Monday, July 28, 2014


Today I feel that I simply cannot let go. It's just not working to look over the items in the store to decide which ones to discount and clear out, what to donate, toss or keep. I can't keep the business that was so very different years ago; many variables have changes of shoppers, the seasonal nature of this area, the economy, store expenses, etc. I've had my time; years; chances; opportunities. Maybe this wasn't my forte. Maybe I wasn't as good at being a proprietor as I thought. Maybe I should have moved on years ago and perhaps this is for the best.

And yet.....I can say all that and still want to go rip down the 50% off signs. I want to tear up the "Here's how to reach me" cards I printed up for my favorite people that I don't want to lose touch with. I want to stop hurting everyday; to not need to force back the tears that rise up during so many conversations, and I want to stop feeling like a piece of me is breaking inside. I want a chance to restructure; to tweak what I see needs changing; to sort out the slower selling items and perhaps focus on fewer of the most desirable things. I want to explain to the other half that now I see where some things need to be different, maybe that I didn't "get" before. Perhaps as I'm weeding out products and categories I've suddenly seen the light and would know how to reopen next spring better, more streamlined, profitable.

But despite what I think I see as possibilities I realize it's not just my choice. And, I've had time to try and improve the business over the last few years so if I could wouldn't it already have happened? Now there is some bitterness and I believe, jealousy over the time and money issues, so the chance to rebuild has likely passed me by. I thought I did everything I could but rather than accept this ending gracefully I'm still hoping for another chance. And yet, my time has run out here.


  1. I can relate, Andrea. I know the feeling, only yours must be a billion times stronger, since you were open for so much longer than we've been. Let me tell you a story.....

    I married into a family of retailers who owned a large neighborhood general store. My husband's grandfather opened as a pharmacy in 1926, and over the years, it gradually expanded into an almost block-long, interconnected store. They did everything there - rx; gifts; liquor store; office, art, and school supplies; stationery; post office substation; video sales & rentals; scrapbooking - you name it, they did it, and it was quite successful back in the day. However, as you know, the proliferation of big box stores and internet sales cut deeply into sales and the business faltered. Running in the red for over 20 years, the family corporation had to do something. Their solution was to divide up the departments and sell them to family members as stand-alone businesses. Fine and dandy, but what ensued was a marketing nightmare of epic proportion. After we bought in (and no other immediate family did), management refused to talk about what happened. Walls went up between the erstwhile departments, and the customers hated it! We were new owners, yes, and we were the same family, but the corporation said nothing, and they refused to let us market to the old customers. Thank the good Lord that we were savvy enough to putt along these past 7.5 years, but there was another kink in the works - the corporation sold the entire property, and the new owners (an investment group) wanted 5 times the rent were were paying, plus $1,000.00 CAM. This would've been $8,500.00 per month for us! We looked around the area for a storefront to rent, but had no luck. We thought we'd have to go out of business right after the holidays last year. I was just like you - standing there, looking at the merchandise and wondering how we could let it all go. It was a depressing time at what should have been the best time of the year, but we just put one foot ahead of the other and got through it. Right when we were making plans on which fixtures to keep, if any, a friend of ours called with some encouraging news. He had a friend that had a commercial rental - a small, 1,000 sq ft storefront with a window on a street that, while upgraded with the last of the redevelopment funds for this part of town, still was a little seedy, but up-and-coming. We went to see it and it was the sweetest little space you could imagine! The landlord is the nicest guy, didn't want a ton of money, no triple net, and no trouble. We signed the lease, and we're still in business today! It's slow, but we have a great feeling about this place, so we're going for it!

    All of this to say that you never know what's coming down the pipeline. Please keep your head up, and your eyes open, but most of all, pray. Grace will find you. All the best to you and hang in there. If you ever need to talk, give me a shout out....

  2. Wow. Lori, thank you so much for sharing your story. That is aso amazing and a terrific recap of what your business has been through. I so appreciate you sharing it here and thank you for the kind words. I finally smiled this week just reading them.