Tag Archives: Shirley’s Popcorn

Risky business pays off

In the nearly 30 years that we’ve been married, we haven’t taken many risks, except for buying three houses and having two children. For the most part, we’re cautious — probably overcautious — he more than I. Blame that on the fact that I’m the only girl in a family of four older brothers — they taught me to do things that our parents never knew about until after the fact.

Then, a little more than a year ago, we faced a risky situation that put us both into a little tizzy. For the first time in our married life, we were facing life on a single income — except for some freelance income that helped to pad our panicky selves. We were no different from all those others who had been laid off or fired from jobs, except maybe for the fact that we’d always been cautious. Cheap. Thrifty might be a better word.

In our conversations following the incident that set us back to one income (mine), we talked about what options we had. There were, of course, the usual unemployment checks that would boost things for awhile. But those would eventually end. So we began to brainstorm about how we could combine our skills to start our own business. In the beginning, we saw it as a way for us to avoid the dangers of unemployment — the depression, the fears, the anger, the tension.

In a way, it was almost more of a therapeutic plan but as it began to take shape, we consulted with experts on small business and slowly began to realize that it just might work. With the help of Ryan Lowry, our technology guru, we set about designing a website that would allow us to do exactly what we love — community journalism. Small-town stuff. No national news. A few false starts and we were on our way to going live.

We knew we didn’t want this to cost our readers.  We wanted to keep them out of the financial equation. With two daughters of 20-something ages, and with some students and interns-to-be who are connected at the hip to the Internet, this product had to easily accessible and interesting to all ages.

That’s what led us to the name. As has been our habit for the past 30 years, we talk. A lot. In the car, over dinner, on walks, with our kids, without our kids, with our siblings. In fact, we were in the car driving somewhere, when the perfect name came up. Fred was listing the various names that friends and family had suggested. None sounded quite right. I suddenly realized there was a computer-related word that was perfect. Icon.

Thus the name was born. The Bluffton Icon. Perfect. Short and easy to spell. Its simplicity reeked of technology.

And so, we began The Bluffton Icon. Slowly, Fred and Ryan worked through the technical stuff until we were ready to go live. The date was September 22, 2009. We had seven viewers and while we don’t know who they were, we have our suspicions. I have four siblings, he has two, and there’s that guy out in Reston, VA., who is probably our most loyal supporter, next to our two daughters, Lindsay and Anne. Oh, that’s nine.

Like Jack’s Beanstalk, the Icon grew and grew to today’s version. We owe so much to our advertisers who believed in what we proposed to them. Then there are our readers, our constant supporters. It’s a thrill to overhear someone say they read it on the Icon. We’re heading averaging 500 views a day and we compute that to be about 1,200 unique individuals over the period of a month. 50 states. Viewer on every continent except Antarctica and we’d love to talk with someone there.

It’s difficult to express our thanks to our supporters, but we’re going to try. We’ve planned a one-year celebration from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Common Grounds, 121 S. Main St., Bluffton. We’ll have Bluffton Icon coffee (courtesy of Common Grounds), Bluffton Icon popcorn from Shirley’s, and cake and cupcakes from Little Black Apron. Even giveaways. And lots of conversation.

Hope to see you there!

Camper portapots? Dick the Bruiser? Spike Jones? The real meaning behind those search terms…

I find it immensely amusing to see what search terms have led readers to my blog. Take “camper portapots” for example. I’m sure the last thing this person expected to pop up in his or her Google search was my blog. But find it he did and for some reason he actually opened it up. I thought that was kind of funny, but I’m probably the only person who cares. You probably think that’s pretty boring.

There are only two people I know who enjoy this kind of thing other than myself. My husband and Ryan Lowry. Like the buzzards hovering over the woods behind our house, the two of them are glued to the stats on the Bluffton Icon, our online news source.  Oh yeah, my brother and sister-in-law watch the stats on their blogs too. Does that mean we have big egos or are just easily entertained by simple things?

I prefer to think it’s the latter.

Here are some of the other search terms that have led readers to my blog. I wonder what they thought of it? I wish they’d make comments so I know who they are.

  • Coral Naylor Florida (C is my co-worker and she does NOT live in Florida, so apparently there are other Corals)
  • Tiny campers, fixed-up campers, vintage campers Craigslist (etc.)
  • creating room with skewed perspective (is this some kind of feng shui?)
  • Mary Pink Mary blog
  • hair cut short
  • how not to have a skewed up thinking
  • Scott Hamilton Schwachman diamond (?)
  • Scott Hamilton skate to Spike Jones (see a thread here?)
  • Spike Jone (sic) typewriter wong (sic) (??)
  • Dick the Bruiser vs. the Sheik story
  • Pete and Kim Suter, Shannon (Pete teaches at Bluffton University, where I work, and he and Kim own the Shannon Theater and Shirley’s Popcorn)
  • boredom in a small town (this is a recurring search term)

And of course, my all-time favorite….

  • Truckin bozo Dale Sommers

Okay, I understand where some of these terms come from and I understand why people would do searches with them. As for the others…gotta say I’m flummoxed. If you can figure it out, fill me in.