Thank you, Fickle Mother Nature, for the recent weeks of glorious weather and know that we accept it as a small token of your remorse for that dastardly winter. 

I’m still ruminating on that crazy housebound winter as I think I got lucky – if you can call months of forced isolation and the need to refurbish three apartments/six levels of living space the sweet spot on the wheel of fortune. Long days and months of cleaning, repairing, replacing and miles of painting – none of which could have done without the skills and generosity of my cousin (the task master), a friend (the creative who knows how stuff works), and two of our local businesses. 

Paulson’s Paint’s owner and chief paintologist, Rick Stephanie, and I have spent a bit of time shop-talking over the years, as I’m a CSP (chronic serial painter) and have ‘color issues.’  Years ago a staff newbie asked  “how many houses do you own?” (one) and we like to laugh that I was losing square footage via my preoccupation. So yes, I’ve bought a decent amount of paint at his store. 

This winter project was relatively easy on Paulson’s:  “I need a jillion gallons of paint, mostly the same color.” I did, however, manage to use up a handful of previously rejected gallons (color issues) by bringing them in and having them put in “the shaker.” (Always do that w/paint that has been sitting.) Also, absolutely love Pittsburgh Paint’s ceiling white – try it.

I also purchased a house full of window coverings at Paulson’s, which never occurred to me until Rick pitched me on their Graber window coverings. I’m a careful and savvy shopper, I think, so I resisted the pitch with ‘Rick, I just can’t afford Graber, especially for a rental, and can find a very decent product online for significantly less money.”  Rick countered that his prices were absolutely competitive with the online stores (“except for sales tax” and “don’t you want to support your village?”) and also offered a superior product. I was pretty skeptical (what does he know about online shopping? I asked myself 🙂 but Donna, the Graber lady (who turned out to be an invaluable adviser) put a proposal together, I did my online homework and was flabbergasted that Rick was right. In fact, I probably saved a few dollars. But that’s not the best part. 

Rick and Donna stopped by unannounced the afternoon I was installing the blinds, to see if the newbie was doing it right, I think. I had installed one blind (test run) and they approved. Then…one thing led to another…and another…and we proceeded to knock out the whole project in record time and I was relegated to the noble role of gopher. No one intended this…it just happened.

After they left, I realized the project would have taken me another day (or two) without them. After they left, their spontaneous gift washed over me like a heavenly, healing balm on my worked-out, solitary soul. Really.

And thanks, probably a million, to Schauer’s Hardware, a village treasure that serves us every day with problem solving, patience, pieces and parts, not to mention time saved not driving to whatever big box store that will most often not have what you are looking for, or might have it if you can find it in their mostly “I dunno” acreage. Very special thanks to Corinna and Loretta.

Not every town is blessed with a special downtown, but we are. Take a moment to ‘first, think local’ as the odds are you’ll be delightfully satisfied.

And if you haven’t noticed, the businesses mentioned above are not even the ‘Fun!’ ones (sorry, guys) of which we have an abundance. Please share your “feel good” local business stories in the comments – c’mon, let us all enjoy your good fortune. Or share a hot tip/did you know? snippet. (I’ve got a good one about Grand’s.)  Business owner’s comments are welcome, too.

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