I wanted to write this blog a couple of weeks ago…but got busy with my “real” job and just didn’t get the time. I had planned to stop by Dave Smith-The Lampmaker one more time before they closed the doors permanently on January 31, and chat with the owners.
This long time, locally owned business was what Waldo was all about: area folks who started a business from scratch, grew into a respected institution and earned a well deserved reputation for excellent customer service. Dave and his wife Bette ran the shop at 7432 Wornall for over fifty years. Dave started out with a few lamps and a willingness to learn by doing. Slowly, the business grew and the store expanded, with local guys who liked to tinker with parts helped out the owners. Bette added home decor to the huge inventory of lampshades and bases. Dave could make a lamp out of just about anything –customers came by with sentimental pieces such as an old bottle, toy, a piece of sports equipment or musical instrument and Dave would get to work, fashioning a unique, workable table or floor lamp. If you just needed a part, or a lamp repair–Dave and Bette were there as well, ready to help and tackle the job. Through the years, both were active in the Waldo business association, participating in promotions and neighborhood events.
What prompted the store closing? A couple of reasons: business was slower with so many people ordering online or buying cheap lamps, disposing them when they broke down. The couple was getting older, both past 70, and declining in health. I don’t know what will happen to the large store once all the inventory is gone.
Dave and Bette operated their store in that old fashioned way so many of us grew up with: you walk in, the owner greets you; perhaps some teen working his first job offers to help you; hand lettered signs posted on the walls and the product is unique–not from a cookie cutter chain store. It was interesting just look at what was on the shelves, wandering up and down the aisles. Of course many younger folks today will never experience this type of neighborhood retail mom&pop shop–but I’m glad I did.
Thanks, Bette and Dave Smith, for your decades of service to Waldo and area residents. Be well!