Hello 2020!! Just recently my husband and I ventured to Tacoma WA over Christmas to see our daughter and family. It's always fun to visit new places, yet we're not big travelers. If my site was about our travels via flying, I might was well give this up. We do travel back roads a great deal and it's because of that, this directory got it's start.
While we were there, my daughter knows I'm all about local business, new, quaint, and special little businesses. Our first visit the morning after arrival was a favorite donut shop of theirs. (Sidenote here: I noticed the business calls them "doughnuts" and out in the Midwest, we call them donuts. Now I have to know if that has to do with locations much like soda versus pop. Ha! Does it matter? No but it's how my brain works! )
Legendary Doughnuts was an amazing little shop full of doughnuts, calories, and unique decadent little goodies; so much so that you wanted to try each one. Bakeries and donut shops are getting with it I notice, because I had been in a similar one in Tucson AZ, yet this one had more of a personal touch to it. These donuts were more along a gourmet specialty type for lack of a better way to describe them. The menu offered so much more in way of selections, but we were only there for their amazing donuts. Unbelievably amazing.
Near there were some murals and my husband drew my attention to them. There were a great deal of murals on older brick walls throughout the suburbs. Murals have been on my mind lately because it's been the talk of Ec.Developers to create them in our communities. It is a terrific idea because it brightens up the community, pulls everyone together to work on a project, and like some communities such as Faulkton, SD people come just to see the murals. That is a part of economic development; to pull travelers into the community.
With the visit to this donut shop and seeing local murals, I've decided to expand our locations for the directory listings across the country. The murals are on the Destinations page on the menu. More small local businesses/services outside the borders of SD are going to be included too. I love experiencing them all--all "diamonds in the rough" around the country. I know, without a doubt, everyone has been to one of those places they'd love to tell others about. Since that is how I started this whole business; let's do it! Another one I shared is Bite Me BBQ in Witcha KS. I'm not a ribs eater, but oh my gosh, I'll turn into one there. You want to hit up this locally owned restaurant downtown Wichita. I realize that we don't all go in the same directions, but you never know...
Another, not to be forgotten, is a change in my pricing. Since starting my online directory, pricing has been difficult for me to figure out (a trail needing blazed). The business owners come first and my time to promote second, hence the pricing change. So for businesses to be promoted in Travel Backroads, they only pay a one time membership fee. It's affordable, quick, easy and the way to go. If in the future a business wants to update pictures, information, add more or less, it's a very minimal fee to do so of the Ala Carte menu. Also again; chambers of commerce, clusters of towns, commercial and community clubs can be listed on the Destinations page; Events too and Stories. I am fiercely loyal to local business. If we do not promote them and leave their support up to just their local towns people--they are in trouble. Let's collaborate!
I hope you'll take me up on this and get your business listed.
Hoping for a great, healthy, prosperous New Year for all!
Driving the Passion to Go Local
It's taken a while, but I finally feel I have my ducks in a row concerning how I want to handle the pricing of my business for local. I was with a group of women last night discussing local and talking about the size of our community back 30-40 years. It was sad to hear them talk how much change there has been in our particular 'rural' community. Now, compared to the 50's-60's our community of 1300 was around 2400 at that time...a thriving metropolitan rural community. I did not know the community in which I live, then, since I am a transplant. I would love to have seen it in it's heyday. I can only imagine now.
The women commented that there were farms everywhere and most everyone had a dairy cow or two along with their other cattle. Parents, grandparents and children were farming together on these small farms. Fast forward to today and the land is blotted with abandoned farm houses and barns, our schools have consolidated, and the land is more vast it seems now that so many of the individuals farmers have lost or sold their farms and big corporation farming has come in and taken over. The young farmer concept was a concept of the past, not of the future, or so I am thinking. Young farmers that want to get into farming, really cannot now because land is selling for too much and much of the land when it does come available is being sold at a higher price to those corporation farmers.
