The special people who run small businesses inspire me endlessly. Little “mom and pop” convenience stores, gas stations, book stores, repair shops, shoe stores, pharmacies, and plenty of others, where the owners are not getting rich but are providing service with a smile make me believe in this country.
In the community where I live there is a chain convenience store that sells gas and is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. There is also a full service gas station that is closed after 6 pm and on Sundays. The service station is run by a man named Duane Thomas and his nephew Jason Randolph.
When you pull up to the pump, one of them comes out, asks what you need, pumps your gas, cleans the windshield, chats about the weather and tells you to have a good day or evening. At the chain store, you can have access to more candy and cokes, but nobody is quite as cheerful or glad to see you as at Thomas’ Service Station.
One morning I stopped at Thomas’ to get gas on my way to work. I asked for $10 worth of gas and after he pumped it, Mr. Thomas waited patiently for me to dig through my wallet. I only had a $5 bill!
I apologized, handed him the five and asked if he needed me to run home and get the rest or if it would be okay for me to come back after work. He said, “Oh, after work is fine. Don’t worry, it’s all right.”
Then, he stopped and said, “Do you have money for lunch?” He handed me back my five and said, “Don’t give me your lunch money, just bring it to me this evening.”
I am a Thomas’ Service Station customer for life.
In support of local brick and mortar businesses everywhere, Cinda Baxter runs the 3/50 Project. The 3/50 Project suggests that people who support independently owned businesses choose three each month at which to spend a total of $50. Most of us will spend $50 a month on various purchases anyway, so why not support independent business owners at the same time?