Posted February 17th, 2013 @ 02:02pm by: Site Admin
This is the middle of January and life is in a different place once again.
I have struggled with my blog since the very beginning not knowing what to do on it or what to say so I have been pretty vague and just addressed the products......I have not wanted to be personal or share too much. At this point in my life I think I want to share the reality of what it takes to do what I do and all the others who work in this business. Of course each of us has our own story and we all go thru our own trials and tribulations but basically how to run this business is the same for all of us, Darn hard work in every aspect of the imagination.
When I started doing this 10 years ago I distinctly remember standing in a thrift store buying wonderful things and thinking, wouldn't it be wonderful if I could make a business buying and selling these treasures?
To give you a readers digest of who I am and how I got to that point is....
I was born and raised in a small town in Canada where my Father was an affluent man and I lived in a very small way.
My best friend, my Mother got alzheimers, my marriage of 24 years dissolved, my Mother died, my Father got very very ill, my financial stability was gone, took care of Father with Sister and others for 2 years, Father died, met and fell in love with now husband and moved to big city in different country. Received inheritance, and this is where my new story begins.
I was priviledged my whole life. I never had to worry about anything materialistic. I always worked hard because my parents were very very hard workers and I worked side by side with my Mother. She taught me how to keep a beautiful home, how to clean, how to cook, how to entertain etc........ I spent everyday of my married life with her, again small town mentality. I got married at 17 and had 3 children by the time I was 22. I was either at her house helping her or she was at my house helping me. In one respect it was a wonderful excistence. I loved being with her and my children benefited by the love of both of us at the same time. We did everything together, cleaned, laundry, cook, everything that needed to be done we did together.( miss her terribly)
One of my Mothers greatest gifts is she could do anything. She could fix anything. She could make a stump look pretty and she taught me how to do that as well. That is the beginning of not wanting to waste anything and change something broken or ugly into something useful and pretty once again. She helped me look beyond what I could see in front of me.
Although she taught me alot it was my 6 year old daughter Katie who taught me about recycling even when I didn't want to. At that time recycling wasn't the way of the world at all. She was before her time. She got her Dad to make her a stick with a nail on the end of it so she could go and clean playgrounds of it's garbage and recycle what she could and to my dismay she would bring it all home and sort and make sure I got it to the right places, because at that time we didn't have recycle pick up.
She drove me crazy by following me around making sure I recycled and I didn't throw anything that shouldn't be in the garbage. As a Mother wanting to support her in her beliefs, whether I wanted to or not, was a constant thorn in my side. She never waivered she just kept doing it for years until I finally understood it. I must say that it really did take years for me to get it.
I am thankful for both of the lessons from 2 different people at very different ages. It has made me who I am today in that I have made a business from those experiences. It taught me to value what is already here and how to give it new life.
I have always been crafty for lack of a better word and when I came to the U.S.A. to be with my soon to be husband I didn't have my green card yet to work it was taking alot of time to get it. I volunteered with different organizations and I started to make things and change things and take them to consignment shops. They sold. I kept doing it and it grew. I then had booths in different locations and my things sold. We then did the fleamarket in Excelsior for 1 summer and it was fabulous so we decided to look for a way to have our own store. By this time we were married and I was legal in all respects.
This was a matter of about 4 years time. We were thinking of moving to Austin Texas we actually put a bid on a home but ours wasn't selling. In the meantime Jeff found the historic Lyndale Creamery was for sale and we looked and after much deliberation we bought it. Our home sold so we moved into a condemned building on Halloween with no heat, no insulation, 1 sink in a room we called the kitchen, rotten windows, and so many more horrors I can't name them all. The building was 6000 sq. ft. of work, hard hard work. and we of course thought we could do anything. We were wrong. We did tons of work and of course it is always worse than you think it will be and it always cost more than you think it will. My husband worked like 10 men while at the same time working a full time job and helping me start and work the business. We both hit the wall after 5 years time and we ran out of money. We had to sell. It was both sad and happy at the same time.
We sold to people who will continue on with what we started and that is a good thing because our efforts were not wasted and that glorious building will be used and appreciated and brought to a new glory. We on the other hand were out from under that huge burden and we could move on and start all over again, and yet sadness from all the hard work and we never were able to finish what we started. A whole lot of different emotions that we still feel today.
During that time we tried different things to help make it work financially. The one thing we did the last year we were there is we did a pop up store in Wayzata for 3 months at Christmas time. Tons of hard work for Jeff expecially because he is the main heavy lifter guy and fixer upper and shlepper of all furniture. Well it was great there so we decided to open a store in Wayzata permanently when we sold the Creamery. We found a spot with a kitchen which made me happy because I always wanted to incorporate baked goods into the store in a big way. We had to buy all the fixtures because when I said kitchen there was nothing in it just set up to be a kitchen. Anyway we somehow set up the kitchen we set up the store it was beautiful and the food was well received but it was a terrible location, no foot traffic there at all and we didn't have enough customers to keep us going with all the expense. So we had to close another store that we built from scratch with our own hands. So this is store number 3 that we built and had to close. Getting very very tired and feeling not very smart at this point. Wanting to just quit and be a vendor for someone else.
A good friend of mine came into the bakery before we officially closed and she has a store in Buffalo, I was actually a vendor for her when we decided to buy the Creamery. Her store is Yesterday's Charm. She thought I should open a shop in Buffalo. Jeff and I talked about it and decided to do that. We rented a large space thinking we would fill it with 10 vendors in a years time so we signed a one year lease and went ahead with it and worked hard to build another store in a new town. Well, anyone in the business knows that good Vendors are hard to come by these day because there are so many occasional sales out there they are already taken. A year went by and we did good but Jeff and I had to fill most of the store with our merchandise because we could only find 5 really good full time vendors. That was way too much space to fill for one couple and the rent was way too high without the other vendors.So once again we decided to close on this big space and move into a much smaller space around the corner. I brought the vendors with me and we went from 3000 sq. ft. to 600 sq.ft. and it was a huge change.
I had decided to go into the Buffalo Nickel as well because there wasn't room for them and all of my stuff in the new smaller store.
So Jeff and I once again moved out of the big store into the little store and setting it up and moved into the Buffalo Nickel up and downstairs. I very quickly realized that I couldn't do both and do them well so I decided to close my store and just be in the Nickel. I thought that was the best choice for all concerned. We moved towards that end and after 2 months of being at the nickel and getting ready to close my doors I couldn't do it. I couldn't let all that we had done to have our own store just go away. I knew that I was going to look like an idiot by changing my mind once again but it didn't matter I had to be true to us and what we have worked so hard to build and give it one last shot.
So, we knew we couldn't do both so with much sadness Jeff told Donna at the Nickel that we had to leave. I was too chicken to tell her because I felt so bad in letting her down and she had done so much to help us and make our spaces lovely and it truly is an honor to be in such a wonderful shop. She was so wonderful to us yet again it made the decision even harder. Who knows, maybe we will keep a small spot there if we can manage it, we are still there until the end of the month.
Another change is that we are not going to have Vendors any longer. I want the store to be mine to do with as I want. It isn't big enough to share with other full time vendors. I was sad to see the girls go because each one of them is great and they helped me so much this past year but they understood.
So once again we will try and make this work with all that Jeff and I have. I am going to share some of the trials and tribulations that goes along with this business so those who are thinking of doing it get a different view on what is truly involved with it. This is store number 5 and we are ready to begin again.
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