July 31, 2013
The power of a positive approach is - well - powerful.
This notion played out dramatically in the last few weeks along the business beat I cover for our websites and newspapers across Pickens and Anderson counties in places like Farmers Furniture, the Blu Butterfly in downtown Easley, TCBY Yogurt in Clemson and downtown Pickens in general.
The first opportunity to notice this idea was at the re-grand opening of Farmers Furniture in Easley. Farmers’ new manager, Sam Miller, oversaw a dressing up and brightening up the interior and exterior of the store. The building now boasts a new awning, a dramatic brightening of the interior lighting and wall paint that says ‘happy’ to my admittedly somewhat suspicious eyes.
For a ribbon cutting that day, sales people lined up along with corporate representatives from Farmers, members of the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce turned out in support and Mayor Larry Bagwell was present with well-wishes and words of encouragement.
But the most dramatic display of the positive sat that day on the face of the store’s manager. Miller positively beamed the entire time.
He has been around the furniture store scene Easley on and off for decades. He has seen difficult times as one store would close, and he would have to find a new opportunity. Anyone past the age of 30, a place Miller and I both represent solidly, knows the ups and downs of living. Business management of furniture stores, media outlets and most any other enterprise has not been easy in the last five years if it ever has been.
Miller’s facial expression and attitude were infectious that day. “We love living in Easley,” he said of he and his wife. They have raised children here. He was particularly complimentary of the effect recreational league sports in Easley has played in his family. He beamed a smile and in return the crowd smiled back at him. The faces in the picture on our business pages showed smiles, encouragement and the positives of life, forgetting, at least for a moment about the challenges in life that prevent smiles. At least that was the sense I drew from the experience.
In downtown Easley, Selena Mitchem has opened a clothing store that is unique. You’ll hear more from our pages about the, some might say, quirky idea of rehabbing vintage clothes and selling them in an upscale environment to people who enjoy quirkiness. Mitchem is positive in her approach to what she does and sees herself helping people find something they enjoy. She wants to brightening lives.
Samuel Batt is 32 years old and has opened his 18th TCBY Yogurt store in Clemson. I learned about his journey in the TCBY franchise business via a phone call from Easley to Batt’s Charlotte-area office. I could hear the passion in his voice for putting together a simple idea of bringing together families, friends and communities around a dessert treat.
In Pickens, too, a positive approach from a positive mayor and council and a positive city administrator and staff are paying positive results. Recently the city and the Pickens Revitalization Association opened the new downtown amphitheater, a place for the community to come together and enjoy the things they love.
City Administrator Catherine Hendricks, a young, energetic, persistent force in the community beams about the projects the city is creating to refocus attention on downtown and make it a destination for people to enjoy… oh and spend money in. They will be people from Pickens County from Greenville, Oconee, Anderson, Atlanta and Charlotte. They will all spend money in downtown Pickens. That makes the city’s effort a good investment.
My knowledge of city administrators earned in this business over the last 30 years is that their lives are lived with daily challenges. Like Miller, Mitchem and Batt, Hendricks works through those difficulties with a positive approach.
That is the way you get things done.