Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Business Today

“The big lesson from A&P is that businesses have to keep changing, and when a business stops changing, it’s sentencing itself to death,” Levinson said. “By the late '50s, A&P was not the low-cost retailer. It was just another retailer.”

My husband sent me the article from the Washington Post about the bankruptcy of A&P. It was the store where he shopped while in college at Auburn. Evidently, closer to campus than Kroger. The above statement ended the article and I found it so true for all of us in business whether large or small.

Now, let's be careful about what exactly we are saying about change. We are not talking about a change in what a business stands for, not a change in it's beliefs or it's morals. We are talking about keeping up with the times as far as appearance as in updating the physical appearance of our businesses and updating the operating systems of our business. We are talking about moving with trends of the times as long as they are in keeping with what we are trying to do and say in our business. As a Christian Retailer, I certainly try to keep items in the store that bring others closer to Christ and I have to constantly check myself not to get caught up in all the "outside of our marketplace items" that, well as they may make a buck selling off the front counter, are not really a part of the message people come to the store to receive. But, we do try to really work to find items that meet the needs of our customers. We also try to have buyers meet and interact with some of the customers at some point so they will understand their needs. How do we know what to buy if we do not know the people for whom we are buying?

Anyway, we are not perfect and we are constantly learning but we try to stay open to change. Actually, one of the most frequent lines from our customers is "Oh, you've changed this area, where is the merchandise that was here?" Makes them walk around to find things and in the process discover new merchandise. So...shake it up retailers! Get some new goods, enhance technology, move things around, work for your customers. It may drive them crazy at first but it really will help keep our businesses fresh and different and inviting.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

I just love Our Lady. She holds nothing back for her children. She's all about give, give, give. She's the perfect example for every woman and every mother and every young girl. She truly did not have much to say that was written in Scripture, but what she said and what she did was all for us. Quite frankly, she's still constantly working on our behalf. Like all mothers, she does not want her children to suffer. She knows that we have to go through rough patches in life to learn hard lessons and to get to our ultimate goal, but she does everything possible to ease our journey. 

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock in Cambridge, England in 1251 as he prayed for help for the oppressed Carmelite Order. Our Lady presented him with the scapular and told him to wear it to receive special graces and that whoever died wearing it would not suffer “eternal fire”. (Amazing Graces)  Our Lady said, “Wear the Scapular devoutly and perseveringly.  It is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.” The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has become one of the more popular sacramentals of the Church.  As with all devotional scapulars, the wearer must be enrolled in the Confraternity by a priest. (Scapular Medal)

Scapular refers to either the monastic scapular or the devotional scapular. The monastic scapular is a long piece of material worn like an apron by religious orders as a part of the habit. The devotional scapular is made up of two small pieces of cloth, wood or laminated paper upon which are mounted a religious image joined by a ribbon, rope or string, mimicking the monastic scapular. When worn, one square typically hangs down the front on a person’s chest and the other square hangs down the back. In the 7th century, the Rule of St. Benedict refers to the use of scapulars as a part of the religious habit, an outer material the width of the chest from shoulder to shoulder, down the front and the back almost to the feet. The most popular devotional scapular is the Brown Scapular also known as the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.(Amazing Graces)

In 1910, the Holy Office approved the Scapular medal to be worn in place of the cloth scapular. The medal must have the Sacred Heart of Jesus on one side and the Blessed Mother on the opposite side. Typically the image on the reverse side is Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  (Scapular Medal)