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,