A Little Shop

This shop is nestled in a neighborhood street a few blocks from our house.  I passed it on my afternoon walk the other day and was charmed by the green trim and the typeface.  Who would’ve thought there’d be a glass supply shop right here? I thought to myself as I snapped this photo and continued my stroll.  I wondered about the owner and how the shop got its start.  I wanted to know their story, so I Googled it…

Cyril Knapp, the owner of Glass Supplies was, and I quote from the website, “so dedicated to Glass Supplies that he continued working until the age of 95.”  (Swoon!)  The company, which is now run by his son, differentiates themselves by saying, “We are dedicated to providing quality glass products at competitive prices with excellent customer service. After all, the glass we sell is no different to other businesses, it’s the service that we endeavour to provide that counts.”  They offer “Good Old Fashioned Service” and they make my heart melt.  (Okay, but really the glass isn’t exactly the same because they do custom-made stained glass and stuff, too.  Cool!)

Now, there are two things I want to say about this little company, and small/entrepreneurial businesses in general:

1. Good customer service, a dedicated staff, and a smile will do wonders for any small business.  When it comes to building relationships with clients, educating your consumers, and negotiating with suppliers, honesty, helpfulness and a firm handshake still go a long way.  Of course, there are still people in the world who value a good deal more than they value a good experience, which is why small businesses need to be clever about how they’re differentiating themselves in their market and how they’re communicating with their customers.  There are more people in this world who care about quality than most of us realize, businesses just need to find a unique way to communicate their quality and reach these consumers.  Having a well-defined and welcoming voice is a great way to start…

2.  How wonderful is it that Cyril Knapp worked until he was 95?  If you know anything about me (other than my love for Gwen Stefani), know this: I do not believe in retirement.  Wouldn’t you rather fully live your life the whole way through with a healthy combination of work and fun-time than work your ass off and wake up at 65 wondering how you got there?  I think work makes us young, keeps us healthy and allows us to focus on the future rather than counting our ever-dwindling number of elderly friends.  Working gives us purpose and place and I have great respect for people like Cyril Knapp who are dedicated to their work their whole life through.  I hope I’m still contributing to projects and working when I’m 95, too! 

Because Glass Supplies has such a sweet and honest approach to communication, I will definitely use them if I ever need something they offer.  They’ve won me over and I’m not even a consumer, yet… 

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