Monday, September 3, 2007

The story continued

Well it was around late February when I discovered the store was for sale. Lets backtrack a bit shall we......

I grew up in the small town where the store was located, about four or five blocks to be exact, so I was no stranger to the store. My father would bring us up all the time when he had to grab something from the hardware department. Then he would disappear into the house portion to have a beer with Eldor and Norma would tend to us kids who would be oogling over the penny candy counter figuring out how to spend our 50 cents we had gotten from our father. We just had a grand ole time and Norma made the experience that much more fun by joking with us and laughing with us and treating us like real customers, it was always fun.

As we grew up we always would still stop in, but as the store went downhill we spent less and less time in the store. We were growing up and didn't have much use for the store anymore and were always busy.

After high school graduation I went to a semi local university about an hour away, but I was commuting. I just couldn't comit myself to a school so far way yet as I wasn't done living my life as an adult. After 2 years at the local university things went sour and I dropped out of school and went to work in a factory. Nearly two years into the factory and a near death experience (brought on by myself) I decided to move away to school. I moved to Michigan and went to a university there for architecture. I loved architecture, I had so much fun in school and life was going well. Besides the drama of my personal life I could see myself being an architect forever. Durring a few summers I was working part time (like 35 hours a week because I had so much fun) working at the local liquor store/carryout/deli that my cousins owned. I learned alot and I really enjoyed the customers, the job and just had so much fun. But they sold the store and things went down hill rapidly. I took a job with a firm in Michigan while in school and continued to stay there after graduation in 02.

My job at the firm was nice, I loved the work, I loved our clients and it was all homes, it was a dream come true. But then there was the owner. He was a prick and to make a long story short he was abusive (verbally) and a horrible business owner and a horrible person in general. Just to speak about what's happened since is he lost both businesses he owned, his wife and kids left him and he's working in Phoenix now, I hope he burns. But back to our story.

It was late February when I discovered the store was for sale and in a general converstaion with an old friend of mine from home (and now ex. girlfriend) I talked about all the times I talked about owning the store. How my father and I could work on wood working together and sell it there and open a second hand store and just dreamt alot about the store that meant so much to me as a child. I used to dream all the time about buying it and taking over for Eldor, but I always feared something else would happen to the place before I was old enough to do anything about it. That night I went to bed still thinking about it.

The next week or so I was doing some online reasearch about owning a business, just out of curiosity. I mean I was leaving my job soon anyway, what would be the harm right? So I did some research about financing and funding and all that fun stuff. The idea started to grow on me, it really sparked a life inside of me I thought had long died because of the current horrible life I was living. I felt alive and renewed in a new project. The first weekend in March of 05 my parents came to visit me for my Mom's birthday. I loved to have my family visit, I'd take them to thier favorite eateries and favorite shops, it was such a vacation to all of us. I remember being in a clothing store talking to my parents while my sister was trying on some clothes and had made mention of the store, my research for the past week and that I was considering buying the store if I could figure it all out. My mother turned and looked at me and said "you should, that sounds like a great idea!" My father agreed. To me that was the green light.

My parents opinion means soo much to me. I want them to be proud of me, and proud to talk about me to other people. Their opinion is my world. So that night while everyone was watching t.v. at my place I was online typing up ideas, and researching more and my family was helping and really getting into it. We were thinking up names, slogans, items to carry and just everything about the business as a whole.

Within another 2 months I had developed my business plan, had met with the small business administration and taken a class and had found a bank to look at the plan. All this and I hadn't even told my boss of anything about this, knowing that if I had I would have been shown to door before I was ready. My lease wasn't up on my place until July 1rst. so I didn't want to rock the boat. I had secured $35,000 in credit and ready to be used. I talked to the loan officer at the bank and sent them the information they required. He was very excited about the idea.

Well time was an issue so I decided that with the store or without the store I had to leave my job, so I met with my bosses and turned in my two weeks notice. It was like a HUGE weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I was very happy to have done it. They were both very shocked and upset. They tried to convince me to stay but there was no way I could have stayed there in that hell hole any longer. I had a plan. I was going to my friend's house on the other side of the state the day I was done with work and party up the weekend in celebration and have a great long weekend with her and enjoy my new found freedom. Then after that I was headed home to do more work with the bank, then a week later head back to Michigan and pack up my apartment and move it home. By then I figured the store would be mine and I could start work. That was the plan anyway.

Everything worked well until my sister and I were back in Michigan for a week packing my apartment up (I had a lot of shit) when the bank called. After four weeks of reviewing and stalling they decided they were going to pass on the project. My whole world came crashing down on me. It was over. I got back home devastated with everything I owned in boxes still in my apartment in Michigan and I was devasted in Ohio trying to figure out what to do next. Do I just give up and find another job? Where do I go? What do I do? I was so upset and couldn't think straight.

The next day I went to talk to Elwood and Norma to let them know what was going on and they were crushed. They were so excited about the idea of me taking over the store and continuing a tradition. They suggested that before I give up I should talk to the local bank. They had been customers there since the bank opened thier doors and knew about the business and had a stake in keeping local business. So on thier advice I made an appointment with the commercial lender and brought her my business plan. She seemed hesitant and acted as if I was bothering her, so I left her office very distraught and still searching for work. The next day she called and said the plan looked wonderful and they wanted to be a part of it. I couldn't believe it!!! I was just so shocked! She gave me a list of things that needed to get done on my end and I set off to take care of it.

The lawyer for the estate was dragging his feet on everything and took forever to get anything done. Having been in a hell job for so long I decided I saved enough money I could take some time off of work for awhile, so that's what I did. While I was running around doing things for the deal I took the month of July after I moved my stuff back home and worked with my brother at his house. I slept in most days watched some t.v. and helped him renovate his house. This was all good until money got tight near the end of august so I decided to go back to work temporarily until the deal went through. Fortunatly for me my uncle was just about to open a new pizza place and I was hired on to work there.

I continued to help my brother during the day and help my uncle get his pizza business off the ground during the nights. It was going well and finally in late october we got a closing date. We had it all set up, we'd sign the papers, I'd close the store for two weeks for remodeling and then open back up and start my new life. Well the lawyer screwed something up and they wern't ready for closing. Norma and Elwood had planned on that date of closing and were planning to leave town. What they decided was to close anyway and turn over the keys so I could begin renovating. It's a little unorthodox, but between family it was going to work out just fine.

The next week I took a break from my renovations and went to the bank and closed on the loans. It was November 4th. of 2005 it became mine. We came back and broke open some champagne to celebrate. The plan however was not happening like we originally thought.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

    I sure hope that you don't lose your dream or our town lose your little store. :o)

    Please know that you are in my prayers as well.