[ From the Archives of 365 ]
Whatever You Promise—You Deliver
Sunday afternoon, my day for spiritual worship and family time. I’m sure many of us covet this day to refill our wells for the week to come. 10 days into 365 and Sundays are already becoming the hardest day to get my butt moving. But two things I learned from my father move me forward: First, “There is only one way to do things, in whatever you do, be certain to do it right and finish it.” and secondly; as many Brits would state, “Keep a stiff upper lip.”
So with full commitment to see 365 to the end, a smile on my face, and a very supportive daughter in hand, I grab my gear for a Sunday stroll around the neighborhood.
We walk a few blocks. Noting shops unfamiliar to us, and a few we have frequented from time to time. As we browse, looking through locked storefront after storefront, most closed for Sunday rest. I realize 365 is changing my perspective of how I look at the rows of small businesses that are only footsteps from my front door. And being a small business owner myself, knowing how important it is to retain a customer base, I’ve always done my best to regularly patronize my fellow entrepreneur. But today’s feeling is deeper than that. Something different is brewing in me, and I’m not sure what it is.
I pause for reflection; a new type of empathy is grabbing hold of me. My desire to connect at a deeper level to these neighborhood co-business owners is becoming much greater. And with only nine days of meeting strangers behind me, I’m fully realizing the challenge is starting to change me, and I think it is for the better.
Canoga Camera—closed, (best ink price in town); Caveretti’s (old school Italian Deli)—open (of course, it’s a restaurant); The Boxing Gym—closed; five or six other closed stores, and then, prepared to look through yet another closed window, there it is…Canoga Park Florist—open!
Now for as long as I’ve lived in my house, (9 years to be exact), never has this store been open on a Sunday. So my curiosity takes hold, and through the doors we go
We are greeted by shop owner, Shabbir, who sitting at a display checking his text messages. [4:45]-ish, store closing at 5:00 pm. I tell him what I am doing, and he buys in. Graciously giving me almost an hour—way past closing time. I find him to be very honorable and kind… even gives my 8-year-old girl a stuffed toy.
I could write a book about our chat, but I’ll keep it short, we have many more days ahead of us and I don’t want to lose you with too much text. But no matter how long-or-short these stories become, please stay with me. The journey is just starting, and I have no idea of where it will lead us
So with that said, let me give you a short rundown of our conversation and some things I did not know:
- Shabbir loves working with all kinds of different people, bad day pick-me-up to hospital gifts, anniversaries to weddings, birthdays to graduations, mothers day to Valentine day, all have their respective flowers. But to Shabbir it’s more than just pre-arranged product, it’s pride in knowing exactly what flowers to choose for every customer he meets.
- Gladiolas, lilies and gerberas—until now, I thought only roses were the most beautiful flower for arrangements.
- Yelp really does work.
- He loves being a florist and sees doing nothing other than that for the rest of his life.
- His philosophy: Knowing your customer’s heart makes you a better business person.
- Whatever you promise—you deliver.
- His Dream… to pilot a plane; life is just too busy right now.
Oops! I forgot to ask him when he rests.
Talk tomorrow my friends!