Saturday, November 16, 2013

don't you wish you had a larger space?


Hello friends, hope all is well!

I sit here in my comfy chair in the early morning hours, unable to sleep, thoughts whirling, ideas twirling.  My mind swirling in sundry directions as I contemplate my next project.  But this one thought keeps circling back through my planning mode like a jagged little knife, cutting its way through my pretty plans and stifling my creative energy a bit.  So, I'm going to nip it in the bud, talk about it, and remove it from my system.

It's not a big issue to discuss, nothing with any real sustenance.  But it is something that has hurt me and put a damper on my thoughts.  Just one of those fleeting comments by strangers that stings in a place that stings a little more than other places.

14 months ago, I opened a PETITE vintage and home decor store.  It is small, just 484 square feet.

It was MY dream to do this.  As a child, I often watched Little House on the Prairie.  I didn't want to be Laura or Mary or Nellie.  I wanted to be Nels Olsen, General Store Proprietor.  I was enamored with his store, everything in it, the displays, the old fixtures, all of it.  My Mom and Dad would giggle at my fascination with the Mercantile, but that fascination was so real to me.

We live in a small town where commercial spaces are few and far between.  We live in a world where rent is outrageous.  We live in a world where owning a small business is next to impossible.

But we also live in a world where magical things can happen!

So when a small sign in the corner of an old building IN OUR TOWN less than a mile from our house caught my eye, we decided to check into it.  We peeked in the windows and knew the space was small.  But a girl's got to start somewhere.  And it would be MINE.  And it would be bigger than a booth at the antique mall.  
When the landlord opened the door, I didn't see small. 


I saw my DREAMS.


and CUTE.

And I saw my own version of Mr. Olsen's MERCANTILE.

 I saw an old building with a cute old door with a mail slot.  And an old stone step.  And a white rusty sign holder.  And a great big window for ever-changing displays.  And plenty of sidewalk area to bring my wares outside to create curb appeal. 

I saw my dreams unfolding in front of my eyes.

And it was like the heavens opened up above 13 E. Waterloo Street and shined the brightest, most illuminating light over that building.

So here I am today, still enamored with my dreams, at least on most days.  I get overwhelmed sometimes.  I get stressed out and worried and wonder if I made the right decision to open a business during this economic time of government furloughs and recessionary ebbs.  But generally speaking, I'm content and happy and satisfied.

Until that random visitor to my sanctuary looks around with a discerning eye and says it.

"Don't you wish you had a larger space?"

Ummm, hell yes, I WISH I had a larger space.  I wish I had a big old IOOF building with exposed brick and old tin ceilings and original pine hardwood floors.  And let's throw in an antique chandelier dripping with glass prisms.  And a back room just as big as the showroom for storage.  And my own parking lot.  With a parking spot just for me.  And a grassy knoll.   And a semi to haul all my stuff around.  And workers and staff to do everything for me. 

But I don't.  I have 484 square feet of space.  I have a drop ceiling and newly installed floors.  I have florescent lighting.  I have aluminum siding.  I have a "back room" the size of a peanut.  I have no parking lot and have to move my car every couple of hours to avoid getting a ticket.  I have about 2 feet of gravel out back.  And a rusted out beater cargo van.  And I have ME.  To do everything. 

And you know what, I have those things.  I pay my rent on time, because it is a space that I can afford.  I rearrange and freshen my shop all the time because it is a size that I can manage.  I think I create a space that inspires and creates happiness. 




Just yesterday, right after I got the comment "don't you wish you had a larger space?", I later got a comment "I had to come get a dose of happy from Georgie's."  And another comment "I love the coziness of this place." 

While that recurring comment about having a larger space tends to jab at me somewhere deep inside, I will continue to remind myself just how blessed I am and how much I actually love my tiny space in my tiny town with my wonderful neighbors and customers.

 "big things come in small packages"

Thank you for reminding me why I did this and why I chose this place.  
Or rather, why this place chose me. 

Because, you know what, I wouldn't have it any other way.

~ vintage love ~



Janet- OPEN MARKET STYLE said...


Sue said...

I loved your shop, Polly! Cozy, homey, and oh so YOU! I need to get back for another shopping visit soon. Hugs, Sue

Tricia said...

