Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Beans

I have been waiting to write this post for about a week now.
If this blog is my diary, then I've been keeping something a secret from my diary.
My diary!
That's like the opposite of what a diary is for.

But I've become a little superstitious in my 32 years and what I've been working toward these past weeks is certainly not something I wanted to jinx.
At long last (I was waiting to cash the cheque) I can spill.

I've sold my store.
My baby.

Actually, it's become more of an old flame this past year.
Something I used to love passionately, but that my heart has started to wander from.

I have too many new relationships to nurture (Griffy, Handmade Harvest, multiple pie-in-the-sky ideas that make Brad think I'm a crazy person who just might bankrupt him one day) that it's time to set this love free.
That's what they say isn't it?
If you love someone set them free?
I'm sure that's got to apply to gift stores too right?

Another reason I've hesitated talking about it, is because I'm a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing.
I know it's the right decision, but who is Emily Arbour if not the owner of great little shop on Mill Street?
Sure it's only been 4.5 years of my life, but when you look at how concentrated these years have been with life changes (opening a store, getting married, moving to Almonte, having a baby, organizing a craft show, having another baby, organizing another craft show etc etc) it's hard to remember who I was before I had this lovely shop.

I have made connections with literally hundreds of people that I likely wouldn't never have met if it wasn't for my beloved bird.
I'm a bit lost just thinking about the fact that I've just put myself out of a job.
What will I do without somewhere to go every day?
The possibilities are simultaneously thrilling and terrifying.

For not one minute in the last 4+ years have I been bored.
As long as I have had the store, there has always been something that needed doing.

Whether it was building an "elf door" for Kid's Night, convincing a landlord to let me use his space for a Pop Up Shop or repurposing old scraps of fabric found at the Hub into jewelry bags, not a "day off" went by when I wasn't doing something to make the shop even better than it was the day before.

It's been a labour of love and I anticipate a bit of a hangover come midnight July 31st.

You heard right.
In less than a month, this will no longer by my store.
So how did this happen?
Even I'm not exactly sure.

I've been feeling overwhelmed for quite some time now.
It's just a lot to juggle and I found myself constantly on the verge of panic attacks with all the scheduling of kids and babysitters and staff and husbands (ok, that shouldn't be plural) and social lives.
Also, Clemmie started saying "Don't go to work!" every time I asked her for a kiss.
So there was that.

Brad had previously suggested that I consider selling the store, and he was always met with a "You don't understand!! Oh my god it's like you don't even know me! How can you be so insensitive?!" from me.

But the last time he mentioned it - after talking me down from yet another ledge from which I was crying "I just can't take care of everybody all the time!" - I actually considered it.

I thought about what that might mean to my family, and how it might feel to actually be able to do something for me on a weekend.
I would find myself looking longingly at couples who would come in to shop on Saturdays and daydreaming about what it must be like just to wander about taking time to explore.
Maybe have a coffee sitting down.
You know, the little things.

Also, as I've mentioned in previous posts, Almonte is going strong.
The new homes to dandelion ratio is neck and neck.
The local economy is on the rise.
The smart business person would get out while to going's good.

So I put it out there.
I picked a fair price, told 5 people who told 5 people and so on, and in 2 days I was meeting with a local woman who was interested in buying.
To my great surprise, I actually had multiple people interested.
This was really happening!

Two weeks later and the deal is done.
Come August 1st Blackbird will have a fabulous, enthusiastic, young, local new owner...and I'm thrilled.
I really think she'll be perfect.
I think you'll like her.

So that's that.
On to new things.
Blackbird was a stepping stone.
Change is good.
And all the rest.

Yes, Handmade Harvest will live on. (Apply now!)
Yes, I may still host the odd Pop Up Shop.
Yes, I will continue to write.

Who knows?! My blog might actually become more interesting to read now that I won't have to edit myself to protect my business. (I'll be redirecting to a new url shortly, so I hope you'll follow)
You can't imagine the stories I've been keeping from all of you.
You simply can't imagine.

xo Em


  1. I can't wait to hear the stories! :) Best of luck Emily - on to the next adventure. Mill Street will miss you I'm sure!

  2. I'm glad that you owned Blackbird...and were pregnant at the same time as I was. We got to meet, and I consider myself lucky to call you friend. Wherever, and whatever you do it will be successful because you're that kind of woman. Mediocrity isn't in your vocabulary. I look forward to sitting for coffee with you...and supporting your future endeavors.

  3. Jan and Brian BrazeauJuly 9, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Brian and I have loved your store, since the first time we wandered in as new residents in Almonte, back in 2008. We will miss you, but understand that change is constant and we will most likely see you again. We hope that you and your family stay in Almonte. Good luck to you ... and thanks for Blackbird, a wonderful store that has raised the bar in Almonte.

    Jan and Brian Brazeau (the couple that always bought items for ourselves, instead of gifts!)

  4. Dear Emily, You and Colleen together were one of the supports of a three legged stool for me when I first moved to Almonte 1 1/2 years ago. Your workshops were always fun, entertaining and captivating, providing skills that I could take back to the daycare and share with the little ones for new craft ideas. Your pop-up shops gave me opportunities to meet new friends and discover such a wealth of local talent and interests. But most of all, your smiling faces would always have a cheery, positive and insightful word to share when I swung by on my morning walks. Be well, both of you, fly free but remember your friends who love you so dearly! XOXO Victoria

  5. Cherilyn and I will miss your cheerful smile and positive manner everytime we came by to "look around". Thanks for letting Cherilyn help wrap packages- please know that playing "store" is her favourite game thanks to you!She even swipes credit cards and gives bag options to the customer.(ie.Mom and Dad)
    All the best to you in your new adventures!
    Beth Millar