Big corporation farming too hits a rural community where it hurts as well. No longer do they buy gas, feed, seed from the local area in which they farm. They support those communities from where they are from, or bring in their own gas or their own feed and seed. I think relaying this to you I am doing pretty good at stating the problems. I listen to others and talk around the local watering hole, but I was raised city like I've said. The closest I came to a cow was seeing it from my car window on the land, or watching the "Ag kids" load a school bus at a location set apart from where the city kids did. So I think I have learned something these years living in rural America. I do know too I have a lot more to learn.
I don't have as much to learn as the professor from UC in Berkeley CA. The instructor Jackson Kernion that is teaching actual classes to students and took to Twitter to shame "rural Americans" and those who aren't "pro-city." Fox News quoted, "They, as a group, are bad people who have made bad life decisions...and we should shame people who aren't pro-city."
He said "they" should have higher health care, pay more taxes and be forced to live an "uncomfortable" life for rejecting "efficient" city life," Really? REALLYYY? And this guy is paid by UC of Berkeley to teach his 11 philosophical courses? If you were to ask me, they should hang their head in shame. Jackson Kernion is really so far off the mark, and since receiving so much backlash from his comments, he's deleted his tweet. I sincerely hope that he is discredited overall and with that thinking run out of town. He has no clue about rural life, and it angers me the venom he used. Why open your mouth at all about something you know nothing about? Only because you can and you can mislead students who are gullible and listening in earnest? Man, it angers me.
Rural America is alive and well, by the way, and loved by many. Small communities are thriving and some even growing because citizens love where they live. Ben Winchester, a rural specialist from the University of Minnesota Extension and promoter of the rural brain gain migration concept supports this. One reason why the government's statistics reflect that the rural areas are being depleted is mainly because those rural areas are being eaten up by the metropolitan areas. But the brain gain is reflecting:
So here I am, working for small and local through my employment, business and website www.travelackroads.today. My business is not just about rural but small business whether they're on the country roads or on a city street. I do believe in rural because I have lived it for 35 years, and see raising children and living in rural truly as a lifestyle and one that we want to keep. The difficult part may come that in order to keep ruralism, we have to support it. We cannot run to the Walmart's, the metropolitan areas for their health care, and other businesses IF we have them in our communities. An occasional out-shopping trip will happen because that has become a pastime for Americans, but when it comes down to it; we snooze on this we lose. Or in Pat McGill's words, if we don't collaborate, we evaporate. Small rural cannot afford that, so working hard is required in educating our youth, our adults and working together as retailers and citizens to thrive. Once there is thriving, growth hopefully follows.
Joe Bartmann with Dakota Resources, at RuralX '18 Summit encourages us to be rural-shapers and it's up to us. There is a new rural happening and I want to be a part of it. So Jackson Kernion, you deleted your tweet and found out that surrounding yourself with only people that believe like you can come back to hound you when you share thoughts that are very much asinine. I'm thrilled personally that you felt you needed to take your tweet down and that there was feedback on it. I hope someone takes you by the ear and drags you into a ruralistic lifestyle you know nothing about and get some education. I just had to speak up.
(Posted on LinkedI & Facebook)
I'm sitting in west river South Dakota near my home and with family enjoying time together. It's great to have a few days off from work. But even greater to spend some time with family because we do not live near each other.
As I spend this necessary time with the business of Travel Backroads; my day job has been quite demanding. My day job, if you are not aware, is helping Deuel County in SD with economic wellness, growth and thriving. It seems like a thankless job sometimes, but I learned a long time ago that pats on the back are not required and that kudos come with seeing a job finished or well done. I survive with the latter by helping entrepreneurs, housing, business awareness, business collaboration, and community betterment. I personally thrive on it and I commit fully, not haphazardly to this passion of mine. If I meet with criticism, I'm not too shook as I know I'm doing the best I can with what I have as knowledge, and grateful that I'm always learning. Someone new, one day, will be able to too their hat in the ring and work their magic.
