Tuesday, March 1, 2016

When One Door Closes, Another Opens- in this case an Old Screen Door

 Once I made the traumatic decision not to renew my lease at the shop in falls Church I was at a loss.  What to do next.  Fire Sale? Shut her down and walk away? Neither of these are options as, I think I have mentioned, I actually love what I do.  So how to create a new paradigm? As I pondered- the same day I made the decision I saw a Facebook post from a shopkeeper I admired mentioning that he had an opening because one of his vendors had expanded and had left to open her own shop.
 Really? this was interesting as I really liked the shop layout and their style. I actually shelled out retail bucks with them (and THAT is saying something!). One conversation later I was offered an opportunity to join them. (click to read more)  Think, think, think. What DO I want? I already had a list-
 Discover and sell vintage goodies. Make more art. Write more. Actually write the Thriving Creatives blog/book mag/whatever it is that I have had in me for years. Spend time with ailing family members.  Hang with my son before he slips off to college. Teach more. Sleep in occasionally.
 How to do this? How to keep connected to the relationships that I have nurtured over the years? I am still working on multiple options for here in Falls Church but the space at the Old Screen Door seemed a wonderful opportunity to put SOME of my goodies in a space that speaks to me.  Lewes Delaware is a lovely town (we have a farm house 5 miles from the beach there).  Lewes was so supportive when Bob had lost his leg and was rehabbing.  This little beach had handicapped facilities including a beach wheelchair for heaven's sake.  Anyone that follows along with me knows how much I love my Bay sunset shots!
 So I took the plunge and signed a lease on a space at the Old Screen Door. Am looking forward to my "debut" in April.  The 16th is their Sip and Shop event so if you just happen to be on the shore that weekend - come see me.  More details to follow.
 This next week is crazy.  We have a fantastic week booked at Stifel & Capra - one of my dearest friend and neighbors, Howard Cincotta is doing a book signing on our last FIRSTfriday at S&C, old friends are coming in from out of town for the event and I 

 still have a COMPLETE debris field in my basement from the hot water heater pipe bursting. My studio and the anteroom look like something exploded.  While getting ready for my de-stash sale. AND writing the newsletter by tomorrow.
 And planning the logistics of moving everything out of the shop while negotiating details of a local lease so I am not simply banished to my basement while pondering which shows and events to sign up for.
 Life may be nervewracking and complicated. But it is NEVER dull.  Stay tuned.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Taking a leap.

If you had told me a year ago I would systematically be breaking down the physical organization I've so carefully built out of over 8 years I would have laughed. But time marches forward.

Leap year is an odd occurrence. A calender course correction to keep the world on its proverbial axis. Funny then that I am making momentous decisions in a leap year.

The last couple of years have been rough at the shop. Vendors have come and gone. Large scale neighborhood  construction projects have wreaked havoc not on just the physical landscape (read losing a week's revenue when the ceiling caved in from them piledriving the footers of the 5 story building across the street) but the PERCEPTION that there were traffic delays caused by construction (there were not). That tiny fall-off in revenue - a $50 invoice rather than a fifty five dollar ticket is the difference in me taking a salary or not.

Add to this a landlord who did not respond to rent abatement entreaties and a city that neglected to factor the impact multiple large scale construction projects have on its small businesses and neglected to ask for impact fees and a lease that expired and I am out. Done.

My husband and I refuse to be one of those yahoos you see on those TV shows like "Restaurant Impossible" who are working 70 hours a week and are 100 thousand dollars in debt. That is not going to happen here.

So sadly I am vacating a space that has become, for many, a Third Place- not home, not work, but a place where someone knows your name and you feel safe, amused, maybe even delighted and inspired.

I feel confident that my ability to create this Third Place is not building dependent. A community can be built and flourish in many different forms.

I love eye contact myself though. Don't leave me.

Losing the building will mean gaining other things. Freedom from the daily routine and new found time to write and create perhaps.

I am feeling the crushing feeling of letting people down, of not taking care of the tribe. But I look around at my neglected house, my almost grown child and feel compelled to re-engage. Phone calls with news of less than wonderful health reports from beloveds remind me that there is more than just minding the store.

The volume of the tasks ahead are daunting. But the options are many, almost too many.

It's time to leap.