Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fear Not

"If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear, if it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness and creativity."  - From Eckhart Tolle's,  A New Earth

I love this quote!!!  These words run so true to me.  Right now our economy is purging itself of unhealthy practices.   Unfortunately for some of us, we are being effected by it.  I refuse to be afraid.  Instead I live on, with excitement at the prospect of a system that will lift us all and provide opportunity to live a better life.

When sharing my plans for the market, I have said to some, "you know, with this economy, it's a great time to open a new business!"  I usually laugh after I say this.  But really, it is a great time for a new business, especially this business.  I see the market at a small scale example of the kind of business that our new economy needs to thrive.  We will be bringing a high quality product from local vendors to the community.  Could you imagine how healthy our country would be if everyone was involved in providing goods and services to their own community?  Not only that, but if we allowed other countries to do the same???  Check out www.postcarbon.org for some great info on this...

My business class is really clarifying how I can be a success and validating my belief that the market is a business that can succeed.  My strength lies in networking and enthusiasm...  I am thinking I will put together an advisory board to keep me in check and to share knowledge on how to keep the market heading in the direction of my vision.  I am also heading to the Natural Product Expo West in Anaheim, Ca to further explore what is out there for us. Please, please give me feedback.  I am depending on my communication with all of you to make this market a place that you want to shop!

And for those of you who are allowing the state of the economy give you fear, FEAR NOT, our best days are still ahead!

In Peace - Casey

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New World

Hello friends...  As I write this morning I am humbled by the words I just listened to coming from our new president.  I am so proud to be a part of the movement, the cause, the power of the people!  It's amazing that in this time of conflict and financial insecurity, I can still feel so glad, so lucky to be alive...

I am really enjoying my business class, learning so much about how to make the market a success. Right now we are focusing on market and customer research.  Researching is not my favorite thing to do, but what I am learning is that the more I do the better the market will do. As I have said before, my goal is to set up the market in a way that your needs are met.  I don't see this market as a huge store, but rather a place that is thoughtfully stocked with what you want, with a focus on local farmers and distributors.   Please check back frequently to participate in the surveys I will be posting on the blog to gather more information.

I may have found a location for the market, which is very exciting!  It is a home that is owned by a local family.  They are gutting and remodeling the whole inside and are willing to listen to my ideas on the end design.  Things are moving along...  I am so proud to be working toward bringing this to my community, my friends!

Until next time - Casey

Monday, January 12, 2009

Business Concept...

Hey All :)

So I had to write a "Business Concept Statement" for my online small business class and I wanted to share what I wrote...  I wrote it all in the present tense because it feels to real and possible that way - let me know what you think!

Business Concept Statement

Sky Valley Natural Market is located in Monroe, Washington.  WE are a healthy, all natural alternative for members of the community who want to support local farmers and the local economy.  The market also provides teaching and learning opportunities for those inetested in a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, and is seen as a place for progressive action and conversation.
The Sky Valley Market is not a corporation; it is a locally owned business.  Products sold at the market are of high quality, organic and all natural, provided by local farms and companies.  Our customers are families and single people coming from the local communities, who want healthy, organic food choices.  Supporting local businesses is also important to our customers.  Some of our customers suffer from food allergies and want a place to find products that fir their dietary needs.
Sky Valley Natural Market offers competitive prices and is conveniently located in downtown Monroe.  Customers are confident in the safety of our products and see the quality of our food as being superior to that of the big chain grocery stores.  People enjoy the family friendly environment of the market and find it an easy place to spend time.
The grand opening of the Sky Valley Natural Market is Saturday, August 1, 2009.  Customers and supporters of the market have been keeping track of the progress by following the blog, www.skyvalleynaturalmarket.blogspot.com.  Here the owner of the business reports on what is happening and asks the community for feedback so as to provide the best possible service to her customers.  Promotion is also happening at other local businesses in town, where patrons tend to make alternative choices for health.  Finally, ads are taken out in local newspapers, the Monroe Monitor and the Snohomish County Herald.

There it is...  What do you think?

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Well, it is flooding up here in the Pacific Northwest...  We were dumped on with snow last month and now the rain is relentlessly melting the snow into our swollen rivers.  Mother Nature sure knows how to let us all know that she is in charge!  