While in the Black Hills I had the chance to stop in, at one of my all time favorite businesses, and that is the House of Scandinavia. (Anyone notice my different car? My white one met a deer one night last month.)
Carmen Graves, daughter (and her siblings), of the Watkins, have been handed down the scepter of operations since their parents' retirement. I have been going to this store since I was a little girl. Stopping more in my adult life I have come to the realization that I'm grateful and blessed to have an appreciation for my Scandinavian roots; thanks to my Grandmother Nordin and the traditions we celebrated at Christmas. However, when my grandfather married and they started their family in Rapid City, having come from Milaca, Mn and Sweden, my grandfather Bernhard Nordin said "We're in America now, we will speak English." Much of the language and extras were not passed down through the generations, much to my dismay.
I've made my final decision within my business Travel Backroads to change my pricing. Keeping it affordable was always my goal and making it easy for businesses to get in the directory was the aim.
It's a one time listing fee; then you're in, like Flynn. The membership gets you in the directory on all the pages that apply. It also gets you social media coverage on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube for videos, and Yelp. Hiring Apple for a brief period has helped me get recognition on other platforms and Siri! This next summer you find my business as part of Glacial Lakes & Prairies Tourism publication as I've paid that price for my small & local business listers. I love promoting and have a new page also for "Testimonials." I so appreciate my customers' backing my business, and saying so.
I think one of the biggest aspects of my business are the maps. I reiterate; there are so many great stores and businesses that are on the backroads or on a city street, why miss them? Why not let others know they are there. I love it!
Travelers SHOULD know these stores are near them. Wouldn't you want to know? Like Clear Lake has these amazing women's clothing stores for ALL sizes (even curvy)
--why go I-29 when you can go Hwy 15 in east central SD. Then, if you get there, keep heading north to Milbank and stop at Linda's, or Milbank Flower or Whimsy on Main.
My next quest as part of my business is to show "Specialty Products" in their own category. (Homemade donuts like at Wall Drug--do you know this particular passion?) I KNOW for certain that others have their favorites --homemade malts, caramel rolls, specialty coffees, truffles, and more. Why not showcase these places just for what they are known for?
My next focus are Murals. They are not a trend, and seem to be artistically showing up on rural South Dakota community walls. So, I'm starting a category too for those. Organizing on the directory is a challenge because I want everything found easily; and I'm a self-appointed and self-taught webmaster; videographer too. Murals tell their own story and what communities want to say. They're great and the SD Art's Council is helping many with grants for their creation.
So, call me. Let me work for you. I want to promote you. I want to promote your business, your town, your product. I will do my utmost to show you how fiercely loyal I am to you. Check out my directory, follow me on social media and get on my blog's emailing list.
If you're not a biz, then please "say it forward" to your town's businesses, Chambers of Commerce, or a friend who's a store owner. I would really appreciate your help in my quest to drive the passion to go local. We cannot sit back, it's up to us to drive traffic to the diamonds in the rough.
Simply put, I'm always working, learning and growing with new things in-store.
with Travel Backroads
When I started the “Dakota Backroads” Facebook page in 2014, I never envisioned it becoming a website and going as far as I have. After sharing with others about my page at the time and how it started, the bigger picture started to take fruition. The name was changed to include more states than the Dakotas; my excitement and purpose became more solidified and my business was born. If you're new to my blog and stories, I can recap a bit to for you about my business’ beginnings.
My mission was and has been to share the best parts of small and local business in order to get others to stop and see. Loving that idea, it grew to where it is today, but not without question and frustration. As Mel Robbins says…
I cannot say I’m the best salesperson but I can say my passion has only grown and I can definitely tell you my mission. Small and local business’ and entrepreneurs need support. They are risk takers and dreamers. They “believe it before they see it.” Or in the words of Thomas Edison about himself as an entrepreneur, “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” So I’m definitely an advocate for my very own business and what I’m trying to accomplish. Our country was built by entrepreneurs.
