It was finally time to do it. We had our grand opening yesterday! I don't think either of us EVER expected to have a brick and mortar store this soon after Kate moved to Beloit. Especially not one open before Christmas!
Admittedly, not all of our stock is here, even now. But, we had been unofficially open for a month and it was time to make the next step as business owners. I could have done without the ceremony, but we did pay for a chamber of commerce membership and people were asking.
We posted in the local ad circular, the Waconda Trader. Another step in feeling legitimate...
And then the local newspaper did an article on us. I did NOT expect to get above-the-fold front page placement! You can read it online here.
All our traffic came right at opening, and it was quite busy! I would estimate over 50 people came. During a pandemic! To be honest, neither Kate or I were over-excited to hold a grand opening, but it is tradition.
I got one good picture from the entire event, above, of my son and his delight over the snacks. Doughnuts! On a stick! I happily sent my sugared-up toddler home with daddy.
And no grand opening is complete without a ribbon cutting, right? Like any good business owner in a small town, we immediately joined the Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce. The above is a still from the video they posted on Facebook of the ribbon cutting ceremony.
As a side note, the chamber director did say she found those scissors on Amazon. They actually work, but I'm thinking wall art in the retail space...
Making the place "cozy"
Well, we had our unofficial opening last Tuesday. Because of the current pandemic, our wholesaler of choice wasn't fully stocked, so there are still blank spots. Some items aren't expected for a few months! We couldn't wait that long.
But, before we're fully stocked or even have a grand opening I wanted to do a quick overview of filling the place with furniture. Mostly.
When sourcing shelving, we don't exactly have the budget or space to go commercial. That's ok. The space is small. Uh... I mean cozy. ;)
The first piece we bought came from Facebook Marketplace: two display shelves with lights. The finish was very dated and we needed it to not compete with the merchandise. We painted it a flat white and it fit right in with Kate's bookcase, which we decided to keep dark to go with the checkout table. The checkout table was a one-sided drop leaf cafe-height Amazon Warehouse special. Meaning someone returned a unique, very nice solid wood table that we snatched up.
The second piece we had made by our talented Dad after some Pinterest inspiration. It's a folding pegboard screen. We could have mounted pegboard directly to the wall it now sits in front of, but having portable display walls means hopefully someday we can take a pop-up shop to the local annual holiday craft fair. After the pandemic is contained, of course.
A last-minute trip to Salina unexpectedly brought two more pieces. The local JC Penney location was closing, and their store fixtures were for sale. We considered some slatwall pieces and stand alone shelving, but as we didn't have a definite merchandise layout we kept it to these two pieces.
After several hours of research into traditional pegboard store shelving, we were convinced it would be nearly $1,000 to buy what we needed. Until Dad came though again with yet another Facebook Marketplace listing for retail metal shelving, minus the pegboard inserts. The listing didn't show up for Kate or I locally as it was in McPherson, a little more than 90 minutes away.
When we got there we discovered it was being sold by a local specialty meats butcher who had closed a second retail location more than 10 years ago and was slowly selling off the fixtures...that had been stored in an open sided machine shed with chickens and cats a-plenty.
We got most of the feathers and dust off the metal pieces, loaded them up, and went clanging and banging back home, having paid less than $20!
Furnishing the middle work room was a much less organized or thought out process than the retail front room.
I purchased a standing mirror for alterations try-ons. Our lovely sister in law found a garment rack for us for alterations in progress. Mom and Dad donated a collapsible banquet table that was well-used but solid. Kate gave up her full sized ironing board with a newly purchased professional steam iron.
And now presenting (some) of the chaos of stocking our shelves!
There is still quite a bit on backorder, but Kate and I have set a grand opening date. We unofficially opened on September 29th because, well, we didn't spend money in an initial stock order to have it sit in a closed store!
I imagine the shelving and organization will change a bit before it's all settled. But it's a giant step forward!
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!