resellers in frazer closing.

Resellers in Frazer on Route 30 is closing. The shopping center has been sold.

I am sure the warehouse and shopping center will be bulldozed for some form of progress some developer thinks is fabulous but what we are losing are local businesses and what about our post office?

Condos and apartment buildings and chain stores and big box stores will never, ever replace local businesses. Resellers has been one of my favorite businesses in Chester County.

My last purchase save a couple of Santa Lucia straw Christmas ornaments today was my reading chair:

Resellers was one of those places that you could go and find the unexpected and unique. From furniture to art to dishes to shabby chic oriental rugs, from the moment you walked through the doors into the cavernous warehouse space, the possibilities were endless.

And no, places like the Velvet Shoestring in Wayne can’t compete. And besides the Velvet Shoestring in Wayne lost me in the fall at the lack of hello. (There is nothing like being the sole, solitary customer in a store for over 20 minutes with multiple not so busy employees behind the front desk who are seemingly only capable of staring at you but not speaking to you that will permanently turn you off to a business.)

If you love Resellers, their time is limited, so go in before they are gone.

why no one should shop at sears…EVER

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Meet our giant white paperweight.  Sears delivered a BRAND NEW BROKEN, yes BROKEN refrigerator.  They refused to come back and pick it up even though we called within MINUTES of the truck leaving our driveway.

Today was just a day.

From hell.

Our pretty Samsung refrigerator went on life support and repairs would have been easily more than half of a new refrigerator so we opted to replace it.

We have always done the bulk of our appliance shopping over the past few years from the Sears Outlet online.  My husband liked dealing with them…I had no issues until today, either.

Let’s back up to we ordered the new refrigerator.  Nothing fancy, a Kenmore side by side with ice and water on the door.  We figured we would go with something we thought could get repaired in case of an issue.

Up until a few years ago, when you got a new appliance, they took the old appliance away. Not anymore.  So we had to hire our favorite movers (Lite Movers of Wayne, PA and they are awesome) to come move the dying fridge out of the house pending pick up from PECO who does appliance recycling (it has to run when it is plugged in still, which the old one does.)

Fast forward until today.  They came to deliver the Sears refrigerator.  What they will do now is unbox it and move it into place, the rest is on the customer. It was quite the ordeal to get everything moved and prepped and ready as ours is an older home.

The delivery guys couldn’t have been nicer.  They unboxed it and pointed out a scratch in the white door.  That was no biggie as it was nothing a little appliance touch up paint couldn’t cover.

The delivery guys plugged it in and were on their way.  Then I went to open the refrigerator door.  It would not open.  The freezer door opened fine, but the refrigerator side? BROKEN.  Son of a bitch we just paid to have a dying appliance replaced with a broken appliance.  Yes, I am cursing, it has been a very special day.

Immediately we are on the phone to Sears. Only you CANNOT get a person in the US on the phone. All people in offshore call centers reading from scripts that tell you that they “completely understand” how you are feeling.  Uhh no, you couldn’t possibly understand. Trust me.

After four frustrating calls where all I get is the Philippines and they can’t help and they want me to talk to the outlet store in Norristown, PA.  Norristown isn’t going to help me, I ordered ONLINE. Oh and they keep mispronouncing my name. Which is incredibly offensive after the 6th mispronounce in one conversation.

These helpful offshore call center employees of Sears may be fluent in English to a point, but they are not native speakers.  English is a second language and they just aren’t comprehending what is being said, and can’t go off script.  They also can’t (or maybe it’s won’t?) transfer your call BACK to the U.S. Every other cheap American company which utilizes offshore labor has the ability to transfer you BACK to a U.S. call center if that is what you want, even Comcast, which I think has some of the absolute worst customer service ever.

I go to trusty Google and Google the corporate offices of Sears. Aha! An actual address and phone number with a recognizable U.S. area code.