This then leads into my trial and errors as business owner of Travel Backroads and the questions I have had since starting. Pricing digital marketing and promoting business on and off the main highway, city street or someone’s home has been a challenge, especially if you're looking for perfection.
You'll want to know this...
I now am launching a new way for entrepreneurs to become part of the Travel Backroads Online Directory.
A "one-time membership" is all you need.
Google Reviews on the a la carte menu...
All will lead others to the website and utimately to find your biz.
What's the price??
1) The one-time business membership fee is $100, INCLUDING mentioned perks. Should you later decide you want updated pictures, new links, new information shared with the public; the A la Carte menu will address those additions.
2) To include a video it is $150; again a one time ever fee and included in social media. You help provide photos and we can work out the specifics.
Digital and online marketing has been a challenge for me. Personally I feel I'm blazing a new trail. Without reading 101 ways to go about it and experimentation, I'm learning the right way to approach this, it has been a journey.
Chambers and Community Clusters --Are you a Destination??
There will be opportunities for Chambers or Community Clusters to join as well and TB to promote for a one-time fee of $200; additional updates later come in the A la Carte menu. (Businesses to be mentioned within these join separately.) Feel free to ask questions.
There is opportunity as well, for large and small events to get promoted.
This is a great opportunity for YOU to get your business listed in the directory that is growing and being promoted daily.
I am following my passion—it’s marketing the small and local business owners, events, chambers, and communities.
You Snooze, You Lose,
The Website Membership Agreement is also located on the website on "Services".
(Read at your own risk😉):
I’m sure I am getting more outspoken in this position and I never mean to offend anyone, I care. I find I’m always looking from the Ec Dev perspective and how my training and education affects my thinking. My desire is to provide food for thought and possibly cause action, not saying I’m right. My 🧠 never stops thinking. 🤦🏻♀️
Today while driving, I’m seeing in other communities “Hotel For Sale” “Gas Station For Sale”, homes and businesses run down or vacant. Even Clear Lake’s bowling alley/restaurant is for sale. It saddens me as I glance the countryside; it really does. What if those businesses stay vacant and more join them? We don’t know what the next 10 years holds for Deuel County.
It’s not all the ED Director’s job to find a business for this, a buyer for that. This job has a great deal happening behind the scenes. The DADi directors serve because this is important to them.
At the risk of sounding a broken record...It takes ALL of us.
It takes ACTION, on everyone’s part.
It takes collaboration, no grudges, forward thinkers, and loyalty to our communities and to one another’s’.
It means loyalty; trying hard to buy “AT home”— pay taxes support infrastructure etc.
It takes businesses getting websites to at least having a fighting chance against big biz “Amazon” et al. We’re not going to go back in time.
It takes our future government entities, officials and leaders, to be ‘in’ the 21st Century— email, webinars, smartphones, and not looking from the 20th Century.
Money, grants, tenacity, pride, repurposing old buildings, tearing down/building up, civic responsibility, volunteers...its endless...
What doesn’t it take??
We know it does NOT take RAIN 💦💧from our perspectives today. Oh the struggles our areas are facing from that.
It takes us to keep progressing ...in my humble opinion.
I know you’ve missed my blogging! 😉
So here is my latest... Mini Blog: “Loose Gravel” My Online Blog for rural, small and local--
Dissension; now there’s a word.
Do you know that families, communities, and friendships get torn up over it? Of course you do.
Collaboration, I’m finding, is an art, and FEW are very good at it.
Working together, especially in a community, doesn’t happen easily.
Have you ever known someone to run for office because they have their own agenda?
Have you ever met someone who forged ahead like a bull in a china closet because their way is the right way? Or maybe they don’t have a clue really... but,
People! We’ve got too much at stake in our rural, small and local communities to get caught up in pettiness. We don’t need to have our own way. Our towns’ take the brunt when we can’t see a vision or need for change. Even our area “communities together” pay the price when they can’t work together to form an alliance to be a destination together.
