I don’t know about you but I can’t stand these dark cold nights, and it’s definitely time to break out the logs & get the wood burner going again…

As you may know? I’m a great advocate of shopping local. Even to the point of declaring that I’m never going to buy anything off Amazon again (read it here). Which in today’s digital world is harder than you think. I’ve even changed my audio book supplier from Audible (an Amazon owned company) to Audiobooks by Inkstone Software.

November is the month when we buy our 1st bulk bag of hardwood logs for the winter. Last year we used a supplier located in Clitheroe (about 20 miles away), who I thought were pretty local. You see, it’s not about price (they’re all similar for a bulk bag). For me, it’s about receiving a good honest service (you’d be surprised how many suppliers try to mix in some softwood) from a local supplier.

But this year (based on my Amazon pledge) I thought I’d try to find a supplier even closer to home. And after a bit of digging I came across a hardwood log supplier (Hurstead Hardwood Logs) based in Baxenden (literally 2 miles away). I’ve lived in Rossendale (Lancashire) all my life (47 years) & I’d never come across them before. But they had a decent website, which gave me the confidence I needed to give them a call.

Steve answered the phone and said “what do you mean you’ve never heard of us, we’ve only been going for 40 years”.

It turns out, Steve knows everything about hardwood logs. Steve is a specialist. He’s lived and breathed hardwood logs for 40 years (as he keeps reminding me). And do you know what. Steve did something quite astounding. Something that I’m proud that my team do too. He actually down sold me. Yes down sold me. Steve said the product I wanted was wrong for our wood burner. And he lost a fiver in the process.

I asked for a bulk bag of oak logs. Steve said. “Why oak”. I said. “Because it burns the longest”. “Whats your draw (air circulation) like in the wood burner”, Steve asked. “Not the greatest”. I replied. Steve said.”Well you won’t get a decent flame. Oak is really dense & needs plenty of oxygen to burn well”.

After taking a breath Steve carried on. “My advice is to take a mixed bag of hardwood. You’ll get some oak. But you’ll also get some Birch, Beech, Ash & Cherry, which all produce a good flame. And I know I’m doing myself out of a fiver. But I want to keep you as a customer. And giving honest advice (even it it costs me) is the right thing to do”.

So I agreed. This was on a Friday evening. Steve then said. “I’ll see you on Sunday at 11 if that’s okay with you?”. WOW I thought. Not only has he saved me a fiver, he’s also going to come out and deliver on a Sunday.

Steve turned up half an hour early on Sunday morning. And based on our telephone call it didn’t surprise me. I made him a brew & we had a good chin wag about his 40 years supplying hardwood logs. Turns out this is all Steve has ever done. He’s a hardwood log specialist & extremely passionate. But most importantly, Steve runs his business on honesty. And because of this, Steve has got me as a customer for life.

I can really relate to Steve. Honesty is the main virtue our business is built on too. Our team would rather loose business than not being honest. And there are many occasions our advice leads to less business as in Steve’s case. But we play the long game & aim to keep our customer happy forever.

What main virtue is your organisation built on & why?