Thursday, October 8, 2009

Smith & Hawken...R.I.P.?

Did you hear? Smith & Hawken is going out of business.
I have been a big fan of this company since it's stunning & enticing catalogs began filling mailboxes with such lovely and needed items for true gardeners & lovers of everything garden related. Each time their catalog arrived I would pour over their photos , dreaming of the day I would have a garden of my own . Fresh fruit, flowers and vegetables -all organic of course! That was the dream. It did not hurt that they had amazing & functional gear too-my all time favorite was the Japanese gardener pants, in such lovely deep blue plaid. My 3 pair wore out years ago...
A store moved into Manhattan -a bit out of the way but a treat to visit. There is a lot to be said for being able to see & touch the things you are thinking of adding to your home. One of THE reasons I will never be a big Internet shopper is what something really looks like is so important for me. Photos can sure sell but they are often deceiving & seeing an item is what tells me if it will or will not fit, work, be useful. (That store's closing was my first indication that something was up at S. & H.)

Over the years the company changed (you can search on line for the history of the original Mr. Smith & Mr. Hawken-their reaction to the closing of their company is very telling...) and in the recession sales slipped & the current owners decided to close. I will miss them. They did represent the dream for me. The life of my parents & grandparents : where you raised your own peaches, apples & pears. A life where dinner's recipe ingredients were right outside the back door, waiting to be snipped-not a grocery store's trip away. (and really, the basil does not always look so good in the stores, just when you desperately need it!) A life based on COMPOST & self self sufficiency and the smell of raked leaves , cut grass , worms, butterflies, lady bugs & fire flies. It is so interesting to me that a store & it's items could invoke so very much. More interesting : that a business begun so long ago & it's original concept could create such lasting=life long customers / followers.That is why, when I last went to visit, I felt my heart break just a bit. I was not there to get great bargains. I was there to say "good bye" to an old friend who will be much missed. &, of course, opening the mail box will never be the same.

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