Economic and Community Development takes hard work, TENACIOUSNESS, willingness of heart, sometimes forgiveness, most the time patience. It won’t happen over night. It takes a long time, that’s why we have to work together. Negativity is like venom.
Our communities can thrive and grow. Our communities need us and we them. As a friend of mine just recently quoted “positive people cannot be passive.” Pettiness, private agendas, re-living old feuds, having our own way, negativity, selfishness, and control issues will undermine work that needs to be done for rural livability. Make collaboration your goal... #RuralLivability
“Start anywhere, head everywhere” ~Tuesday Ryan Hart
These are precious times.
I am not a BLOGGER to just write to keep you on the hook. If I write something and you follow me, great. But if not, that's ok too. I write to express something in me to share with others on topics and ideas that hit me; they usually have to do with rural, small, local, entrepreneurs, communities and anything else related. Of course I'm always hopeful someone gleans something from them. I might very well repeat my blogs even! ;)
When I, this so called "city slicker" matched up with this "rural dude", I began learning all things small and local, and I noticed the 1 or 2 finger wave over the steering wheel in Harding County, SD. Uh huh...that's right, the "1 or 2 finger wave".
His finger would come up off the steering wheel as he waved to vehicles passing him on the highway, or city street. I wanted to know why one got a single finger, or two fingers. (If you know me, it was fun to do it in jest.) But why wave at all, so I applied all the questions. Do you know them? Why one finger? Why two fingers? Maybe use the whole hand wave? What's with that? Turned out that he knew some of those he passed, and others he did not. Who knew.
we moved to the community of Philip, SD. Driving through downtown Philip in our moving van, not one, but EVERYONE that passed us (even walkers) gave us a 1, 2 or whole hand wave! I kid you not, enough of them anyway to notice. Apparently this "waving thing" had gotten 200 miles south as well! So, we waved back, my husband easily followed suit and I got in to it as well. It was no longer after living there that I noticed it is what they did in Philip. It must have been something in the water there as drivers even waved on the rural highways there.
To this day, Philip's friendliness stays with me. I was literally a stranger when we first moved there. I wanted to write a Reader's Digest article about the 1 and 2 finger wave. Crazy, but I wanted to acknowledge Philip for what I discovered; what I was taught by my husband Hans; and what I soon tried to emulate as well. To me it seemed to all mean something deeper; friendliness, welcoming and acknow-ledgement. As an observer, I liked and enjoyed these acknowledged greetings. Was I crazy? Do others do this or think about it?
Brings me to the question...How is your town for friendliness? Can you relate to the 'wave'? Do you acknowledge complete strangers you pass? Have you ever been the first to reach out to a newcomer, or some one new to your community? How about inviting them to sit with you at a ball game or event? These are not always easy steps, but a p p r e c i a t e d steps. Doing all this might be easier in a small community. There are ways to do them too in a city. Perhaps it's customer service or saying hi to that stranger you pass on the street. Friendly, is friendly. No one person or community has a corner on the market. Do you believe you either have it or you don't? We teach our children "stranger danger", but there is a way to teach them friendliness and keep them safe.
I appreciate towns that are welcoming.
I do not like when I walk into an establishment and everything stops and all eyes are on me. Can anyone relate?
Customer service is huge. I love being acknowledged when I am a customer,. watch me leave their store if they do not. I have left stores when employees appear to care less. You've heard me in previous posts talk about customer service and experiences I've had. I've been trained well and I think we are doing our children and our employees a disservice if we are not teaching respect and friendliness.
Maybe it seems corny to some, but that 'first impression' of a community sets the tone and pace. There are so many elements to it as well; more than what I mentioned here. Whether or not you live rurally or live in a city, there are ways to step it up and to reflect friendliness in your personhood or in your place of business. I challenge you to use that 1 or 2 finger wave symbolically or literally, in ways you never even realized yet.
