Harjo’s Ben Franklin
1) How many years have you been in business? How did your business get started?
We’ve been in business for 11 years this July. HarJo’s is the fulfillment of owner, Annie Eichler’s goal to bring a craft and variety store back to the charming town of Pigeon. Annie enlisted her daughters, Gretchen and Heidi, to help get things going back in 2004. Her girls simply never left. So, most days, you’ll find at least one or two of this mother/daughter trio up to no good at Pigeon’s big, green, variety store. HarJo’s Ben Franklin pays homage to the stores of Annie’s youth: The small-town shops that pumped lifeblood in to the surrounding community. In fact, HarJo’s is named after Annie’s parents, HARley and JOsephine Walker. It’s a nod to the two who made Annie’s growing-up years in a small town much like Pigeon so wonderful. HarJo’s is all about nostalgia and honoring the past. However, that’s not to say we are behind the times regarding our inventory. We heavily favor scrapbooking here, and keep a pulse on paper crafting trends.
2) What makes your store unique?
HarJo’s Ben Franklin is unique as one of the few remaining Ben Franklins-a cherished retail name. Additionally, we have a HUGE variety in MANY crafts. This benefits scrapbookers, who often pull from other genres for materials. Our art, beading, and sewing departments only enhance the paper crafter’s possibilities. Another unique and fantastic benefit HarJo’s offers is our punchcard. It saves you 25% after you spend $100! No WHERE else does such a deal exist. That’s on top of our weekly specials, too!
3) How do you promote your store?
HarJo’s has a web presence on Facebook as well as our website www.harjosbenfranklin.com. We also send postcards to promote special sales and we advertise in local newspapers as well as on local radio stations. Of course, we always advertise in Michigan Scrapbooker, too!
4) What is the biggest challenge that you face as an independent business owner?
Independent businesses face particular challenges. Our culture promotes an autopilot type mentality where “big box” stores are the programmed default shopping stop. We strive to remind people to think locally, and check locally-owned first. It’s so easy to get in the habit of skipping downtown. We want HarJo’s to be the first place people think of when they need or want something.
5) Contact information:HarJo’s Ben Franklin 9 South Main St. Pigeon, MI 48755 989-453-2323
Gina Karas, our guest blogger, is a traditional scrapbooker with a passion for photography. She works full-time as a Sales Assistant in the construction industry, but spends her spare time crafting with her mom and crazy friends! “Scrapbooking keeps me sane!” she says. See her projects and posts about scrapping & crafting on her blog, California Scrappin’.