Is it Customer Service or Friendship?

July 28, 2011 By Lauren and Tom

Lauren and I tend to frequent the same local storefronts often; be it our favorite little restaurant or the old school local butcher who can get me anything I want.  We don’t lead an extravagant lifestyle (especially with everything else currently going on), but we both value buying something quality once versus buying something of lesser quality twice.  In fact; I credit this simple similarity for why L & I are 100% on the same page when it comes to finances and expenses, something that I know is an issue for many couples both newlywed and vetted.

Indy has been my home for 7 years on August 23rd of this year; and Lauren moved to Indy in May of 2007 after graduating; so we’ve had ample time to find the best local spots for absolutely everything.  In addition to “quality”, we’re both also particular about good service; there are lots of places around that have great product but no service to back it up.  Luckily we’ve weeded out those places and manage to do quite well with our “spots”. 
From the first summer Lauren lived up here; we spend most of our time downtown when we go out these days
Over the course of the past few days though…I realized just how lucky we are to have the relationship we do with some of these storefronts. 

First; I stopped by the seamstress I use for just about everything.  She bought the store a few years ago from an Eastern Bloc woman whom didn’t really do great work and was way overpriced; I was shocked when I walked in last year needing my favorite jeans patched and there was a lovely new Hispanic owner with her daughters working with her.  I gave her a try and she does the most beautiful and quality work I have ever seen; and she charges next to nothing for it.  I’ve had some of my favorite jeans patched by her three times, as well as shorts, and she has even done some shirt repair for both Lauren and I.  So yesterday I stopped by to pick up a bunch of stuff I dropped off and she told me the final price; which was crazy inexpensive.  I “tipped” or “overpaid”; whatever you want to call it to the price I would have paid anywhere else and this promptly turned into a 5 minute exchange of broken English and Spanish about how the check was “too much”.  I finally won the battle and she took it; basically because I think she was sick of going back and forth between languages.  I know it benefited her a lot more than the awful bartender who automatically expects a 20% tip; and I hope she realizes how much we appreciate her skill and talent at her trade.
Can you see the many patches on these jeans?  Exactly….

I also needed to get a couple of links put into one of my watches before I start spending time with attorneys over the course of the next few weeks dealing with The Lawsuit.  Lauren and I have always raved about one of the best local and custom jewelry places here in town; G Thrapp Jewelers over at 56th and Illinois (and that’s saying how much we do love them as we almost never give names to anything on The Blog!).  It’s interesting; we’ve steered a ton of business there but because Uncle T is a jeweler in Chicago we’ve not really done any business personally with G Thrapp.  We had used them before The Wedding for some jewelry maintenance and cleaning (only people I trust with our jewelry even before The Crash) but we developed an awesome relationship with them last year in a small world twist of fate a few days after The Crash when we stopped in to get everything cleaned.  At the time we didn’t know, but the woman helping us is best friends with the florist we had for The Wedding whom we absolutely loved.  In an even bigger twist of fate they opened up a florist shop together a few months after The Wedding and have been doing a ton of business.

So this small world connection turned into a relationship we truly value.  When I saw Carol Golden(ask for her when you go in!) we wound up sitting down and just catching up since it’s been a few months since I last saw her.  It was a conversation I would have with any friend I had not seen in a while; and I left with a watch that fit and a smile on my face from our conversation.  I promised Carol I’d bring L back soon to get our rings cleaned before the fall and things start getting busy; and already am looking forward to seeing her again!

On that topic; the other plug we’ll give is to David Strohmeyer whom is our one and only florist.  David and Carol own The Empty Vase at 49th and Penn and do some of the most beautiful work ever.  Their shop is amazing, and the pieces they put together are incredible.  One of our surprises on our anniversary this past June was a beautiful arrangement put together by them delivered to our hotel.
The awesome flowers put together by The Empty Vase
So; if L and I are regulars at your establishment; I can promise two things:

1.       We love your business, both what you have and who you have working for you; we’re regulars for a reason!

2.       We have spread the best of words and recommended your business to anyone we can; it’s our way of making sure others get to experience the same satisfaction and to make sure the local business owners continue to grow and keep the chain/corporate stores as far away from Indy as possible!

We’ll occasionally mention some of our other favorite places as well as The Blog continues; but I assure you this is the only full posting about such things.  Chances are if we mention it by name in the future; it’s got the T&L stamp of approval!