Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Closing of a Magical Little Place




If you are here and reading this post then you wanted to hear the story of the decision to close Rock Paper Scissors.  Thank you for taking a few moments of your time to learn a little more.

This decision was not an easy one.  I love what I do every day.  Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have a deep love for my community.   My staff, my customers, my reps, all of the amazing friendships I have made in the industry.  I have loved growing a business and a community.

I also take the responsibility of being a small business owner seriously.  I know that my staff needs their paychecks to pay rent and buy food and pay bills (and buy fabric).  I know my teachers need their checks to pay their rent and save for a house and offset bills.  And my reps rely on my orders for their commissions which do all the same things.  And the manufacturers rely on the independent retailer like me to buy their product so that they can stay healthy and viable and employ people here in the states and keep factories running here and abroad and continue to produce high quality products, not lesser quality big box ones.  Designers rely on us to buy their patterns and fabric, help to market them through social media, and support their work.  For all of us, this is not a hobby but our livelihoods.   

And the local guilds rely on us for space and discounts and support.  And the local community relies on us for new and interesting classes, especially the kids as the schools phase out Home Ec programs.  And all the people who rely on me to do their quilt math.  And that our community relies on us as a space to escape to when the world seems dark or mean.

I personally have seen lifelong friendships form before my eyes.  People that never would have met otherwise, met here.  Whether it was from taking a class or going to a guild meeting or just being introduced to others through us.  I have watched people with no prior experience take a sewing class here and skyrocket into the Q-universe.  I have watched women who had just moved here, feeling unsteady in a new place, get embraced by this community, allowing those women to find roots here.  I have watched people with little confidence blossom as teachers – really good teachers – here at RPS.

Pretty amazing, right?  And you thought we just cut and sold pretty fabric.  We are so very much more.

And I know that.  I know how much more a small business like mine is.  So I worked really hard and made changes and did everything I knew how.  Then I learned more so that I could be smarter and make more changes and be the very best we could be.  We missed the mark sometimes but we did an awful lot of things right.

Because I knew how much more this store represented to so many people, including myself, I had to think very long and very hard about this decision.  

But, at the end of the day, I was working so hard and such long hours, carrying the stress of owning a small business and all that goes with it AND the responsibility for others inside me 24/7.  And the rent and property taxes (especially in metro NYC) and worker’s comp and merchant services fees and everything else keeps going up.  The pressure from online and big box stores keeps getting steeper.   The perceived value of buying cheaper, and/or at a convenient time, goes up and the perceived value of local small businesses continues to go down.  Even my own health care premiums have skyrocketed (I have to carry an individual policy as a small business owner who supports herself).   This is just the reality of the environment small businesses live in today.  The “name of the game” as a friend and owner of a small business said to me recently. 

Though I know how very much this store means to so many people, including myself, I have chosen to close this beautiful space. I could keep working harder and smarter but I am choosing something different.  I am choosing to use this knowledge and time and energy and smarts, that I have worked so very hard to build, in other and different ways.  I am not sure where life will lead me but I am excited about the possibilities, the opportunities that have yet to show up at my door.  I love this industry and would love to be able to remain a member of it but we shall see.  In the meantime, I will keep living a well-intentioned life, designed by me, still involved in my community, surrounded by my tribe.

To our customers, both my staff and I say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Not only would this store not be what it is today, but our lives would not have been as rich without the wonderful community of this store.  We love you oh so dearly!

To those I have developed relationships with in the industry, thank you.  Thank you for welcoming me and including me and sharing conversation and thoughts and ideas and your wonderful support with me.

And to my staff, my amazing staff, seeing you every day is what I will miss the most.  You are smart and creative and funny and supportive and kind.  Simply, you are some of the most amazing and strongest and kindest women I have ever known and I am so very grateful for you in my life.

Except for creating my beautiful family and watching them grow, there is nothing I am more proud of than what I have built in this magical little snow globe.  Thanks for joining me on the ride!

From the bottom of my heart,

Beth

37 comments:

  1. Thank you, Beth and crew for everything you've done so far. And cheers to the new chapter!-sk

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  2. Oh, Beth.... So sad to hear this news. You know how much I love your store and appreciated all the time I spent with you gals in the old days. Embroidery group, birthday parties, sewing classes, and finding all of the unique patterns and fabrics right there to hold in my hand and see in person... I look forward to hearing where you go next. Please keep me posted....