Your shop looks so cute, Polly! I wish I could come and visit and person! People don't realize how much work goes into owning a shop, no matter the size. Mine was just 900 square feet and I ran it with my mom and was so fun, but very time consuming.

sweetvintageofmine said...

Bigger is NOT usually Better! Period. Unless something comes along that is a dream come true and you can't pass on....stay where you are at....especially if everything is working out....Blessings! Great things come in small packages! Roxie

Polly McCormick said...

Thank you ladies! It feels so good to reminded of what I DO have, rather than of what I don't! I never dreamed how much time and energy would go into being a shop owner. It is every minute of every day, except sleep time! But I do love it!

must love junk said...

Polly, people sometimes say such inconsiderate things without even a thought to how it will hurt us-(being a shop owner myself, I'm sure we could write a book!!) But having visited your shop I can tell you that it is magical!! You've added so much personality and talent to that 'small' space! I'd much rather visit your shop than a huge, boring place with no character! So you've got the best attitude-of course that remark will hurt for a moment, but remember that you are living your dream, and celebrate your success! :)

Debby said...

Polly your cozy little space is just perfect. I wish I could come more often. I love visiting you. Bigger isn't better........COZY is better.

Kelly said...

Mean people suck. Besides, what the hell do they know? I love your shop and always wish I could afford to buy something. Instead, I am the annoying shopper who just browses. Sorry!

molly- See you downtown said...

Polly- my shop is the same size and I feel the same pains (moving car from parking space to space, no storage) and pride in my shop. Your shop and location looks perfect.

Suzanne Vincent said...

I would like to think that the person had positive intent - they just wanted to see more of your magical touch! If not, you should wipe it from your mind. I have been in many a space where the emptiness leaves the shop feeling cold and uninspired. I much prefer a place that is packed to the brim with beauty and inspiration - that is your shop!

Rustic Revival said...

Polly, I would do anything for an adoreable shop like yours! I love it so much, and love seeing your wonderful displays! You're inspiring!

Lisa said...

I think your shop is adorable and I wish I lived close enough to visit it (and you!) Perhaps what the commenter was really thinking was, "I wish this store was much bigger because it is so stinkin' cute I could just stay all day without looking like I was casing the joint!"

I sell my creations in a shop near my home, and occasionally get inspiration from Pinterest. I've overheard people say, "Oh, I saw that on the internet." And it hurts, because they may have SEEN it on the web, but the haven't spent hours MAKING it!

Bernideen said...

How very fun! You remind me of my self when I first started out - 27+ years back! Now I am 64 and getting close to retirement and maybe still Etsy! Best wishes for the Holidays!
Bernideen in Historic Old Colorado City

Marie Atkinson said...

Polly, I live in Augusta, GA or I would be a regular customer at your store, because its exactly what a wonderful small business should be-it has heart and soul. You just keep doing what you are doing and don't let those off handed comments bother you at all: having worked in a wonderful small quilt shop I know the reality of small spaces and small "staff", and they obviously do not. Hugs!

foxandfinchantiques said...

Hi Polly, I came over from your feature in Must Love Junk. I have a small antique shop, in Illinois. When I lament about having a workroom in the basement or carrying furniture up 17 stairs by myself and a tiny hall so narrow that I have to turn sideways because it is lined with primed furniture, I am so glad that my space isn't bigger. I can not imagine how I could do any more than I am doing now. I think my shop is about 600 square feet. I bought the building and I live upstairs. I'll follow your blog! Lovely to meet another small vintage/antique shop owner. Oh, the trials and the tribulations...may be we should have a support group.

awal.ny said...

Polly, happened upon you from Must Love Junk. Congrats on your business, having had one myself I know how much work it takes. As long as you love your shop nothing else matters, it is a box and how you fill it makes it important. I wish you all the success on your new venture. Alaina

Sandy said...

Polly, I love your cozy little shop packed with loveliness! Cozy is sweet and good. The front of your space screams, cozy, friendly and "Come on In" I know how that comment stung but instantly, I looked at it a more positive light. I think that person made the comment because they loved your shop and your merchandise so......much that they thought a bigger space would mean more opportunity and fantastic places to display your merchandise (just my take on it)

Dewena Callis said...

I love your attitude and enthusiasm for your shop. It is just the kind of shop I'd love to happen upon.

Post a Comment