Business owners operating in rural communities such as the Kern River Valley face many challenges when it comes to competing with their big city counterparts. Those challenges are compounded even more for those in retail, as they rely far more on a strong and loyal customer base.
From conversations we’ve had with retailers who advertise with the Sun, we’ve often heard how challenging it is to convince valley residents to shop “local”; not only for the small everyday purchase like groceries and hardware needs, but for the bigger ticket items such as clothing, appliances, furniture and even vehicles.
This is the second in a series of articles that will highlight compelling reasons why all of us here in the Kern River Valley should shop locally. We will also profile local business owners and what they are doing to assure a successful business in today’s challenging economic climate.
Did you know?
Local merchants care about your community because it is their community too! They donate generously year-round to local schools, youth athletic teams, church groups, service clubs and local art and cultural events. They support community programs and local causes that benefit us all. And they don’t do this because they want to make themselves look good, but rather because they live and work in the same town that you do. When you support your local businesses, you also help them to give back to the community which they serve.
It has been a decade now since businessman, Steve Spradlin opened his second True Value Store in Lake Isabella. The 30,000 plus square foot business is the sister store to his Builders Mart True Value located in Mt. Mesa. After owning and operating that business since the late 70s, Spradlin was looking for a way to branch out further. So in 1999, when he saw an opportunity to an available niche in the hardware market in Lake Isabella, he took advantage of it. And he hasn’t looked back since. Though both businesses are part of a national chain, Spradlin is quick to clarify, “The local True Value’s are still very much a family matter.” His wife of more than 40 years, Mary Ellen, and daughter, Shawna are still involved in the businesses.
The spacious Lake Isabella store boasts a large selection of wood and pellet stoves, a business center where you can ship packages by UPS, the valley’s largest selection of outdoor grills, an excellent array of patio furniture with something for everyone’s budget, a pet supply section which houses a large selection of beds, crates and outdoor houses, a vast outdoor nursery and gardening center and so much more. Spradlin’s newest baby, of which he is very proud, is a large redecorated corner of the store totally devoted to showcasing unique and beautiful decorative items for both the home and garden. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, you’re guaranteed to find a perfect gift for that special mom.
Spradlin credits his ongoing business success with sticking to what he calls “Retail 101” – always offering his customers a wide selection of merchandise at affordable prices, combined with a knowledgeable and helpful staff. When asked what he has enjoyed most about owning and operating a business in the Kern River Valley, Spradlin stated that he has seen the valley change a great deal over the years and being an independent business owner has allowed him the flexibility to change along with it.
Having spoken about his business, we would be remiss if we neglected to mention his long standing commitment to the community in which he and his family live. Over the last 30 years, he has actively supported little league and youth football, as well as serving as a past President of the local Chamber of Commerce for a number of years. He is currently involved in the Bob Powers Gateway Preserve Project. “The valley has been good to me and my family, that’s for sure. That’s why we have been happy to participate in and support local causes. In a small way, it has helped us to repay the community for what they have given us.”
In keeping with the times, Spradlin now caters to customers who love to see what’s available on the web before making a purchase. They can visit email@example.com and check out the on-line product catalog. There’s even and a printable $5.00 off coupon available at www.truevalue.com good for any purchase of $25.00 or more in the store. So for all of your home project needs, big or small, come in and see Spradlin and his staff at 6050 Lake Isabella Blvd in Lake Isabella or at 12301 Hwy 178 in Mt. Mesa. You’ll be glad you did.
PHOTO BELOW: Steve Spradlin stands proudly in front of the home and garden section of his True Value store on Lake Isabella Blvd. Administrator, KRVR.org firstname.lastname@example.org
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