In July of 2019 I returned to my hometown of Gate City, VA. My trip was only a few weeks long. My reason for the trip was to help my daughter and son in law who had just moved back to the area. They had gotten a house, and needed some work done. My three week visit was the most time I had spent in my hometown in 15 years or more. One evening after working on the house we went to Kingsport to eat. On the drive out of Gate City and thru Weber City I found myself crying. As I looked around both sides of US 23 most of the small family owned stores were empty shells of buildings. This continued all the way into Kingsport. Scott County Lumber was always my favorite place for hardware or building materials.....gone. The Thrift Way supermarket one of the best places to buy meat.........gone.
Business after business closed. We can blame the economy for these closures or many other things. However in reality it has nothing to do with the economy. The fault lies on ourselves. When Walmart first opened it was a mecca of customer service, and you could buy anything you wanted in one place. After the death of their founder Sam Walton I believe his children let greed get the best of them. No one will share the passion for their business as the people who start it. Yet now everyone feels they have no choice but to shop there. Walmart buys sells products we all need and use, but a lot of what they sell is what I will call cheap crap. Things that are of poor quality so they have to be replaced more often. Small stores like vendor mercantiles are seeing a boom currently. I feel these places are in their infancy.
I often hear people complain about this town or that town has nothing to offer. There isn't a plethora of good jobs. We have to go so far to eat. I have to drive all the way to "x" to pick up this. The list goes on. When you shop a local small business your money spent stays in your community. If the owner of that business can grow jobs are created. That business can only grow because of you. I cannot influence you in any way, but please if you continue to pour your money over and over into the "cheap" prices of Walmart refrain from complaining when your town has little to offer.
Living in a small town I accept things are different than in the big cities I have lived in. For example I know if I am up late working like tonight I can't order food for delivery. That is a part of it. However I would like to be able to buy things close to home at a reasonable hour. When researching a supplier for candle materials it was not hard to find the "big" stores with the "cheap" prices. The internet algorithms favor larger volume stores. I did not even know a local place existed. After a little careful research we were able to find a wonderful little local place. Not only can we go to pick up supplies. We can also talk with the owner, who is very passionate about his business and a wealth of information. When we spend money there we are helping our local community. He has several happy full time employees that are thankful for the business. Does it cost us more. Yes and no. He doesn't do quite the volume of the larger stores so his pricing scale is a little more. However what we save in shipping along with his product expertise we come out way ahead.
Mirka and I started Whisky Wick Candle Co. with practically nothing. At the moment we live with my daughter and son in law to help out with our granddaughter. This in return lets us put our heart and soul into launching this business and creating a brand. For this we are very fortunate. All the money we earn in proceeds is going right back into the business. Friends will order candles online from a well known store without a thought. Why? It is a famous brand with a good reputation. We sell a higher quality longer lasting candle at a better price. We are however a small company and new and many people will not take you serious. I don't have any aspirations to be as large as the other company. I do however have aspirations to be the candle company of choice for the southeastern region. When we add new employees and new locations I want to not only hire people, but partner with them to become a viable part of a committed team. Whisky Wick will forever remain Soy and hand poured. We will not fill a factory with machines, but one day a workshop of people. If you have a desire to help your local community give us a try or any other local small business. If you have a question we will always be available to answer. We want to prove you can start from nothing, and build a company. We will only accomplish this by offering our customers a great product at a great price. Our promise to you is we will keep our money here in the community.