Friday, September 13, 2013

Small Business

Barry and I are proud to be small business owners. In fact, it would be fair to say we love giving people the business. Sure we have dreamed (maybe fantasized would be a more accurate term) of one day having a Fortune 500 company. We do, however, recognize that being located in a town of 250 people limits our opportunities.

Duke and Rose Simpson
Like many budding entrepreneurs, when we established Twin Rocks Trading Post, Barry and I were convinced our latest endeavor was destined to set the world on fire. We have, however, come to understand we are only fortunate enough to throw off a spark every once in a while. We know the likelihood that one of those cinders igniting a financial inferno is, well, unlikely. Nonetheless, like Boy Scouts on a camp out, we continue to put flint to steel, hoping for a flame.

According to a recent University of Vermont study, the life expectancy of family-owned businesses is 24 years. Twin Rocks Trading Post has now been in existence for . . . you guessed it, 24 years. Sure that fact has caused us some concern, and even a few sleepless nights. The Kokopelli doors are, however, still open, and, like the broader economy, our fiscal health is constantly improving. We have discovered that, in this instance, average is not so bad.

When we look back over the history of the trading post, we are amazed how far we have come, and aware how far we still have to go. In the early days, Barry was still at Blue Mountain Trading Post in Blanding, and Duke, Priscilla and I “manned” Twin Rocks. Duke was approximately the age Barry, Priscilla and I are now.

Having come from a career in the secondhand business, Duke was fond of going to the swap meet in Phoenix to find “bargains." Priscilla and I indulged his habit until the day he brought back an entire pickup load of futons. When we objected, saying the beds had nothing to do with turquoise jewelry or Navajo rugs and baskets, Duke defended his decision by pointing out the mattresses had Southwest designs.

Realizing we were stuck with them, every day we packed the futons out onto the porch in the morning and lugged them back in at night. After a time we began worrying our backs would give out before we found takers for Duke’s treasures and began leaving them outside overnight to see if someone would steal a few. They didn’t.

While it took us a while to comprehend why Duke liked the beds so much, we did eventually discover the answer. That happened one afternoon when a customer excitedly entered the store to inform us a man was outside sleeping on our inventory. When Priscilla and I checked into the situation, we found Duke napping peacefully in the late afternoon sun.

Having reached his middle 70s, a few years ago Duke retired from Twin Rocks. Having reached our middle 50s, Priscilla, Barry and I have begun searching for futons, with Southwest designs.

With Warm Regards,
Steve, Barry, Priscilla and Danny; The Team.

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