Friday, June 29, 2012

And Suddenly Everything Felt a Little Better

Here I sit in Lucky Hill with a beautiful breeze blowing in off the harbor, James Taylor on the iPod, the luscious fragrances of soaps and candles wafting from every corner, and I can't help but smile.  Dan's paintings are on the walls and the sun is (finally) streaming in the bay window.  I have made peace with the fact we won't have the July 1st opening we had hoped to have, but there is always July 2, and the 3rd after that.

Last night we went to Stella's to hear the incomparable Diane Linscott.  Her voice is like nothing I have ever heard and she is an absolute inspiration....not to mention, a kick in the pants.  During one of her breaks, she told Dan and me she didn't start singing until she was 54 years old.  For anyone who thinks the time has passed to try something new, take a lesson from Ms. Linscott.

At one point Bah, owner of Bah's Bakehouse and Stella's, came over to chat and I mentioned the delay with the moving truck.  Things got a little clearer when she told me not to worry as her opening years ago was supposed to be in April and didn't end up happening until July.  I realized at that moment there is always next week and next month.  This isn't a pop-up boutique that is only going to be here for a month.  I'd like to think we're home....and here for a very long time.  And I'm still smiling.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When the Best Laid Plans Go Very, Very Wrong.....

I always say if I liked doing push-ups and chin-ups more I could have had a stellar career in the military.  Some people would prefer to say I'm just a control freak.  I thought I had everything well in hand as the move, on the left coast at least, seemingly went like a dream.  Today the other shoe....and not a Manolo Blahnik.....fell.....and hard.  If you heard screaming and heads blowing off, it was from 15 Main Street.....aka Lucky Hill.

Our moving company had slotted our delivery window as June 25-29.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think the delivery would be LATER than that.  We've been calling Bekins since Monday trying to get an ETA on the delivery or at least an idea when the truck left California.  This afternoon we got the devestating news that the truck is still in California.  I'm trying to maintain some semblance of decorum, but beginning to fail miserably.  Dan has picked up the ball and taken to calling anyone and everyone he can within the Bekins organization in an attempt to resolve this situation. 

Castine is a seasonal community and there was no way humanly possible we could imagine NOT being open by July 1, let alone the July 4th holiday.  Sadly, it now looks like we will be lucky to receive our possessions by July 9.  Everyone in the Castine community has rallied behind us and offered assistance, aid, and woman-power to help get us up and running asap. 

Silver linings come hidden in many different cloaks.  While our movers have left something to seriously be desired, our new hometown has risen to the occasion and reassured us that our desire to settle here is without question.  We will keep you posted.  Please send positive thoughts and prayers.

On the moving truck....somewhere in California

Friday, June 15, 2012

Making the Impossible Possible

About twenty years the height of my design career....I told the owner of the company I was working for at the time I liked proving the impossible possible.  Well, this may be the ultimate test of that statement.  Lucky Hill has come about in a whirlwind of a few months and, simultaneously, evolved over the better part of a decade.  You're probably saying that doesn't make sense, but in a convoluted way it does.

In 2002, I opened a shop called Grandiflora in West Chester, Pennsylvania and fell in love with retail.  Other than a part time job when I was in grad school working in an art supply and framing shop, retail had never popped up on my radar.  Grandiflora came about somewhat by happenstance, but ended up being the most perfect alignment of planets.  I was a little burned out designing apparel, we were living in a town that was experiencing a retail and restaurant renaissance, and my husband was tired of always hearing me talk about display ideas and what I would do if I had a shop. 

After two fabulous years of owning Grandiflora, Dan was offered a job in California and we packed up the Jeep and headed West.  I sold the shop, but never got over it.  I missed my customers who had become friends, the products, researching new lines, crunching numbers at other words, I had been bitten by the retail bug.  Retail isn't for everyone, but after bursting into tears every time I tried to talk about Grandiflora, I knew it was for me.   While I was never sure when I would have another store, it was inevitable.  Someday I would hang another sign and stand behind another counter.

Lucky Hill has long been in my head and heart, but really didn't start to take shape until the end of March.  Dan and I had often talked about moving to Maine.....he for his art, me for my next retail venture, and "we" for our next chapter in a region we had fallen in love with years ago.  We happened upon a unique opportunity in the charming town of Castine that, miraculously, afforded us the opportunity to combine Dan's art and my retail careers under one roof.  Lucky Hill was going to be a reality.

Okay, so where's the impossible come into the equation?  Other than the fact we intend to open the store July 1 and it's June 15 and we're still sitting in an apartment in L.A. surrounded by boxes, I can't imagine what might make it a little dubious.  But have no fear!  Movers are coming Monday and Tuesday....yes, we have a lot of stuff....Dan and I are flying out of LAX on Thursday, picking up a car in Pennsylvania on Friday, heading to Maine bright and early on Saturday, and praying all of our things arrive sometime the next week.  Needless to say, we have more balls in the air than a Cirque du Soleil troupe, but haven't gotten whomped on the head far.  We've sold two cars, cleaned out a storage unit, packed up an apartment, conceptualized a retail venue, designed our logo, set up our business, ordered a shop full of product, bid our tearful farewells to friends, and will somehow cap it off with a going away dinner at Canter's on Father's Day.  

We spent a few days in Castine in May and met the most wonderful people....I like to think of them as new friends who will be old friends after not too long....and look forward to getting settled in our new hometown.  If Lucky Hill is what I hope it will be, it won't just be a place for people to buy things.  It will be a place where Diana Krall's luscious voice mingles with laughter, the aromas of sweet citrus and sea salt tickle the nose, color and light are golden and bright, and you know a warm smile is always waiting to welcome you....even on the coldest of January days.

I tell my stepdaughters all the time, "life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey".  The next few weeks will push the envelope.....but I wouldn't have it any other way knowing Lucky Hill lies just around the next bend.