In Glade Spring, Virginia a family-run hardware store, Surber & Son, has for 30 years been helping a vast number of loyal customers solve problems, from home repairs to gardening conundrums to fishing challenges.
While the independent hardware store is largely a thing of the past, Surber & Son thrives, even in a small community that for decades has struggled economically.
The reasons for the store’s success are many: low prices; customer service that goes beyond friendly to genuine concern; and a smart business owner, Tony Surber, who has learned well the needs of his customer base.
If you look closely, you realize, however, that there is another reason for the popularity of Surber & Son, a reason that goes beyond products, price or even the beloved proprietors. It has to do with the customers, who are always smiling, ready to chat and happy to see you, even if they don’t know you.
Certainly Tony and his staff foster these smiles and this warm atmosphere. But the customers themselves help to generate a large portion of the good vibrations that come and go through the front door of the store and circulate among its narrow aisles or outside among the cheerful plants and garden tools.
This customer enthusiasm is a demonstration of what Americans truly value in their towns. They seek to shop – and be – in places that give them comfort and that provide community. And small businesses provide these qualities as well as a common, unique experience that has shaped this country.
At Blue Hills Market, we value greatly this American experience. We believe it not only enriches the lives of our customers, but, through their improved quality of life, they are promoting the good will of our community beyond our doors.
As a business devoted to providing healthy food, we believe that healthy communities begin with healthy people. We also believe that healthy businesses, such as Surber & Son, are the result of customers who understand the contributions made by small, independently owned establishments and who demonstrate that understanding through their patronage.
It is true, that in this day of the big box store and the availability of online shopping, that many small, independent businesses are facing enormous challenges. But the best days for small businesses are ahead, thanks to the nimbleness and creativity among many small business owners, but mostly thanks to the enduring recognition that an America without small businesses and their unmatched sense of community and care is no longer a strong America.