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  3. Beth, I'm sad to see the store close it definitely is a retreat from outside world. I've learned so much and appreciate the friendship. I will truly miss seeing all of you.

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  4. Dear Beth and staff,
    Thank you for all your kindness and good advice over the years. Coming to your shop was always a healing and joyful experience. You have THE most beautiful fabrics in the world, and I will seek you out on Etsy. All the best to you for a bright future. You are capable, capable, capable; however you direct your energies, you will succeed. Thank you again, RuthL

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  5. You, your staff and the store is/was a shining star for so many of us. I am so sad that you are closing...You all emitted such positive energy...Please continue to blog so we can stay connected!!

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  6. As a small business owner in Essex County, I understand your pain on so many levels. As the song says, you have to know when to hold them, and knew when to fold them. RPS was indeed a magical place, and I shall miss you all so very much. Thanks for the good years!

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  7. Dear Beth, I will really miss you and your team of amazing women and your beautiful, wonderful store. I wish the best for all of you. Once you decide on your next steps, please keep us all posted. Lisa Kyono

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  8. so sad to hear this Beth, but completely understand the plight of small business and wish you the very best in your next venture. We loved RPS and it's creative, fun, inspiring, educational, unique, welcoming and happy vibe. The community is losing another bright independent star, and it will be missed.

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  9. So many people will miss you. So many people understand the difficulty of this decision. And so many of us fear for how these forces are re-shaping the world of small business, let alone the q-niverse. Best of luck, Beth & Crew!

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  10. To the entire Rock Paper Scissors Family! Saying goodbye is never easy, it has been a honor and privilege getting to know you all! Wishing you the best now and into the future. You will be greatly missed.

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  12. It saddens me and brings tears to my eyes. Where am I going to get the best fabric in town from now!? I hope I will still see you at our guild meetings. I'm going to miss my greeting from Beth, "here comes trouble", always said with a smile. I am going to miss all of you at RPS! Rolanda

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  13. Beth,
    I'm sorry to hear RPS is closing. I came to your store about 20-times. I purchased beautiful Amy Butler vinyl fabric, coordinating lining, and a pattern to make a hooded rain jacket. I had so many compliments and felt happy and proud whenever I wear it. I purchased beautiful fabrics for 9-different Colette patterns, and produced several gorgeous (if I may say so myself) dresses, pants, and tops. You always made me feel welcome and your staff graciously allowed me to "hang out" for hours while I made my selections.

    Thanks for encouraging my creativity. I wish you much luck, success, and friendships in your new endeavors. Please know that you have left your footprints in my life. Thank you.

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  15. Beth and the amazing staff at RPS. I have truly enjoyed each time I walked through the door at RPS. I cannot imagine how difficult the decision has been to close the store. I'll definitely be back in before you close ! I wish you nothing but the best in your future.

    "May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.' (anonymous Irish blessing)

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  16. I've only been in Montclair a short while, but entered your store with little knowledge or experience and you all were kind and helped me in my first halloween costume creation project: my daughter's bluebird wings. They came out great and I loved the store...so sorry to see you closing now, but as a former small business owner I understand completely. It takes a lot out of you on a daily basis. I wish you much happiness and success in future endeavors.

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  17. I am so very sad your store is closing...but wish you all the best in your new ventures. You will be missed Rock Paper Scissors!

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  18. Beth,
    I know this was an extremely tuff decision that you had to make. I have a friend that owned a comic book store. He sometime spend as much as twelve hours at the store making sure he got all new comic book out and on the selves for the next day when they come in. He did this like you for about 7 years. I could clearly see the toll it was taking on my friend. I love Rock, Paper, Scissors, but I also know your health and well being come first. Thank you so very much for 7 year of a fabulous store. Good luck in whatever you choose to do.

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  19. Love all of you!! You are all the best! 💗💗💗

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  20. I can't believe it. You guys have been my sanctuary and my Zen when things were not right with me. You have helped me become a sewer and do what my mother loves. Thank you so much for everything and Teddy thanks you for keeping him smiling.

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  21. Not the kind of news that I was hoping for.

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  22. we're in the same boat. Sub Minnesota for NYC and I could have written this post. Much love and support to you!

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  23. I am also run a small business and absolutely understand your dilemma and decision. Your store has been my haven. Especially in recent months, I loved the feeling I got when I visited you and talked to all the wonderful staff. This is a sad time. I will miss you always and wish you all the best.