After dropping the kids off at school I was listening to the radio announcer talk about how a section of I5 would  be closed for the next few days due flooding.  10,000 semi trucks travel that section of I5 each day.  EACH DAY!!!  10,000 semis!!!  My mind when to the market.  If I can fill the market with local goods, we would be immune to these sorts of things.  We wouldn't be waiting around for the truck from California or New Hampshire.

On the flip side of this, we would be totally connected with our local farms, who, I'm sure are emmersed in water right now.  I see the market bringing the community together to do whatever needed to be done to help those local farms and businesses in a time like this.  There is an awareness piece to all of this that can't be ignored.  We would no longer be separate.  Residents, businesses, farmers - we would all be connected by the desire to help each other for the good of us all.  This is really exciting to me!

So instead of cursing the big chain grocery store because the semis can't make it to bring what we want, we see the empty shelf as a someone in our valley, our community that needs help and we find out what we can do.  The shift in consciousness is incredible to me!

So if you are reading this and you live in the Skykomish Valley, I challenge you to find out what YOU can do for the people who are being displaced by the flood.  You can call the Snohomish County Red Cross (425.252.4103)to find out if they still need volunteers to sandbag, although most of the rivers are cresting right now, I think.  Or, here in Monroe, the Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Rock Church.  Their number is 360.805.0699.  You can even call your local town hall and see if they know if there is anything you can do to help.

We are all in this together and we CAN make a difference  :)

In Peace - Casey

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The response so far...

What a gift this whole experience is!  I mean really, the market isn't even open yet and the love and support I am getting is unbelievable...  I am humbled by how many of you are reading this blog.  Feel free to become "followers"!

Thank you again to everyone who has taken the time to answer the survey - I am trying really hard not to become obsessed with watching to see how many votes have been cast :).

So just so you all know, my goal for opening the doors of the Sky Valley Natural Market is August 1, 2009.  Hold this in your own minds and it is sure to happen!!!

Peace - Casey

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hey there!

As many of you know I have left stacks of postcards around the valley to gather information about what people want to see in a natural market. The survey is pretty identical to the one on this blog. The response I am getting is amazing! Thank you to all of you that are reading my words because you sent a card back! My heart is bursting with the knowledge that even though our economic times are bleak a market like this would thrive in our community.

I want to take this chance to let you all know what me intentions are with this business and give you a little bit more background on me.

As I have mentioned before, community is so important to me. The people ("my people" as I like to refer to them) that I surround myself with are people who validate me and give me energy. In response, I try and actively send energy back to them through love and support for the choices they make in their lives. It is a beautiful thing to meet a new person and to feel that underlying sensation of having already known them... So often this happens in my life and I believe it is because I expect it and accept it happening.

As I imagine this market taking shape, I imagine myself looking toward the door as people walk in, people I have never met before, but at a gut level, know that I have known. This is so completely exciting to me! To think that I can and will create a space for our community to come together in encouragement and gratitude is humbling.

Lately I have found myself in conversations about the downtown businesses here in Monroe and the term "bedroom community" has come up. This term means that people live here but shop and work somewhere else. Thinking of "where I live" is the same as thinking of "what I do." "Where" and "what" in these phrases can be interchanged with the word "how". How I live... I live in a way that is gentle and supportive of the earth and all the people on it, more specifically, my community. How I do (whatever I do)... I try and do things thoughtfully, mindfully. It isn't the "what " and "where" that defines us, it's the "how", right? So to me the "bedroom community" label is just sad and something I would like to actively change...

So what is it going to take? What is it going to take to help a mom on a budget to change her thinking and convince her that it is better to stay in town to get her needs met than it is to make runs to Costco and Walmart? What is it going to take to get people who buy "new" clothes to make monthly rounds to the thrift stores on Main Street and find some deals? How can we convince the parent who buys tons of toys for her kids at the dollar store (they break in a minute but hey, they're cheap, right?) to step in to my friend Stashka's store, The Sassy Sprout, and buy one beautiful toy made from natural materials by a small, local company for more money? What kind of campaign do we need to launch to change the thinking of our "bedroom community?"

I have no answers to these questions, but I am more than willing to be a part of a campaign to not only find the answers, but to also help people live them. Who is with me?

Whoa. I am a bit on the rampage tonight. You all see how this relates to the market though, right? This will be so much more than a market, Sky Valley Natural Market will be my vehicle, OUR vehicle for changing our community.

I think I will stop while I am still making sense. Looking forward to getting some responses on this soon...

In Peace, Casey