Holy shit you guys. Like, holy shit.
I move between terrified and excited and then back to terrified and then PUMPED and then…I go to the office and feel like it’s a mean joke and then we go get some painting done or rip up carpet and I feel like I lead a secret life. I’m Bruce Wayne and Batman but soon it will go FULL BATMAN ALL UP IN HERE.
For as long as I wanted a store, I had a town in my fair state of Mass all picked out. I mean, OBVIOUSLY if there were storefronts on Boylston St, steps from the Prudential Center, or Tremont in the South End for like, five dollars, THAT would be more ideal but I don’t think I could even get dumpster for that. So when a tiny, tiny spot opened up in Natick downtown, my whiskers twitched. I thought it would be TOO small. But it was still open after a month and in mid-January, I got too curious and I asked my realtor if she’d go with me to look at it. When we got there, the guy had already moved out and she had no key. Crap. We set up an appointment with the landlord’s realtor and finally got in. What I saw with my eyes was a very odd-shaped space, dirty carpet, and discolored walls. With my brain, I saw white walls, a new floor, and floor-to-ceiling pegboard across one whole wall, covered in cards. Questions were asked, numbers exchanged, fingers crossed.
Now I had to pitch it to the toughest audience: the husband. The one always worrying so much about…paying RENT and like, GROCERIES. We talked about it and he, slightly reluctantly, agreed to pitch the landlord an April 1st lease start. Long story short, of course he turned it down and then we started to wonder if we could do this right away. Mid-January is very dead. Sure, there’s Valentine’s Day to look forward to but there are no outdoor or indoor markets until Spring and online is still very slow. Without much thought, I was the one who decided it wasn’t going to work. It was just a LITTLE too scary. Starting a new business is supposed to be scary but this was like, “You’re blatantly doing something dumb” scary.
To say I was crushed is an understatement. I was SO CLOSE. THISCLOSE. The couple people I told about the store, and then had to tell it fell through, tried to reassure me. It didn’t work. Everything was there! The place! The TOWN! The price! Just not the time. It felt so meant-to-be! For weeks I kept checking the listing to see if the space had been rented and it sat. And sat. And then, out of the clear blue sky, only a few weeks later:
I screenshot it (obviously) and sent it to my husband with a note, “Food for thought for your ride home!” and like a dutiful wife, I asked him how his day was when he got home but my face probably had, “CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE STORE NOW!??!?!!” written all over it. Over the next week we went over and over and over our finances. And he still had to see the spot! When we went, it had been cleaned at least, and I went, “Isn’t great???”
He was dubious to say the least. No imagination, that one.
About 6 days went by from the text that changed everything and after the fine tooth comb had been worn down to a nub, the only reason we could both think of to NOT go for it was, “It’s scary.” And for all of you out there with a small business, you know that’s not a real reason. Fast forward to today and the lease is signed, we’ve begun to renovate, and I cannot wait to fill that little spot to the brim with all the goodies I’ve had to previously turn down due to space issues or inability to sell online because selling exclusively online is actually really hard.
We plan to open in early June. I will still be at the South End Open Market every week this season but the only difference is, when people ask me if I have a “real store” I can say “YES!” You know more details will come, probably more details than you want! BUT YURR GETTIN’ ‘EM DAMMIT!
You guys, this is the biggest deal ever. Can I remind you that I have a marathon to run in exactly a month? Suffice to say, the gas pedal is all the way to the floor from now until…possibly forever.