What is it and why did it start?
The concept of SmallTownReview.com started last July when I walked into a restaurant and was treated so badly that I walked back out!
I was living in Aberdeen, Wa, but visiting Coupeville, Wa on Whidbey Island, not knowing that I would be moving to the island in a couple of weeks.
It was a nice summer weekend and very busy in the little historic waterfront town of Coupeville, Wa. I visited a few shops and then decided, I needed food before exploring any further. I walked into this very popular waterfront restaurant and bar called Front Street Grill. I was alone. The hostess greeted me by saying “sit where ever you want” and she turned and looked around the restaurant. When she turned back to me, I pointed to the only obvious free table that I saw. It was a table for 4 in the front window. The hostess stated “but that one”. I’m sure I gave her a look, as I was so put off. Then she stated that she needed to ask the manager. The manager conveniently was only about 10 feet away. She asked him, he made a nasty face, shook his head vigorously and snarled “no”. Right in front of me! The hostess then told me that I could sit at the bar or one of the smaller tables. Frankly I didn’t see any smaller tables and I don’t sit at bars. I like my personal space and generally don’t drink.
By this time, I was so appalled that I stated “I won’t be sitting anywhere, I am leaving”! I saw the manager’s jaw drop and I know that they tried to convince me to come back in as I walked out, but they had blown it!
I proceeded down the street to the hot dog vendor. I had a very good hot dog. Then, of course, told the hot dog lady about my experience, knowing well that in a town the size of Coupeville, WA that it would get back to the manager.
I was furious all the way back to Aberdeen, which is a ferry ride and 4 hour drive away.
My own business had been voted “Best Physical Therapy” for 6 years. I know good customer service and that was not it! So I thought, “businesses should be accountable for poor customer service.”
So the concept of SmallTownReview.com was born.
A side note, the next day I walked into Billy’s Restaurant in Abeerdeen, Wa. It was a very busy Sunday morning. The town was having a block party that included stages with bands and a car show. It was a big deal and the restaurant was crowded. Again I was alone. I was very graciously greeted by a smiling hostess. She led me back to an empty table that could seat 4. It was by the window, although only a few other tables were available. I didn’t even request the window! It was just good customer service. This is what I expect in restaurants and shops!
Since then the concept of SmallTownReview.com has morphed. I didn’t want a negative site full of bad reviews. Trust me I will still have those, but I really want to highlight unique small businesses as I travel from Washington state to Florida.