Before I share with you a vision, a dream, a desire, or a hope, I will first share how I came to be in New Albany, a small somewhat sleepy Rivertown.
My parents moved to Jeffersonville,Indiana as I began the 4th grade. My father whom was burnt out from his corporate career had decided to become an Independent Business and chose Jeffersonville. Many different reasons led him to that decision, all of which I do not know. What I do know is that at the time he felt Jeffersonville showed promise for a small business because it appeared as if it was a thriving small community with growing potential. Also he could afford to buy a home for a reasonable amount, which would be their first home purchase, compared at the time to surrounding areas. They also sensed a good down home feeling for raising a family.
Prior to choosing Jeffersonville my father took a huge gamble, he quit his job, security for himself and family, not a common practice at the time. If you had a good job and were succeeding, why leave that security, after all people took jobs and kept them hopefully for a lifetime, giving all they had, being apprecitive, and mostly loyal. As he found out that was not always a returned favor, or maybe he had a midlife crisis, I do not know for sure but he must of felt strongly to take such a risk.
An Aunt of mine had a very successful Independent Business in Bedford, Indiana, sooooo we moved from Ohio into her home for 1 year so my parents could learn as much as possible about the business before going out on their own. This Aunt was a successful business woman and very well respected in her community. She learned how to be sucessful the long hard way, on her own with many sacrifices not only for her own life but for those in the family and community in which she lived. As she mentored my parents and supported our family I admired and stood in awe of her. My fathers salary was slim but she was giving of her knowledge and providing a roof over our heads and food on the table. As a young child I didn't fully understand the scope of it all but I knew it was beyond the call of duty and it inspired and lead me in ways I couldn't understand until many years later.
My parents purchased their first home in downtown Jeffersonville,where the business was attached from our kitchen and using a payback government loan began a new life. My father read and studied any and all books the library had on remodeling a home and began to do so self taught. As he did all that was possible to provide us a decent home he was also running a small business. As the good parents they were, we girls had a good life and were taught you work hard, sacrifice, and do whats right always, never expecting or demanding more than you earn.
To make a long story short the business was not the success he had hoped for or as my Aunt had experienced. After a few years my father returned to a full time job and my mother ran the business, for additional income, as a lunch time only Pizzarea, serving pizza by the slice to hungry high school students. Thus I received the nick name at school as the pizza girl.
Now back to my vision, dream and hope. I graduated high school and began a career with a good job and great benefits, following the ideal of working there until retirement. Believing my strong work ethic and loyalty would benefit me and it did to a certain degree. I was respected and successful in my endeavors but never really happy or fulfilled. The whole time just doing what needed to be done in life, not thinking on or realizing the past influences from my Aunt and Parents, or how those influences were about to become my reality.
As I became more dissatisfied with my career and life, without alot of planning or thought I found the one thing I loved, Antiques, and somewhere along the way leaped out and began doing business on the side. I rented booths in Antique Malls and filled them up, then I began to travel and sell at shows all the while thinking it was for fun and love and not a business. A hobby which feed my love and lust and took care of itself financially. After several years I decided that was really all I wanted to do so I left my job of 23 years and started a full time business. I had decided it was all or nothing, I knew I could always get a new job if things didn't work out so leap I did. Now let me add to that I strongly believe that if I had not loved what I was doing for so long on the side I probably would not have taken the risk or been successful.
While traveling and selling at shows I built up a customer base of other dealers and customers from all over the United States, whom would seek out my booths in the Antique Malls and buy from me.
I developed a very good relationship with another Antique Dealer who became a mentor to me in the business and also a great friend whom I think of as the big brother I always wanted. He is the one who actually got me to travel and do shows with him. He is my business partner today, still a mentor and my big brother and best friend. He has lived in New Albany for many many years. We would talk about New Albany and what potential we saw in it. We questioned and debated why it wasn't living up to its potential?! We came up with many reasons and excuses and much sadness.
One day I told him I was tired of paying the malls booth rental,commission, and being a part of so many of the Antique Malls being filled with junk and crafts. The Malls were renting booths for the money to anyone and allowing these so called Antique Dealers to fill their booths with anything. Sounding snobish, maybe, but it was hurting the business of Antiques which I love.
His response, lets go back to the good ole days and open a private shop of our own. OMG Scary,risky but inticing. Where would we open this shop? Location it is said is critical! Would the customer base we had built follow us where we choose? Will the overhead be more than just renting booths and paying commission? Would this endeavor influence or hurt our friendship? It is one thing to do what you love on the side like a hobby and be able to afford the expenses and reinvest all you make back into that hobby, but be successful enough to not only reinvest but make a so called living!! How many sacrifices are we willing to make concerning the time and devotion involved in running our own place? On and On the questions went, some answered but many not!
Now because of the many discussions we had in the past about New Albany and the possibilities we saw within and for her, the choice was made. Some of the same feelings my father had had about Jeffersonville I felt toward New Albany. What I saw and was taught by my Aunt and the community she loved also deeply influenced my decision. Ok, also the overhead in a small dead downtown was good as long as we could have the faith in that town and feel good that our customers would follow us.
We have been open in downtown New Albany for 9 years, our current location 6 years. We have seen many other small Independent Businesses come and go during that time frame. In the last couple of years finally they seem to be staying and succeeding. The reasons so many did not succeed are many, and the reasons we have are many.
I share and tell you all of this for many reasons also. New Albany please have faith in yourself and community. Do whatever small thing you can to help your community grow and prosper. Work around and grow from the past experiences you have had in this community, you will be blessed deeply. Let the naysayers hold you back or give you a feeling of defeat and New Albany will be what they say. We can be bigger and better than we can even dream or invision with co-operation and hard work. I have the faith, I'm starting to see what my partner and I so long ago discussed and debated and hoped would happen.
All of these thoughts came to mind because of a blog I read today. I do not always agree with the author of this blog, his methods or his politics but I do respect his zeal, sincerity, honesty, frustrations, love (yes his love), dreams, hopes, and some of his vision for our community New Albany.
If you would like to read this same blog here is the link