It Starts with Us,
TravelBackroads.Today has a new brand!
Woo Hoo!! What a way to kick off Spring and 5 years of existence (two as a business for hire)! Thanks to a very talented and good friend Michelle Gross, TBT has this new, fun and effective brand to accompany the business and marketing! She used her time and talents to help my biz get some pizzazz. Words do not describe my gratitude. It's exciting!
TB will be using both logos, as in this day and age it's not uncommon. Our logo points towards the ".today" part of the website address. She uniquely incorporated that into the design as it's important that when you search you need to add .today rather than .com.
Another new marketing event will be for Travelbackroads.today to join SD Tourism this year through SD Glacial Lakes & Prairies in the northeast region of SD. Rack cards will be placed in the seasonal tourist rest stops in SD and these rack cards (see below) will grab the attention of travelers. Because Travel Backroads uses a digital platform for marketing, having a physical copy of promotion is not something that is always done by us. This time however, it is designed to usher tourists, weekenders, destination travelers to all these little businesses that sit along the byways and highways. Also marketed are those downtown city streets and in homes, wherever they maybe. Businesses in TBT don't have to have a physical address and some businesses even take their business on the road or strictly online. We're here to market all styles of small and local business.
Again, a reminder, is that TBT can be found on smartphones. For example, if you use an iPhone, search on Safari www.travelbackroads.today. Once you find it, save the site to your home screen. It will become an App you can use on your phone and be easily accessible while you're driving down a highway, city street or planning a weekend getaway. Use it and find out for yourself how easy it is.
I am on a mission to promote business. I am on a mission to promote entrepreneurs. I'm also on a mission to drive customers through doors of those "diamonds in the rough" whose unique businesses add color and flavor to their communities or area. Come along for the ride; if you own a business contact me and let's work out a plan for you.
Excited for the Big Reveal!
After a very long winter and ushering out March like a lamb, we're ready for springtime. With SD's election for governor and the win of Kristi Noem, she has been quoted to have a "heart for rural". If you're from SD, regardless of who you voted for, it’s time to move forward whatever state you live in or if your party got in. We need to keep moving forward. We need rural to be validated and supported.
I’m sure many S.D. Governors have come from small rural communities. Kristi has come into office at a time where, I feel, there’s an insurgence and fresh focus on our ruralism and regionalism with other states on the great plains. We have what others want— low crime, great schools, work ethics, a focus on growing healthy hometowns for all generations. We’re looking for more jobs, training, workforce, housing and getting our school children in more educational forums to help our youth advance and diversify.
Our communities want to be on the map and want to be destinations where travelers go.
Like Faulkton SD's new grain elevator mural, and growing businesses in our communities, we have to keep moving forward and keep our focus on our communities. Collaboration is a great thing to keep working towards.
A city mayor recently shared how there’s just not enough money to see our communitys' dreams through. And he’s right. But our cities do have "us"; working for all the places we call home, whether it's a large city or a town so small that if you blink you miss it.
Really, we die or we work together. Wasn’t it Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption that said “we get busy living or get busy dying.” And that’s true. A young man recently at a craft fair told me that he wishes he could go back home and sell his wares.
But he also told me that he'd be laughed out of town and the only thing this small town wants is their bar and the freedom to go there. They do not really care that their town is dying.
I wake up every morning and think about what I want to do for rural or my community. My energy might not be there at times, but my passion for rural and business never wanes and continues to grow.
I’m anxious to meet Kristi one day. I coached an opposing team of her daughters years ago. I want to tell her about Travel Backroads. I also want her to know there is a movement out there of focus, determination, passion and desire not only in SD but the upper Midwest. We need to stop being politically "negative Nellies" and get to working on customers, business, community and quit being so critical. Like Kristi said be “fully committed to revitalizing South
Dakota’s rural culture, so small-town schools and businesses can thrive for generations to come.” I love the thought of thinking about our children and their children--the future; for all the states around.
