember…always SMILE.“ Through this experience, Mother also helped me overcome my shyness about talking with people.
Since Mother never seemed to make a great deal of money for her long hours of work, other than helping Father keep the bills paid for the farm and everyday living, I sometimes wondered, “Why does Mother do this?”
However, after Mother died of Alzheimer’s at age 92, I discovered she’d left a legacy. Many people wrote and visited me while she was ill and after her death.
I learned then of those she’d helped with groceries and clothing, the children she’d tutored (f0r free) in the back of her store, the young girl she’d comforted who lost her mother, the ones she encouraged to finish high school and go on to college, those for whom she’d been a ray of cheer when they stopped for groceries on their way home after a tiring day at work.
I realized then that success isn’t always measured by monetary standards. Yes, you do need to operate your business at a profit. You should establish good business practices.
However, there’s another measure of success, I discovered…it’s the legacy you leave while helping and encouraging others.
So, Kay, as you scurry around with your business, remember, it’s people you’re serving and helping…to make their lives better…and our world a greater place because you’ve lived here.
(c)2007 Mary Emma AllenTags: Business+Apprentice+Contest, business+channel, grocery-business, grocery-store, success+secrets, success+story, women-in-business