Update – The Great and Terrible Studio Building

As promised, I’m following up on our 2018 in review with some more detailed posts, so here’s a “where we are” update. Our big news last year was finding a new building to move our business into. Well, it’s a year later and we’re not nearly as far along as we hoped, but progress has been made and we’re learning a lot.

First, we found some of the history of the building! We got into a storage loft that had been painted shut since the 70s to find various seasonal displays stored away. Not in the best of shape, but still a cool find and let us piece together more of the history. Our tax records put our building as dating from 1930, but we have a suspicion it was built on the bones of a previous building on the same corner. The business in 1930 was Globman’s department store, a local chain started in Martinsville, VA (about 30 minutes away) by a Russian Jewish immigrant family. By the 70s they had outgrown the Boulevard, Eden location and moved to the then new Eden Mall. By 1973 our building was a Western Auto. We found some of their holiday displays, too.

As of this fall, we officially own the building. So that’s exciting! After going back and forth for a while with our landlord to try and find ways to fund fixing our roof, we worked out buying it from him instead. So yeah, it’s ours! Wonders and problems and all.

Here’s a look at the inside – our progress, our problems, and why we still love our new old building.

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“Cynthia’s” side of the studio, where we’ve both been doing much of our work as we renovate the rest.
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Leatherworking station. More permanent furniture is still to come, but I’m loving the room.
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Sewing station.
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Front wall mostly built, to divide our showroom from our work areas. Look at that lovely tin tile ceiling!
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View into Nathaniel’s side of the back… with our room problems showing in the back of the room.
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The beginning of storage and work bays being built on the back side of the dividing wall.
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Display case salvaged from another local building we’ve been clearing out. There are 2 more of these we still have to restore. Love the rolling base Nathaniel built!
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View from the inside of our front window, out onto The Boulevard.

Looking Back on 2018 – The Good, The Bad, and the WTF???

20180208_154144Hi guys! Thanks so much for sticking with us through a crazy year. As promised on our recent Facebook/Instagram post, here’s a quick run down on our past year! And I’ll go more in depth with pictures and other awesomeness soon.

Let’s start with The Good, shall we?

  • We’re still working on our awesome old building – which we are now the proud owners of!
  • We have two “sibling” businesses that we opened in support of our main business: Cynthia is running the Crooked Treehouse, a gift shop featuring our pagan/new age work, the work of other local artists, as well as crystals, candles, and other pretties. Nathaniel is launching The Olde Post Office Theater & Game Parlor, a black box theater, game space, space for classes, and general space to come and hang out.
  • We’re getting involved with our business neighborhood, The Boulevard, and we can tell the efforts are starting to be noticed.
  • We ran our first ever haunted house this past Halloween! Each night got progressively better, it brought in new friends and contacts, and helped more people know we’ve got things going on around here.
  • We made some absolutely amazing things! Our first ever major mascot cosplay commission, leather armor collaborations… We made stuff we are defintely proud of this year.
  • Lots of new contacts, new friends, new opportunities – some of which we can’t talk about yet, but I will definitely be better about sharing them when we can.

Now, The Bad

  • This was not a good year for our show circuit. Starting off the year with what happened with JME/Steampunk World’s Faire putting one show at low attendance followed by a show not happening and being out that money… then being out other shows, parts of shows, or attendance due to weather, luck was not with us.
  • Oh god, the weather! Our rainiest Virginia Renaissance Faire ever (actually led to one day closing completely – check out our video of the river!), two hurricanes through North Carolina…
  • … And speaking of that, we still have not gotten our roof fixed. We’ve gotten quotes for it, but still working on that whole fundraising thing. The rain and wind were not kind to it, so we’re currently working out of about half of the building.
  • …And because of that, we have not yet been able to open the building to the public yet. Sorry guys!

20180831_165003The WTF???

Okay, the WTF is not nearly as specific, but it’s been an interesting year of good and bad working together in really strange ways.

  • For example, fighting with our roof and trying to figure out ways to get it fixed was part of how we ended up buying the building, which opens up all new opportunities for the next year.
  • Going to a tiny show that we did mostly as a filler to try and make up for ones we lost due to weather didn’t net a lot of sales… but it did open us up to a whole new potential part of our business that is now in development.
  • Not being able to open the gallery yet is part of what drove us to open the other related storefronts… which are starting to feed each other in a nice communal way.

So long story short, thank you everyone for their patience this year! We are hoping we’re about to be past a bad year hump, and we have some great plans coming for the next year!

Last Day of Store Fundraising!

Hello everyone! First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to our fundraiser for our new storefront! We have raise 21% of our goal. Not enough for the major repairs, but enough that next week we will be starting our major build out!

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Our window sticker has gotten a lot of excitement and curiosity from our neighbors!
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Turning the office side from industrial cream to warm brown. Going to continue the steampunk aesthetic in here!
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Stripping off decades of old paint, we found beautiful old oak beneath!
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Speaking of beneath, beginning the clean out of the old basement. Yay working sump pump!

There are still a few hours to donate, so click here to help and get cool stuff!

What’s next for us? Next week is loads of lumber, so we can begin building the wall to separate our front gallery from our workshops, with new counters and new flooring for general awesomeness.

Thank you again everyone for your help!

 

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One last cool picture for you: Historic picture of The Boulevard! We found this in the shop while cleaning it out.