If you agree with me or want to do something in your community, a great jump start for you SERIOUSLY is to go to Dakota Resources’ RuralX '19 Summitin June. See below more info on that
OR if you are going to be near Clear Lake, SD on May 14th buy a $10 ticket ahead of time to hear Women Entrepreneurs' founder Pat McGill. She's talking at "Women Who Care~~A Gathering" as she talks to women about ruralism, regionalism, women and collaboration. See Below and call 605.874.8038
C'mon people, run, don't walk to the future; now is the time to be shaping the new rural!
P.S. Be watching for some new happenings with TB.T! Also a possible future BUS TRIP is in the works. Check out Destination Cluster costs for communities and chambers to get on board.
Rural and Loving it? This is for you! RuralX '19 invites you to grab your friends, your leaders, your powers-that-be and come to Mitchell for this Event. The only event in SD that focusses totally on rural. Can't come to all but some? Contact them. Can't afford it fully. Contact them or Travel Backroads and we'll get you where you need to be. www.dakotaresources.org
As a business owner do you stress or worry where your clientele will come from tomorrow?
Do you wonder if the customer that stopped in last week will be back or what they will tell their friends?
Will you ever come up in a conversation of theirs?
As a matter of fact, you hope you do and in a good way. I think owning a business where you have sunk your life savings in and along with your heart and soul, can be very stressful.
I'm crazy obsessed with customer service and by that I mean I'm very judgemental when it comes to how I'm treated as a consumer. You might have heard my story before but let me tell it again. I worked several summers for tourism in the Black Hills. So much so that I became pretty good at guiding tourists around the Black Hills as well as to Yellowstone. What I did learn from my years as Grayline Bus Tour saleswoman, a desk receptionist, employers and customers, is that they come first. If your employees do not understand that, they really should be working at a desk in the backroom or stocking shelves but definitely not be up front with your customers.
I worked with a tourist who came in tired and frustrated and was unhappy with everything we tried to do for him. I could not do it right, the site was not right, the bathrooms are in the wrong location, there were no trees, the tour was so expensive and on and on. He started yelling at me instead of his wife and children, who were not present. I took it from him. My nature is not to take guff off anyone usually, but it was perhaps the first lesson of many to come. Some people call it "kissing up" and I did it like it was an art form. My bosses had taught me that whatever the customers want, they get; after all they are paying.
Looking back now I cannot even picture or remember what was said that could have gotten me to crying behind the corner after he had left. It had to have been that he cut me to the quick or was so rude that it was like a punch in the gut. Whatever it was it stayed with me. My boss heard it all and stayed in the office behind the scene. At this time in my life, I cannot imagine crying now and taking it so much to heart. I probably took it personally, when really the guy was simply having a horrible day. For some people, driving across the State of South Dakota is enough stress as it is. Then add in small children or even teenagers, the incurred expenses, the itinerary, and many other factors and you can see the stress building. It's human nature, I think, to take it personally.
Right about now, are you thinking that the boss should have intervened? I think in this day and age, perhaps a boss would have. But I was not in danger or physically being harmed; the customer was simply unhappy. My job was to make him feel we would do anything to have and keep his business and to have him return and tell his friends about us. I did that to the best of my ability.
That gentleman, as my boss taught me, comes first. I wonder sometimes if that message is still conveyed in this newer age. Sometimes older and younger employees, who work in businesses, cannot even raise their heads or stop what they're doing behind the counter to greet the customer. Some appear like they could care less that I might spend a few bucks in their store. But whether I'm going to spend $10 or $100 should not matter. The fact that I came into your store better mean something. I don't necessarily want someone following me around, but I sure as heck watch to see if my being there matters to them.
As a business owner you also had better think about those customers coming back in and telling their friends. Unless you have thousands of dollars to spend on advertising which in and of itself is not a guarantee, you need them to have a reason to come back. You need it to be a pleasant and productive visit when they come in the first time so it gains you repeat business.