Thursday, November 14, 2013

Small Business: The Heart of Your Community

In a scene from the hit film, You've Got Mail, the character played by Tom Hanks attempts to justify his corporate bookstore chain's expansion which resulted in the closing of a smaller neighborhood shop. According to Tom: "It's not personal, it's just business..."

Meg Ryan's comeback is classic:
"It's personal to me. It's personal to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal anyway? Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal..."
Locally-owned businesses start with being personal. The shop owners and employees are your friends and neighbors. They know your name. They know your dog's name. They know the names of your children AND their birthdays.

They know the products you like, in the colors and sizes you want, and they stock them just for you. If they don't have it, they special order it. If they do have it but you can't get it just yet, they hold it for you.

Not only do locally-owned businesses give a community its unique personality but research shows that the presence of mom-and-pop shops helps to raise property values. And they support the community in a myriad of other ways. Did you know:
  •    A locally-owned shop returns 68% of its revenues to the local economy, whereas a national chain returns only 43%?
  •    Locally-owned shops employ more local residents and pay them substantially higher wages, in addition to having a broader range of jobs available?
  •    Local businesses buy more than twice as much from other local businesses, and also are more likely to use local banks and other service providers?
  •    Local businesses contribute more to the community through charitable giving, school funding, and other non-profit organizations?

Support locally owned businesses by shopping on Small Business Saturday - the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 30. To learn more about the "Shop SMALL" movement, follow these links:

Small Business Saturday
The 3/50 Project
Independent We Stand

Not only are you much more likely to discover some unexpected wonder or unique handmade treasure at an independent small business, but every dollar spent in a locally-owned shop is a vote for the health and welfare of your community.

Everyone wins when you "Shop SMALL" on Small Business Saturday!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ode to Fall

Fall colors in Shenandoah National Park
Days are getting shorter, there’s a chill crisp in the air.
Squirrels have turned hoarders, there’s not a moment to spare!
Must gather those nuts, stock up, and prepare
For Winter’s coming, cold winds, and snow,
No telling how harsh those chill winds will blow.

But wait! Tomorrow’s not yet so stop now and see.
Don’t rush past, take this moment to breathe.
Cherish Queen Autumn in all her majesty.
Summer’s bye, as all yesterdays are gone
Winter’s not here, for tomorrows never come.

Today is the golden-hued opportunity Nature does endow
So breathe deep the beauty of the Here and the Now.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Celebrate the International Day of Peace!

“A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued, and neither party loser.”  

                 - William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

In 1981, The United Nations declared each September 21st to be an International Day of Peace, an annual day of worldwide non-violence and cease-fire.   Since the first commemoration of the day in 1982, Peace Day has grown to include almost every community and nation in celebrations worldwide. 

This year’s Peace Day events begin with the ringing of the Peace Bell at the UN headquarters in New York City.  A moment of silence will be observed at noon and there will be a 24-hour global broadcast of Peace Day events around the world.  The Peace One Day celebration will include performances by internationally acclaimed artists in front of the Peace Palace in the Hague.

Check our website for a live broadcast of activities around the world.

Join in the festivities by locating a Peace Day celebration in your area or creating one of your own.  And maybe, just maybe, one day of peace will grow into 365.  

You can call me a dreamer ....

For more information:


Dear Loyal Patrons & Friends,
I am sorry to have remained incommunicado for so long. As most of you know, we have been in a great state of transition for several months now. It's been said that nothing is permanent but change and we are certainly proving the truth in the maxim.
As you recall, last year we first lost our Great and Glorious Landlord, Mr. Robert Dreifus, who passed away in January. He was a great supporter of small businesses in general and of Mindful Hands and myself in particular.
Then in November, with the advent of a new landlord, we lost our lease at the lower King St. location in Alexandria, VA where we have been since 1996.
After an exhaustive but fruitless search for affordable space anywhere in Old Town, we expanded our search to include the entire Northern Virginia area. Then we tried select DC neighborhoods. Then Maryland. It became more than apparent to us that, lacking the financial resources that we had even 10 years ago before the great recession, that we simply could not afford to be in the greater DC/Northern Virginia area any longer.
So we started looking for more affordable places to re-locate the shop. And we kept hearing the name of one small town from many different people - friends, acquaintances, workshop leaders, and loyal patrons of the shop - all of whom did not want to see Mindful Hands close its doors forever, the only other option available to us.
That town was Staunton, located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, just 2.5 hours from DC. Staunton had just been named by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 20 best small towns in America. The town has also won accolades from Travel + Leisure magazine, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, and many other publications and organizations.
With a strong commitment to the arts and historic preservation, Staunton boasts of such cultural icons as the only reproduction in the world of Shakespeare's Blackfriars Playhouse, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, and the Heifetz International Music Institute. Its revitalized historic downtown boasts more than a hundred little shops, art galleries, and antique stores, including three independent bookstores and two independent movie theaters.
Staunton also has a strong commitment to local farmers and the local food movement, as well as many green initiatives. After visiting here several times, I decided that the time was right to start anew and that Staunton was where I wanted to do that.
We ended up in a commercial building that, although lacking somewhat in the historic charm that imbued our lower King Street home, is still large enough so we can continue to offer the classes, workshops, special events, and meditation groups that we were known for in Alexandria.
We opened in our new space in mid-May. With new beginnings and a new location, we thought a new name, more reflective of our mission, was in order.  So we changed the name of the shop from Mindful Hands to Harmony Moon.  We hope you like it.
Gary Goodwin, of The Inner Arts Center, will be joining us the second Saturdays of every month for his Mind-Body Wellness and Stuck Creative workgroups. We will be adding other groups and classes in the very near future. Look for both some old favorites as well as new groups. We also have started working with Cat's Cradle, a local cat rescue group, for monthly adoption events again.
Our new location and contact information is:
* Harmony Moon
* 13 S. New Street
* Staunton, VA 24401
* (540) 885-1368
Please come visit us, we would love to see you!