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.
Hi 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!
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!
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!
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.