Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We've Grown Up Together!

Country Roads opened on a rainy day on January 2nd, 1993. I remember the day well. My good friend, Chris Nickoloff, was standing there in the rain waiting to come shop. Not too long after that she became a dealer in our store as well. And for those of you that personally knew Chris, we sadly lost her a few years ago to cancer. But I will always cherish the memory of her standing outside waiting to be the first customer to shop on our opening day. I have to confess, I had no idea what to expect of the future when it came to this little place, Country Roads, that I quickly fell in love with. I opened the store with my then husband and one of my bestfriends. His wife had passed away the prior year and I think that is what made me realize how quickly life can pass or sadly end. I knew then there was more that I wanted in my life. I loved, and still do, being a Mom, and now a Gramma, but there was a void inside of me that needed to be filled. That is when Country Roads and I became bestfriends.

A few years down the road, my bestfriend, Chris left the business. He left on not the best of terms and as those of us in this business know, there is always “drama” involved. That is the one thing I like least about the antique business, the drama and gossip that is always going on. About a year or so after my friend left, my husband took that same bus out of town. He left, and of course there is always a lot of emotion and more drama that goes with divorce. And through both of these personal issues I had, I knew that my bestfriend, Country Roads, would be there waiting for me. When you stand behind the counter, you have no idea who will walk through the door. You never know what is said about you or your business and in the early years it was tough. I took many things very personally when I should have just let them go. Slowly but surely I began to grow up with my business and we became even stronger and more secure together. We both began to grow up together and be what we were meant to me.

Over the years, there have been times that I’ve had to give dealers a thirty day notice to vacate their dealer spaces for one reason or another. Let me tell you, it is hard, very hard. But I have to make the decision what is best for myself, for my Country Roads family (my dealers) and my bestfriend, Country Roads. As the old saying goes, “you do what you have to do”. We always have people that inquire about dealer space at Country Roads. And to be honest, sometimes even if these people have “killer” stuff, but are high maintence and carrying a large ego as well, I’ve learned not to go there. Over the years, for some reason, the GOOD people find us and become part of our Country Roads family. Sometimes it is a gut instinct for me that they will fit in well, and other times, my heart gives me the answer that, yes they will fit in perfectly. For this I am very grateful and humbled.

There are so many memories that my bestfriend, Country Roads, has provided me. I hope to someday put these stories in a book. As we get nearer and nearer to our 20th anniversary, I am humbled by the goodness and character of my Country Roads family. And my customers have been the best. At the end of the day, it isn’t always about the mighty dollar, but about loving what you do and who you spend your time with doing it. I thank you all, my wonderful, caring Country Roads customers. And my Country Roads family? They are the best of the best!

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