The Mentoring Store: How the Website Got Its Name

Dr. Duanita G. Eleniak

Recently, my mentor asked me why I had called my website a "store"; a mentoring "store." I laughed and began telling her the story of how when I was in grade three, my teacher made a "real" store out of painted cardboard boxes at the back of the classroom. That is where she taught us about numbers.

How I loved that store. But I especially loved being behind the cash register. I loved the feeling of someone coming into a store where I put things, and then they would buy something that I put on the shelves. Then there was an exchange of money, and the customer would leave the store happy.

Yet, a store means so much more to me than that. In the hamlet where I grew up, there were three general stores. Each offered something unique and they were fun to visit. I guess it was our version of shopping.

One store had a bench inside the front door where all the old men sat and talked as they watched people come in and go out. It was a social spot where there was lots of conversation. The checkout was close by and someone from the family that owned the store was always there. They sold cloth behind the heads of the men that sat on the bench; they'd all need to get up if a woman came in to buy cloth.

Buying cloth was quite a process. The women would talk about the patterns they liked. My mom was a seamstress (a very good one). She always knew exactly what she wanted. It was a real treat to buy cloth. It usually meant new clothes for us girls.

Next to the cloth counter was the candy counter! That's where I bought penny candies with my own money. I dreamed for hours at that counter learning how to get the most out of my money and still get what I liked.

Sometimes I would buy pop from the cooler which also had water in it, which was right by the bench of old men. This wasn't very often, as it took lots of my money to get it and I'd rather have had a fuller brown bag of candy.

If you went further back into the store you could buy meat and canned goods, and there was a little hardware corner.

These are the images of stores that danced in my head as I chose the name of this website. "Oh, to have my own store! To sell books, CDs, DVDs, online courses! Products I could make, and I can also publish other people's work. Where I can offer podcasts, and blog, giving it that social feeling. Where people can learn things."

And that's why I named it a "store." I loved playing store as a child, and I still love it. Stores, to me, are wondrous places.

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