Friday, January 15, 2010

The End of One Era and The Start of Another

It's Friday night and I'm eating asparagus for dinner, the way my great friend Susan taught me. I'm washing it down with a Miller High, drinkable beer that I can buy across the street for under $7.00. My usual choice would be Blue Moon, or Christian Moerlein, or maybe Sam Adams. They don't sell those across the street.

Work today was like night and day in one 7 hour period. For most of the day, we had a steady stream of people but it never got overwhelming. Then, at almost exactly 4:15pm, both doors opened and people gushed in like tidal waves that crashed in a sea of fabric and beads. I can't remember the last time I cut so much fabric, so quickly. All of the fabric is 75% off, starting today. I suppose people still had to work, which is why the slam came so late. Even though we technically close at 5, we still had people in line at 6:20pm. I was cleaning up the aftermath and noticed that yes, we are selling out of stuff, and it will be gone very soon. It was the longest 9 hour day I've worked in a very long time.

There was a moment of zen when I looked up in the crowd and saw about 8 of my favorite 50 customers all shopping. I felt like something part of something bigger, like as souls we were supposed to cross paths for a while. Had I thought about it longer, while I caught my breath and cleared my head, I would have surely started to cry. I have helped all of those people over the years with their quilting and beading projects....and have been able to get to know them more as people and not just customers. And nowhere else would I have met all of them. It was St Theresa Textile Trove that brought them into my life over and over again. Fortunately in the last couple of days I've been able to say goodbye to many good customers who I've always enjoyed having around...lots of sincere hugs and thank-you's. Tomorrow is my last day there, the cap on 10 years of intense work in the best store in Cincinnati. It'll probably be so busy because of the sale that the day will fly by before I can feel the looming sadness of the loss of such a great store.

But really, lots of great stores and come and gone. Remember God Save the Queen and Woodsprite on Vine? Aquarius Bookstore (over 20 years!) on lower Main? Lots of hardworking people have had great shops and have had to close their doors for whatever reason, but we all just keep on keepin' on. And new awesome stores will open up when the void gets to be too big.

So Monday is my New Beginning....a Clean Slate. I'll be starting over at the bottom. Which is really where I need to be now. Being "in charge" for so many years has been rewarding and challenging, but honestly, now I just want to be told what to do. I want to learn the ropes of Half Price Books starting with the floor, then proceeding to the corners, then the walls, then the shelves, the books, the signs, the everything. I look forward to a broader customer base in a different part of town, working with lots more people (including MEN!...I haven't worked with guys for 11 years....luckily I get along pretty darn well with that half of the species). I look forward to an expansion of my peer group, and even a new circle of friends. This change couldn't come at a better time....and I'm so ready for it. Many of my regular Trove customers have vowed to follow me to Half Price Books. I believe them, and I will smile and help them find the book or DVD or CD or vinyl record or whatever they are looking for, just like I helped them at the Trove.

St Theresa's will literally be a memory in a very short period of time. It's unlikely that I will get there between Sunday and the 31st...the official last day of business. All of the staff is going to be there on the 31st....I imagine we will be sipping wine between customers, reminiscing, crying, laughing, enjoying our one last big HURRAH before the paper goes up in the window. I wonder how many customers have no idea we're closing. Once the store is closed, I wonder how many people will drive x number of hours to shop, only to find us empty. (Note to reader: If your favorite store has an email newsletter, JOIN IT. That's how you find out important stuff like this.)

All I can say at this point is that it has been an honor and a privilege to work at the Trove. It has certainly been a character-building experience, and I know that much of how I work at Half Price Books will be a direct result of what I learned at the Trove. I hope that if you Cincinnati locals are able to stop by tomorrow, that you will. I'd love to see you. It may be crazy and I may only be able to squeeze in a desperate "hello", but I will remember that you came by!