That June-December of my life flew by! I worked part-time at another gift shop downtown to make a little money until our shop opened. On days I wasn’t working, I helped work on the building. As you look at all of my pictures, you might be imagining a very large work crew that got this place whipped into shape in such a short period of time, but you would be wrong! Dad and Lisa, with the help of a couple of paid workers, lots of family, and many sweet volunteers, moved mountains that summer. I have never done so much painting in my life!
In the meantime, I had found a little house to rent just around the corner from the house I grew up in, but it too needed a lot of work. I spent my nights (with my sweet family helping) working on what was to be my home for the next 12 years. (Long before I began my Alder St. Renovation) I moved into my 5th St. house in October of 2003 and I still don't know how we managed to do so much in such a short amount of time, while working on the building! We ripped out carpet, refinished 100 year old floors, totally remodeled the tiny kitchen, and painted every square inch! Maybe this is why I don’t like watching renovation shows on T.V. - I have lived it too many times!
The grueling work didn’t end when we opened, as we had to move upstairs to finish renovations in time for a wedding in October! I was still painting trim the morning of the wedding while Dad and Lisa were doing all of the flowers!
I like to say I went to the school of hard knocks in the early days. With Dad and Lisa, you have to catch on fast! One wedding weekend they left me in the florist shop and said, “We need 15 table arrangements; we’ll be back after we decorate the church.” I guess I should have been honored that they had so much confidence in my abilities, but I was stressing! It seems I had soaked up a few tricks by watching my dad all those years because the arrangements turned out ok, but I was a nervous wreck! Another weekend, we were catering a party in a neighboring town. Dad and Lisa had done an out-of-town wedding and were traveling to be back just in time for the dinner that night. She had me, by myself, take pot roast for about 100 people to the venue with all of our cookers to cook the roasts, with her giving me instructions over the phone. I had never cooked a roast in my life!
In 2004 Lisa’s husband, Harvey, was diagnosed with cancer that would later take his life. This was a devastating diagnosis, and Lisa had to spend most of her time with him, traveling to treatments in Maryland and caring for him when he was sick. Around the same time, my grandfather in Colorado became ill so my Dad was away for 8 weeks. It was a stressful time for me to be pretty much alone at the shop so Dad and Lisa decided to sell the building and business. The short version of this part of the story is: in walked Matt Seale. He was a financial advisor from Atlanta and looking to invest in real estate. Little did he know he was about to get a building, a retail shop, a floral and event business, a café, and a wife!
The years rocked on as we continued catering events, making prom and wedding flowers, and keeping the shop going. I have been involved in over 37 weddings and rehearsal suppers, countless smaller parties, and more funerals than I could ever count.
If it seems this post has been more like the story of the last 15 years of my life rather than just the history of my business, it is because they are so connected, I could never attempt to separate them. This shop and what it means to our little town is all I know. It has been my everything. I am humbled when I think of all of the people that have loved and supported me personally over the last 15 years. Without your support and prayers (and checking for my horns from time to time), I would have succumbed to stress and discouragement many times. I can’t wrap this up without a very special Thank You to my parents! You are such an example of selfless love, always there to help, no matter what the problem is. Water, termites, absent employees, plumbing problems, leaky roofs, holiday baking; nothing keeps you from running to my aid!
15 years of perspective has helped me to see that time and time again, the Lord has provided just what we need, when we need it. I know He will do the same for the next 15!