But no.  You dial and you get…the Philippines. So I keep dialing.  ONE time out of about two dozen calls I get someone in Illinois.  I think they were related to the Seinfeld Soup Nazi of days gone by they were so rude.  “You listen to me,” the operator says. “I am going to talk and then you can speak. You are going to listen to ME. I am not listening to you.”

(SAY WHAAAATTT?)

I try to explain to the operator I would like to speak with someone in the Executive Offices specifically having to do with serious customer service issues.  The operator told me that essentially those people would not speak with me. I can’t remember the exact phraseology but it was probably the rudest switchboard operator since they first were handling one ringy dingy. They were so bad I wished I had recorded the conversation. I ended the call and tried calling back to get someone, anyone to help me.

Yeah…. so….. no…. just more  Phillipines. (And you know why these call centers are in off shore and third world countries, right? It is so they can pay employees super duper low wages and get away with it.  Cheap labor.

So I started looking around for other people to speak with.  They say Eddie Lampert is the CEO or President or Chairman of the Board.   Only you can’t speak with him or anyone in his office, all you get is a voicemail in Illinois that never calls anyone back.  I have to wonder if anyone listens to it. There is also this chick, Leena Munjal
Senior Vice President, Customer Experience and Integrated Retail.  She is unable to come to the phone as well. Very busy important people. Me the peon should just know better, right?

who to call

So I kept Googling.  Apparently Mr. Fast Eddie Lampert is just a hedge fund guy. Yep, just another hedge fund guy picking the carcass of a business clean for their own profits, right?

Here, I looked up Eddie Lampert and found this:

 

 

New York Times : Sears and Its Hedge Fund Owner, in Slow Decline Together By James B. Stewart
March 30, 2017

Hedge funds have been failing over the last year at the fastest rate since the financial crisis in 2008. Some crashed and burned after sudden reversals. Others quietly liquidated.

Then there’s Edward S. Lampert’s ESL Investments. It hasn’t failed, but may be setting a benchmark for slow, painful declines thanks to its outsize, long-term bet on two venerable retailers, Sears and Kmart.

Last week, Sears Holdings, the parent company, said what was becoming increasingly obvious to most investors, not to mention anyone who’s been in a Sears store lately: “Substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”….Mr. Lampert was a Wall Street wunderkind, a Goldman Sachs intern whose intellect, ingratiating personality and prodigious work ethic attracted the patronage of some of America’s most prominent and successful investors…founded ESL in 1988 with $28 million in seed money … 

Sears’ reclusive CEO explains why he rarely visits the office — and instead lives at his sprawling $38 million estate that’s 1,400 miles away
Business Insider Hayley Peterson Mar. 27, 2018, 10:55 AM

“THEY COULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENT DECISION”: INSIDE THE STRANGE ODYSSEY OF HEDGE-FUND KING EDDIE LAMPERT
In 2003, many were skeptical when Lampert married Sears to Kmart. Now, with hundreds of stores closed and thousands thrown out of work, Lampert defends his strategies in his first in-depth interview in 15 years. The author also tracks down the man who kidnapped Lampert before the Kmart deal went through.

bloomberg

VANITY FAIR BY WILLIAM D. COHAN
APRIL 2018

Aug 20, 2018, 03:23pm
Fortune: Eddie Lampert Just Can’t Stop Picking At Sears’ Carcass
Steve Dennis

There are many, many articles. I am not posting more. They are all variations of the same theme.

So I also decided to call up the ESL hedge fund so I looked them up on Bloomberg.

Yes really, I called.  So what?

Did I expect to get anyone to speak with me? No, but it has been the day from hell with Sears so what did I have to lose? I was kind of curious as to what they would say.

Years ago, I worked for a couple of years for a now-defunct hedge fund. So I knew whomever answered the phone would be snotty pants the receptionist.  She did not disappoint. She was superior to little old me in every way…on the phone.

 

Whatevs.  I admit I was unpleasant and irritating.  But in my own defense, I have a dying refrigerator outside pending pick up for disposal, and a giant white albatross paperweight of a broken yet new refrigerator in my kitchen, which I now have to pay to have moved out of my kitchen so Sears can retrieve it.  I cook, I like a neat house and everything looks like hell in a hand basket.

