Once I found out I was going to be writing the new blog for our farm market I joked and told Monica I would open with the famous words of Charles Dickens. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I suppose it was the writers block that made those words pop in my head from a novel written so long ago that I had never read. But’ before I could dismiss the joke I thought wow those words written well over a century ago actually describe 2020, our business, and the struggle for survival by small American farms.
Because I had never read the book I did a little research. In the opening paragraph Mr. Dickens states it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness and it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. If you want to see the age of foolishness turn on the news. I don’t have to tell you why this year has been the winter of despair. But, a few examples anyhow. Another year of erratic weather making it almost impossible to plant and harvest crops. Couple that with commodity prices so low even the largest of land barons are struggling to makes ends meet. Two weeks ago we were sent a derecho that affected our customers, colleagues and friends. And lets not forget that infamous pandemic known as Covid 19.
All businesses need money to operate successfully and be able to stay sustainable. As we progressed into spring and the government began mandating businesses to shut down the reality set in that this could be the end. We’ve invested all of our time, energy, and finances into this dream of a productive business. And if we were to lose the business what would that mean? Would we also lose our house? How about our cars? And scariest of all would I have to move in with my mother in law?
Never underestimate your fellow man, your customers, and your colleagues. After the CDC recommended isolation one of our awesome customers asked Monica if she could make some projects to go for her children who were bored. Monica accepted the challenge and once completed she took pictures and offered them for sale on our Facebook page hoping she might sell another dozen or so. She sold a dozen alright, followed by several hundred more. Our customers new and old were so supportive. Even when they picked them up curbside the kind words of appreciation helped us to see we shouldn’t give up. The overwhelming demand almost killed us, but we were thrilled to be working overtime in a very uncertain time for businesses.
We have learned how much we have to be thankful for in the past months. Monica’s health has improved a lot over the last year. We have a customer base who truly cares about us and has evolved to become part of our family. A banker whom I consider a friend has helped us restructure debt and take advantage of programs for small business. I’ve got to serve on the Elkader ambulance service. And based on the talented strong men and women I work with I can say that’s an honor.
I could go on and I will in future blogs but, the point is here at Tiffany & Weller it’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. Being positive allows us to keep out eyes on the destination. Covid may have stifled our dream, but it will not ruin it. We haven’t reached our full potential nor do we offer all the services and products that we want to. We will get there and believe me your going to love it when we do.
It’s quite apparent that it will be a struggle to fulfill our dream. We have always waited to do videos until things are perfect. Hence the reason that you seldom see a new video. Well no more sugarcoating. I think the struggle to get there is the real story. In the next few months we will be regularly blogging and we are going to expand our videos to the YouTube platform. I know many of you miss the group classes and our weekend shopping events but when this settles down it’s going to be bigger and better than before. I hope you come along and join us on our adventure.