Chelsea, Mom and I agreed to each write our "shop stories" to share on our Facebook page because this has been so unexpected and fantastic. If it all stopped tomorrow the blessing mentioned here has been realized in building this thing with the precious people in my life. I'm so thankful.
Becky's Shop Story....begins in March 2005 when “on impulse” I suggested that my neighbor, Beverly, should start a candle company and I would keep the books and be her public relations person. Well....that delegation of responsibilities lasted about two minutes. Once we started researching and making candles I was hooked all.the.way!! And I've remained in my happy place when making candles in the twelve years since. During the first couple of years Bev and I dreamed of having a small shop where we could offer our candles and other small gifts. We even purchased some display pieces in anticipation....they ended up in our attic only to be sold off in more recent years.
Bev moved to a retirement community and got busy there... losing interest in making candles but I continued. And the company grew. I gave up my part time business as a Financial Analyst because I hated the paperwork there and LOVED pouring candles.
Over the years my desire of a brick and mortar shop never went away but I did let the dream die. I gave up completely on it and poured myself into supporting the shop keepers I knew and loved as I consigned candles in their shops. I paid particular attention to how they did things. What they had success with and the things they would have done differently the next time. I mentioned them in my social media in hopes that they would have even more success because someone who hadn't met them yet would find them. But, I “knew” that I wasn't going to have this experience personally.
Flash forward to Christmas 2016. I stopped in to visit one of these shop owners in Strasburg. Sharon had only recently set up her shop, Grey Vervain. It was so Sharon. Warm and sweet! I had made candles for her for a few years and we had become friends. It was kind of surreal to stand in that space and hear her say, “If I don't stay after my year lease is up, you should take over the space.” Now, I don't think she had a clue that things were going to come to a place where she would need to leave before that year was up but that she even said that then was something I look back on now as a seed. A seed was planted that made the next step even a possibility.
Sunday, January 15th God got my attention about the issue of tithing. This is kind of an embarrassing tale to tell but it is key to all that follows. Pastor Mike was preaching from Malachi 3 and had gotten to a verse where the people were questioning how they could restore their relationship with God. Mike didn't go on to the next verses where the questions were answered but I felt compelled to open the passage on my phone and read His response. God told them that they had not been tithing and that they needed to do so. Now, I have been lax in that area. Excuses such as playing the piano during offertory, not having my checkbook or purse with me, or not having the funds at the time have all been used. But as I read that passage there was a verse underlined. I didn't do anything to make that verse get underlined...so I know beyond a doubt it was God speaking to me. Here is what I read:
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My House, And test me now in this”, Says the Lord of Hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
Now, this became an issue of obedience for me. Not one of gaining reward. It was something that would be between me and my Lord if I didn't obey. It couldn't have been clearer. So, having the technology at my fingertips I logged into my bank account and scheduled my tithe to get mailed to the church. Crazy technology, crazy world.
Just two days later.....On January 17th I received a text from Sharon saying that due to family needs she was going to have to leave the shop. Would I be interested in the space? We got on the phone and chatted.
Have you ever had that dream that you had given up on dangled in front of your face? You wonder if it is a test to see if you have truly given it up or if it is a perfect gift. I answered the test with a test. Even as hope began to grow in my heart I told Sharon that I needed to think on it and would get back with her. I hung up the phone and looked at Warren. Then I unloaded the dishwasher. Ha! As I did so my excitement grew. IF only my girls would want to go in with me. Together we could do this! And so I came back to the living room and told Warren what I was thinking. He was one hundred percent in favor! Shocker of shockers! Now I knew we were on to something. If he had been hesitant I would have really had to think about it. Messages went out to Chelsea and Emily and they both responded positively...meaning they wanted to know more. We set a time to meet and discuss it in person.
We had that meeting at The Daily Grind. Both girls were seriously considering it. Emily and I went to the shop to take a look and talk to Sharon. Chelsea had an appointment.
Over the next few days I felt like there was a gentle hand on my back steering, leading and guiding as I found myself taking steps to rent the shop.
I was a bit concerned about how my shop owner friends would respond. I shouldn't have worried! They have been soooo supportive. Every one of them. One even sat down with me for two hours and poured out her experience and wisdom. It most likely has spared me much pain and frustration. Another chatted on the phone for a very long time and then sold us some SWEET display pieces. I can't begin to tell you how blessed we are. It is beyond our comprehension. I am excited to be in the Strasburg community with Tiffany at Blue Dandelion. She is a dynamo and has been very supportive. I know we will drive each other to be the best at what we do. Not in a negative competitive way, but in a let's rock Strasburg with cool shops kind of a way.
In the end Emily decided that this wasn't the right timing for her. She has dreams of her own and I appreciate, so much, that she decided to hold onto those and fully throw her support behind ours from the sidelines. Chelsea, however, was ready and fully on board. It was just a couple of days later that my mom, Ruth, asked if she could become a partner too. Now, she did mention being a “silent” partner but I'm pretty sure that was never really an option. She's been amazing! Making items for the shop, organizing the stuff that makes me crazy and sharing her retail experience from many years of working with people and product.
Chelsea has been our main buyer and visual merchandiser and I think you will see that she has a real gift at that! I'm so proud of this step of faith on her part. She has left her secure position at Sight and Sound to become a shop owner. But we are excited that she will have much flexibility as she prepares for her sweet bundle of joy to arrive around August 1st. And I look forward to seeing that sweet baby at the shop!
I'm the big mouth, front man. Dealing with the legal stuff, spreading the news and signing up artisans. I'm the big picture person. And I have so many ideas for the weeks and months to come that I cannot wait to share. But, there will be time for that. We need to just get opened and make sure we can run the register. Ha!
This has been a long story in a very short amount of time. Less than a month from January 17th , when Sharon sent that original text until we open on February 15th!! How in the world??? But the shop is stocked, we are nearly ready. Monday and Tuesday we will set up the register system. We are nearly finished entering inventory and the few “strangers” we have invited into the shop to review it for us have had very nice things to say. Yes, strangers. I literally invited some in. One I met at Java Junction next door who is from Delaware but has come to Strasburg for many years. She was the perfect person to review us. Another set of ladies from Virginia who were peeking in the window got an invite in to give us feedback. I don't trust my friends...lol. Even if they wanted to be honest they would be seeing it through a filter.
We look forward to growing, offering classes and artisan features, becoming a real part of the Strasburg community and building life long relationships from Pebbles and Lace at 11 East Main Street.
Sometimes when God makes your dreams come true you just have to enjoy the ride. And.I.have!!
Your support has been phenomenal. We can't thank you enough. Come and see us. We open on Wednesday morning at 10. And spread the word. We plan to have a grand opening event Memorial Day weekend. Until then we will be perfecting, refining and gathering the best and most beautiful merchandise we can get our hands on. Wait until you see what is in the pipeline!! It's crazy pretty.
It helps to know creative people!