Apparently it is too much to ask to have a WORKING REFRIGERATOR DELIVERED BY SEARS!!!

I now know no more Sears for anything. I understand why so many Sears and Kmart stores have closed.  I understand why people said to me we should have called Queen, or D & K, or Gerhard’s  or another local appliance store…or even Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Sears sucks. I hope the hedge fund prince of an owner enjoys his lovely estates. I hope someone involves them and Sears in a giant class action lawsuit some day.  For the crappy customer service alone and the inability to talk to anyone pleasant in the U.S. they deserve no less.

Don’t buy a paperclip from Sears.

Sign me disgusted by yet another U.S. business that is being killed by a hedge fund.

a special day at west chester growers market

DSC_6911The West Chester Growers Market is the mother of all the locally sourced, outdoor farmers’ markets we know in this area.  (Or that is my opinion.)  They started right where they are now, at the corner of Church Street and Chestnut Streets in downtown West Chester Borough.  They are, save one exception I will get to, a producers only market. As the market says on their website:

Producer-only requires that the fruits, vegetables, herbs, plants, beef, pork, eggs, flowers we have to offer you be farmed by the farmer that you meet at market; that the cheeses, salsas, sauces, pies, jams, pasta, honey, breads be sold to you by the local artisans who make them.

Four of the original families participating in this market are still part of the market. EverGreen Farm (formerlyWindy Acres Farm), Fahnestock’s Fruit Farm, North Star Orchard, and Maple Hill Farm.

DSC_6851I was honored to be asked to be part of the West Chester Growers Market’s July 30th “Know Your Farmer: Chef and Media Event”.  It was great to be among the ranks of local chefs, food writers, and well-known local food bloggers.

Last Saturday was brutally packed, but as I arrived for event check-in a little after 9:00 a.m., the market was already jam packed with customers.  As I walked down a rear alley that T-bones the alley directly behind the market, the happy cacophony of people enjoying their morning, the market, and chatting with the farmers and artisan vendors could be heard floating in the morning air.

I will be honest, parking was a challenge.  That is not the fault of the market, that is a chronic problem with the Borough of West Chester, unfortunately.

DSC_6765My first stop was a place that isn’t yet a place which is new to the market.  The “West Chester Food Co-Op.” They are the non-producer with a place at the market.

Yes, I have been open about my skepticism.  Can’t help it, given the chair of the “co-op” board and her position as Secretary of the West Chester Borough Planning Commission. I mean let’s get real: if it smells a wee bit political, it may well be political, right? I didn’t get when I commented way back when how they were asking for “donations” when they were not a non-profit and that is perfectly reasonable.  If you are asking for money, and you ask for “donations”, it is what people naturally think.

DSC_6769I heard about them seeking a building and location and so on, and more asking for “donations”. So if they are NOT a non-profit, does that make those who invest shareholders with ownership rights in the new business? If the business goes nowhere, are people refunded their investment?  And again, why call it a “donation” if you are in fact some sort of shareholder investing?

Anyway, when I last expressed my opinion on a co-op that doesn’t really exist the knives and scissors came out from some. So, sigh, I expect it again. But I have to ask are my questions/concerns so extraordinary?  Seems to me a lot of people have them.

DSC_6770So, anyway, I thought I would be fair and give them a shot to tell me about themselves and answer my questions.  I wouldn’t be rude, but they are part of the market as of 2016, so I figured why not talk to them? (I will note they did not seem to participate in this market initiative, but benefited from it.) I went up to their table which was in the alley next to Queens Farm.

They had sweet kids as volunteers and the woman in charge of the co-op who is on the West Chester Borough Planning Commission was in attendance.

The kids volunteering couldn’t answer my questions (including how they came to be at the market when they were not well, an actual producer) and I was told she was too busy to speak with me.  The kids were nervous seemingly to tell me that, so I thanked them ans said another time then.

