One of the very special benefits of owning Habitat has been working with so many amazing boutiques over the years. We’re fortunate to be sold in unique places like the Grasshopper Shop of Concord, in Concord, MA. Because each retailer has it’s own, distinctive story, I’m going to begin sharing some of them here, for customers and retailers alike. Here’s a little history on Rebecca and her lovely shop, The Grasshopper:
I started the Grasshopper shop in 1980 with my mom as partner. It was nothing I had planned for myself, but as a single mom the job seemed a possible match that would provide resources and flexibility raising my girls. One of nine kids, I grew up in Concord on a farm and learned business from selling vegetables and Christmas trees on our roadside stand every summer and winter. When my mom retired I became sole owner.
I love color and textiles of all sorts. I sew, so I like things to be tailored and manufactured correctly. Ease of care and good quality is important and that is something that is important to Habitat as well. Women are so busy, and there is a definite expectation of a smooth quick transaction and a reliable product.
At Grasshopper, we invest a lot of energy in finding product. We do many NE, Atlanta and NYC trade shows, but are not limited to that sourcing. Trade shows? We immediately know if we like or need something- if we hesitate or have to justify a purchase- we say leave it! We assume this same purchasing practice for our customers- if u love it buy it and don’t hesitate- if you are unsure- leave it! We have customers of all ages; in our area young women now are more mature and fashion savvy. Seniors are active, healthier and also want to wear pretty comfortable updated clothing. I think it boils down to one simple fact- you need to have product and service that the local customer really wants.
We have always been closely integrated into our local community- it has been nearly 40 years now-we are honored with the last 6 Readers Choice Gold awards for women’s retail. After burning down about 15 years ago, the community members sent in donations to reopen the Grasshopper. Since then it has become even more an arm of the community.
For our team we work to have a stress free environment. We like our customers and they like us… and they seem to like each other. We say there is really good energy in the shop. Along with the practice of constantly learning, always being on the look out for new exciting items, maintaining a solid financial base, listening to what our customer is asking for or may want, and giving back- these are the sort of things that differentiate us; as a team.
A specific thing that makes my work fulfilling is my interest in the ideas of social entrepreneurship. I have done a lot of course work in nonprofit management, fundraising, business, leadership, global health and public health. We have long time partnered with a local global health nonprofit in Boston- Dr. Paul Farmers Partners in Health- pih.org, and we donate all sales the first Monday of every month to them: child health, maternal health, global poverty, healthcare as a human right- are all issues that we care about and want to help with as we can. I believe our customers support us as we help support others, and these initiatives help define our communities and our work.
By far my best work is and always has been my three daughters- Shevaun is a film director in NY. Aislinn is a computer geek in Palo Alto, and Chantal is a doctor in Massachusetts.