Last week, this writer decided to get around to replacing the torn upholstery on two office chairs. Overuse and age had left both seats shredded. Visiting dogs may have speeded the process along.

A staple gun was found at home and another older one on the shelves of the storeroom at The Valley Reporter. Neither had any staples. A trip to Bisbee’s was in order.

Kim Martino offered directions to the staple section for staple guns, but that search was unsuccessful. Both staple guns were examined at the front counter. The home model was pronounced dead for the moment because it was lacking the piece that holds the staples in.

Kim and Ed Brown worked hard to find the right staples, pulling more and more off the rack, even opening sealed packages. After 25 minutes or so, it seemed that there were none that fit The Valley Reporter’s staple gun and plans were made to spend $15 on a new one.

Enter John Rousseau, fixer of things. John refused to accept that there were no staples to fit the staple gun and after another 15 minutes found them and a $4.23 purchase of a box of the appropriate staples was made.

John took the stapler with no closure piece with a promise to order one.

Three Bisbee’s employees worked with one customer for 40 minutes to solve a problem and make a $4.23 sale. And to find a way to fix a dead stapler rather than throw it away and purchase still yet another one.

This defines why so many people find it preferable to shop locally versus drive 45 minutes up the highway to the big box stores where there would have been walls of staple guns and staples but no Kim, Ed or John who cared enough to spend the time to really solve the problem.

Their effort may have yielded only $4.23 in sales, but it earned the store countless dollars in customer loyalty. It also kept two staple guns from going into the trash or the recycling – also a happy outcome.

And the reupholstered chairs? They look amazing, thanks in no small part to a co-worker who found upholstering fun the way Tom Sawyer’s friends decided painting fences was fun.

Feel free to stop by and check them out.  If this newspapering career doesn’t work out, there may be a second career in recovering office chairs.