DSC_6859O.K. so I went about my business but will also note that I brought people with me to the market on Saturday who don’t blog, they don’t know about the co-op and one person said when we were in the car leaving that they wished the food co-op luck because the people at their table were rude to them. These are people that were completely unbiased and open to the concept of a food co-op as they have been exposed to them in other stages of their lives.

DSC_6940The make-believe food co-op was the only negative of this whole event. I remember a food co-op from when I was little. It was a really cool place. I like them, I just don’t get these people and what their eventual end game actually is. And Saturday would have been their ideal and perfect opportunity to change MY mind.  They did not achieve that, sadly.

DSC_6787The West Chester Growers Market event was incredibly positive, so back to that.  Sorry, I just feel badly that actual producers put their hearts and souls into their products that they bring to market to sell. The space that “co-op” takes up could go to another farm. To me that is depriving the general public and taking money OUT of a farmer’s pocket.DSC_6999

Anyway, I had an awesome time at West Chester Growers Market on Saturday.  It is one of my haunts, and I love so many of the producers there.DSC_6823

Some of my personal favorites include Yellow Springs Farm, North Star Orchard, Blueberry Hill Farm, Applied Climatology, A Taste of Puebla, Queens Farm, Lizzie’s Kitchen, Fahnstock Fruit Farm, Big Sky Bread, Maiale Deli and Salumeria, Big Hill Ciderworks, Read Earth Farm, Maple Hill Farm, and Chile Spot. I know, I know that is like most of the market.  But these people are awesome, and they remember their customers which is something in today’s world I personally love. That added personal touch, remembering what you like.

DSC_6889Take Lizzie the Amish Lady from Lizzie’s Kitchen,  who said to me  “You are one of those people too?”  meaning I was one of the writers/bloggers.  I smiled and said yes and then we spoke about what she was preserving and baking. We spoke about Shoo Fly Pie, because hers is one of the only ones I actually like and will buy. My maternal grandmother was Pennsylvania German so I am picky about my Amish/Pennsylvania German Foods.  We had a conversation about canning, something I have taken up again on a limited basis (I know my limits!) and the milk delivery service I use (Doorstep Dairy – they are awesome!)

DSC_6877I also hung out with the North Star Orchard folks. Lisa Kerschner and her staff are as nice as they are knowledgeable.  Their products are amazing, and on Saturday they had their DSC_6863DSC_6868beets.  They grow these multicolored beets which are as spectacularly flavorful as beautiful. These beets are their own home grown/ developed variety. I love when they are in season because I especially love roasting them and serving them in a salad with Chèvre from Yellow Springs Farm.

The salad I made Sunday with what I got from North Star and Yellow Springs!

The salad I made Sunday with what I got from North Star and Yellow Springs!

And yes, one of my next stops was to visit Catherine at The Yellow Springs Farm Booth.  Yellow Springs Farm is one of my favorite places on earth, and I also patronize them at the local markets.  I have known Farmer Catherine for many years at this point – we knew each other before her farming days began and she is one of my favorite people and her husband is such a lovely man.  I not only buy their cheese, but their yogurt, soaps, and many of their native plants grow happily in my garden!  (And they let me photograph the mama goats and the new kids in the spring!)

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I also have to give a big shout out to Vera Pasta. I make a lot of my own pasta but their artisan pastas are divine! Their ravioli in particular!

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And did I mention the most adorable Jack Russel puppy ever? The West Chester Growers Market is pet friendly, so if you are a dog lover, you see some amazing pups.

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And now some photos. Enjoy them. And support the West Chester Growers Market.  It is an amazing group of people.  I look so forward to being a regular customer for decades to come! These are our farmers, and in Chester County we need to support our agricultural heritage. You can’t get fresh produce from a row of plastic McMansions, after all.

The West Chester Growers Market is one of the finest local examples of what the locavore movement is all about.  Know your farmers, know your producers. Support them and shop local.

Thanks for stopping by!!

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