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  24. From Malachi's birthday party (still love his stuffed dragon!), to patiently helping a novice sewer embark on overly-ambitious projects, you and your staff have always been available with knowledge, advice and kindness. I have always felt a sense of peace walking into your store, along with an urge to purchase all of your fat quarter bundles. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such a wonderful place in our community. Your little oasis will be missed, and I wish you nothing but good wishes for a new beginning.
    Wendi

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  25. So sad to see your news, but know that the future will hold amazing things for all of the Rock Paper Scissor staff. Best of luck as you make your transition. I have enjoyed all that your store has to offer. Promise to wear my amazing tunic proudly (I sure do love receiving compliments when I wear it). Thanks for all the ways you have helped me to grow as a crafter. All the best. Kelly C.

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  26. your store was such a special institution! We loved it from the first moment you opened! It was always such a wonderful and special atmosphere! So sad to hear that you are closing! I have never seen anything like your store! It will be missed! Wishing you all the best!
    Silke

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  27. Hi Beth, this is so sad. I am not for that area but my sister was and she always talked about RPS. I love to sew (although still a relative beginner), and have dreamed about opening a store in my hometown of Morristown. It seems as though it not be a pipe dream. People always talk about following your dreams, but there are realities out there that really do exist, and one must weigh them carefully. Maybe if we bring back home ec in schools we could reawaken love of creating beautiful things!!

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  28. So sad to hear this news. Although I'm not local, when I'm in the area, I make it a point to visit! I love the store and mostly the team that runs it. Beth: you are so kind and amazing. The store is what creative dreams are made of. Your selection was always top notch and I always loved the beautiful and carefully selected Japanese fabrics you had that no on else had!

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  29. Sad that you are closing. I work at my family's small business and completely understand and respect the struggle of it all. Everyday we also think about closing. I appreciate you sharing with us. Your store is awesome! I loved walking in and looking at all the pretty things. May your future endeavors be successful and bring you joy.

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  30. So sorry! I shopped there many times and took some classes; all of which I enjoyed and are so memorable. You're a fantastic teacher! I love your shop, the decor, the unusual and beautiful products, the merchandising, the staff....It is magical! Really sorry that the big boxes are winning. Really sorry to see this chapter end. I wish you well! By the way, I had to move from the area about a year ago to go back to my hometown to care for my very needy mom. I miss my NJ community and neighbors so much. It's not easy opening the next chapter; however, we will. Uncertainty is scary, however necessary to allow us to receive new opportunities. Wishing you all the goodness the universe sends your way! Julie Bowles

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  31. I'm not sure how I missed this post earlier, but I'm so sad to hear that your lovely store will be closing. It has been a source for creativity in a time when it can be hard to find inspiration, let alone guidance, to create. I will have fond memories of learning to sew in your shop - of being indecisive about fabric choices because there were so many gorgeous prints to choose from. Mostly I will miss the friendly service, which has been worth traveling 40 minutes for since we moved away from Essex County, even though there are other more convenient options nearby. I wish you so much luck on the next step of your journey. One of the bravest things one can do in life is choose happiness - I certainly hope yours is just around the corner.

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  32. No no no.... I am truly saddened to read thaht you were closing the store whenever I came there I always felt the love. both you and I have had some conversations that I wouldn't share with just anyone our special relationship due to circumstances beyond our control was truly an opportunity for me to see that in life your challenges your valleys and your mountain tops you're never alone. thank you for your encouraging words your support and sharing I don't know what I'm going to do now.�� I wish you the best of everything and all of your future endeavors

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  33. RPS has been a gem of a small biz in our community. Will miss your beautiful store, creative ideas and community building. Wishing you all...all of the best in your creative endeavors. Looking forward to shopping online. Let us know if you do any virtual or in-person classes. xoxo Lynn Trepicchio

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  34. Although I didn't know you very long, I enjoyed every minute that I spent in your lovely store, talking and laughing with you and your staff, buying fabric, and just being part of your peaceful, kind, and generous community. You will be missed! Good luck as you continue your journey.

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  35. This is so sad. I became an artist at your store. RPS is a nurturing, happy place where EVERYONE IS A SISTER. I will be there on Thursday to say Hello. Goodbye is just too hard! ��

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  36. My granddaughter will be heartbroken. She's only 2 but she LOVED going shopping for fabric with me. But thank you for being there!!! You will be sorely missed.

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