Why we run Schedulefly like a general store

My friend once said to me about Schedulefly, “Y’all run that business like you are some old timers running a general store.” It’s so true. I love that analogy.

But why did he say that? And why do I think it’s so accurate? Well, we’ve both spent time in the N.C. mountains in Valle Crucis, and there is a great general store there that has been around forever. It’s legendary. When my friend made his comment, he had this place in mind.

You can probably imagine it. It’s run by a few “old timers” who have never lost site of the importance of getting the basics right every day. They don’t have everything, but they have everything you NEED when you are spending time in Valle Crucis. They know who their customers are and what they want, and they’ve taken the time and care to make decisions for those customers, narrowing the choices down so people don’t have to stand there trying to decide between 15 different types of a product. Their prices aren’t super cheap, but they definitely don’t compete on price – they compete on the experience they offer. They don’t apply any sales pressure because there are no commissioned sales people. You rarely have questions because everything is laid out so nicely, nothing is cluttered. Your time their is defined by words like “warm,” “welcoming,” “simple,”pleasant,” and “easy.”

Mind you, if you need assistance, you’ll receive GREAT service. If you approach one of the folks at the register and ask a question, they will smile, look you directly in the eye, happily answer your question in a very friendly way, and then let you go on your way. Or, heck, if you want to join in on their conversation, they’ll readily pull up a chair and welcome you. Otherwise, they hang out behind the cash register, sitting in rocking chairs and staying out of your way, telling stories and one-liners. You hear a lot of belly-laughs.

It’s not that they don’t work hard on their business. You can tell they are in there after hours, dusting, sweeping, re-folding clothes, re-stocking items, tidying up, and making sure everything feels right. And it’s not like they have no marketing savvy. They know people often harken back to “the good ole days,” so they deliberately help preserve a little bit of our past. Finally, it’s not like they don’t care intensely about building a very successful business, In fact it’s all they care about because they love the business so much. They don’t have anybody to answer to but themselves, and they put the same tender care and patience into their business that they would in raising their children. So rather than risk spoiling it by trying to do too much or grow too fast, they take very careful care to get the basics right over and over and over, and win customers slowly, one at a time, every day, every week, every year, every decade.

All this means the experience you have when you go to this store is more pleasant and relaxing than the experience you have with almost any other business, anywhere. It’s (unfortunately) such an uncommon experience these days that you relish it. You feel compelled to tell others about it. In fact you don’t just tell others, you rave to others. You won’t shut up about this place. Until, finally, when one of the people you’ve told is in Valle Crucis, she feels obligated to give this general store a try, and see for herself what it’s all about.

And when she walks in the door, a few “old timers” are sitting around, smiling. One of them jumps up, looks her in the eye, smiles honestly, and says “Welcome, let us know if we can help you with anything.” And she already feels at home.