Small Business Mentality

room 9The Tack Trunk is a small business in Lebanon, Ohio that has been there for years, and over the past 10 years it has come to mean a lot to me. Whenever I walk into the front door I’m usually greeted by the resident cat or dog and become immersed in the aroma of leather from boots, saddles, and bridles along with new riding clothes and just the overall Tack Trunk vibe. No matter how long my husband Mike has been away on a work trip, or how stressful the nonprofit has been, as soon as I walk into the Tack Trunk the stress melts away and all seems right in the world. The staff always greets me with a smile and ask how I am doing and genuinely listen. They feel sad that Mike has been gone, or they understand the pain of a horse we had to put down, or the struggles I have faced with the nonprofit. Katie, Leann and Mary are always willing to help find what I need and to work within my budget and are extremely knowledgeable. I always feel like an individual as they try to help my specific needs. I feel like this is more than just an establishment wanting my money but a place where I have friends, support and a shared comradery with horses and helping our kids at Stillwater Stables.

Yesterday, after lunch with one of our board members in room 15Lebanon, I went over to the Tack Trunk to buy some salt blocks. But when I walked in the usual vibe was not there nor was there the normal waft of leather and new clothes. I went back to where the salt blocks should be and could not find them. In fact many of the shelves were empty and over half of the merchandise was missing. After returning to the front of the store to find out if they had any salt blocks I noticed that Leann and another staff member looked really sad. I finally asked what was going on and they told me the store was closing; internet buying and another corporation moving into the area had created some hardships for this iconic store in historic Lebanon. I was deeply saddened and felt that a huge part of my support system and team that helps keep me going with Stillwater Stables was all of a sudden being taken away from me.

It has become so difficult for small businesses to stay open and offer the personal service and care like the Tack Trunk has been offering for years. In today’s world it would seem that the internet and corporations are the path of the future. And while this can bring positive things such as a wider selection of product, competitive prices and being able to get a product quickly it can also have the downside of creating a world of isolationism and disconnectedness. We are rapidly losing the personal side out of business where relationships and sharing life together is so important.

1077At Stillwater Stables we see each child and teen as an individual and we strive to bring the personal touch into their life. We take the time to listen, to laugh and cry together and to be a constant source of encouragement and hope. We share life together through the good times and the very difficult times. Our common love of horses provides the opportunity to save lives and to bring us together as a family. Kids count on us to be there for them like a lighthouse in the storm for a ship at sea. They know they have a place no matter what life throws at them that they will be accepted, loved and listened too. They know they have a support team that wants the best for them.

And just as a small business needs the support of their community to stay open, Stillwater Stables needs local support from you as well. Without the support of each of you we would not be able to offer this specialized environment in Clinton County.

Thus we are beginning our yearly fundraiser to bring awareness to our program and to raise money for our 2015 season. We will be having a celebration of horses, children and life at our banquet on April 16, 2015 which will be held at the Roberts Centre in Wilmington Ohio. There are several ways you can be involved to be part of our team and to ensure that we can continue our work in Clinton County.

• By sponsoring a table at our banquet. We have several levels of sponsorship for individuals or businesses available starting at $300 with various perks of advertising for businesses. Our banquet will have 8 tables with seating of 10. We have 6 tables available for sponsorship.
• By attending our banquet to find out more about our amazing work in Wilmington and hear from our key note speaker Tory Watters and how horses saved her life as a teenager. Several of our students will be sharing as well how Stillwater Stables has saved their lives.
• By mailing in a donation to support our banquet fundraiser. No donation is too small.
• By donating an item for the silent auction.
• By volunteering in areas we have available or donate some time sharing your skill such as grant writing, excavating, and marketing as examples.

013Through getting involved with Stillwater Stables you are saying yes to the importance of the individual, that relationships matter, and that “life is a gift and what our youth do with it matters! (Rob Bell)” Change in our culture is inevitable and often times necessary, but we can still keep the feel of the small business alive through supporting and being a part of our nonprofit Stillwater Stables where unconditional love is genuine, hope is found and heaven on earth experienced.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and please message (connie@stillwater-stables.org) or call me ( 937-383-7793) with any questions, thoughts or comments. I would love to hear from you. Together we can make a difference in the lives of the youth in our community.

For His Kids

Connie Patrick

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