If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.
When B.L. Ogilvie & Sons opened for business in 1919, it faced little competition selling coal and household goods to the well-heeled residents of Weston, Massachusetts.
If you visit Ogilvie’s today, you will find a crowded but neatly laid out arrangement of everything one might need in the way of hardware and home goods. The store is brightly lit, immaculately clean, and smells faintly of turpentine, kerosene, and pine. It is a good, old-fashioned smell. Clear, sometimes hand-lettered, signs indicate which aisle holds screws, and where to find the charcoal briquettes. Several uniformed employees constantly fuss about, tidying and arranging merchandise on the well-stocked shelves, eager to answer questions, explain how to DIY, or talk about issues in the local community.
At the rear of the store on a raised platform several steps up above the crowd, behind the wooden sales counter, Kevin Whittemore surveys the establishment while seated at the same wooden desk that served his father, and several grandfathers before him. An old cowbell clangs, and his well-trained eye shoots to the front door. Mrs. Appleyard enters, and stops to let her eyes adjust from the sunlight outside. A spry and passionate gardener, Mrs. Appleyard, by Kevin’s count, must be 89 or 90 years old. She takes a step or two farther into the store and stops to admire the bird ...