After supplying the Country Hearth and Garden, I decided to start my own store, plus support my store with an online store as well. It's the only way I could control the process. I spent 3 weeks looking for spaces. Rents are pretty high in my little Midwestern town, even with a recession going on. But I was able to find a great location which has high visibility, for a reasonable rent. After much cosmetic work, the store is coming along. It just needed to be spruced up. What had seemed like just a little sprucing up turned out to be a time consuming process. Got most of the shelving, a nice laser printer, fax machine, adding machine, cash box, etc. from a local store, Talbots, that was going out of business. It was truly a blessing. The biggest issue for the store was the completion of the installation of a door which closes off my store from the rest of the rentals in the building. Found my old friend/handyman/helper who I hadn't seen in a while. Just in time too because the landlord's handyman was taking way too long to install the door. Couldn't move any supplies in until I secured my space. But my helper came and accomplished so much. He installed the new locks, repaired the huge opening in the wall (had been a doctor's office in the past and a carpet store) by removing the old panelling and replacing with new panelling. He got the exterior lights working, which had not worked in over 20 years. He installed some of the missing moldings. He installed a new sink, the list goes on and on. While I went off for training at my main supplier, he worked at the store on his own. He was really a blessing in getting the store ready in such a short period of time.
The store has now been open for 2 weeks and all is going well. It is decorated in a classy, yet simple, cozy and personal way. Customers love the taste bar concept whereby they can taste the olive oils and balsamic vinegars before buying. They love the selection of Specialty oils we have on hand. They love the large selection of spice blends we carry and have been open to the concept that all the spices they need for a particular dish are in a jar and the spices are fresh, with no preservatives, additives, no fillers, no anti-caking agents, all natural. They love the idea that in the Spring we will have fresh herbal marinades and pepper sauces to add to our current product list and many have expressed their glee about the idea. There are so many who just want natural, good tasting condiments for their food. Word is quickly spreading that we are open for business and we are already seeing the results of the newspaper advertising and Facebook postings we have been doing. This blog is our latest effort to meet the needs of our new customer base by allowing everyone to share ideas, recipes about our product line. May the Lord continue blessing as we move forward with this venture.