It's hard to believe, when I think of the new friends we've made & everything we've learned.
Let me tell you our story:
Once upon a time, I loved teaching elementary school, but wished for a little more buzz, like that I'd enjoyed as a teaching principal at our rural school. I'd also been very involved with high school sports & band activities, but our kids were finished with college, self sufficient & busy starting their own lives. I wasn't close enough to retirement to stop working. I didn't want to stop. I wanted a little more.
So began the adventure.
We researched, thought, figured, & started planning to open a quilt fabric shop in our hometown. Our vision was to make a place where quilters & those who love quilts could come & enjoy quilting together. We intended to make everyone feel welcome, no matter their level of expertise. It would be a center for creative minds to come together.
We hoped to be able to continue teaching, & manage the shop. We had no background in retail, so we started learning from as many sources as possible.
We found the perfect location on Main Street, but it was being renovated from the ground up, & expected to be completed in January, 2011.
So we hurried up & placed orders for all kinds of merchandise, to be delivered in January.
The building renovation didn't actually BEGIN until January - as the deliveries began to arrive at our house. Almost every room in our home was packed with boxes of bolts, patterns, books, notions, & puzzles. (The books & patterns were stacked to the ceiling in boxes in the kids' bathroom. The shelving filled the garage.)
I stopped by the building every week after school to check on progress. I took the construction workers cookies to try to encourage them to hurry up. (Maybe that backfired. I think they liked the cookies.)
Then on a Friday after school in March, the final inspection was completed & they handed me the keys. Richard brought the shelving that night as our family started to arrive from all over California. Saturday morning we loaded up a truck & brought everything from our house.
Our family & friends worked all day to bring everything into the building. They assembled shelves, carts, displays, & tables. They organized the fabric so it could be placed on shelves as soon as we passed the earthquake inspection scheduled for Monday.
The work continued Sunday, inspection was passed Monday, & employees started arranging fabric immediately. The work continued all week. I'd go after school & check their progress, & leave directions for the next day.
We opened the doors the next Saturday, April 2, 2011.
It wasn't perfect, but it was open.
The response from our local quilters & friends was touching. It is so gratifying to be able to help people in their creative endeavors.
The very next weekend we had a booth at the Best of the Valley Quilt Show in Lindsay. How on earth did we pull that off?
We had a Grand Opening Party a few weeks later. The Porterville Quilters loaned us their beautiful quilts to decorate.
We even had the Monache Stage Band out front to start the celebration.
So the adventure continues...four years...so many new friends...so much new knowledge.
Our lives have been changed so much by Calico Mermaid in these four short years.
Thank you for your part in this crazy endeavor.
We'll be celebrating our 4th birthday on May 9.
Come join the celebration!
There will be prizes & fun & cupcakes, of course!