Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A hard task...

Today I had to send out a hard newsletter to all my customers telling them we would be closing one of our stores. You can read it here. We opened Panopolie almost five years ago to great fanfare and high expectations and it has been so much fun. The current economy and an expiring lease brought us to the decision to close the store at the end of April. I have been overwhelmed with responses from our customers and fans. Everyone seems to understand that this was such a hard decision. The biggest concerns were about how we would accommodate some of the best parts of Panopolie in Ornamentea's smaller, funky space. Folks told me they would really miss the paper crafts, the clubs and events, the accessibility, the sweet birthday party and class locations. I want those customers to be happy when they come to Ornamentea and so I wrote this post for them. Here are some changes I want to make-hold me to them!

Some changes we will be making to Ornamentea:
Creating a Paper Room
We'll be opening up a small doorway to make a larger one and also opening up the kiln room to create a space for art papers, book making kits, Decopatch papers and all our fabulous glitters, binding threads, scrapbook papers and other paper arts goodies. These items have been so popular at Panopolie and we won't let them disappear. This room will also function as a special entrance to our remodeled back classroom.
Adding 'new' events
One of the best things we did at Panopolie was organize parties. We held book readings, slumber parties and club meetings of all kinds. We had a weekly breakfast crafting event where friendships were made. These fun events will move to Ornamentea and we really hope all the Panopolie customers make the trip to join us.
Opening up the sales floor
You'll see less furniture, more open floor space. We need to do this to accommodate our customers with mobility issues and to make room so we don't all bump elbows. We have already traded two large fixtures for three airy spinners and that was a big help. You will have to look a bit to find some of your favorites but the change will be worth it. Oh, and we have staff to actually help you do that looking!
Improving the back classroom
This room was never supposed to be a classroom. It has really ugly carpet and a weird half wall that makes it much smaller than necessary. You enter it through a store room where we keep the kiln. That kiln room will go away when we create the paper room. We painted the classroom and did a good bit of sprucing on the Inventory day recently, but now we'll remove the half wall and get new tables that will allow us to seat 16 for parties and 8 really spaciously for day-long classes. The front classroom will get some sprucing done as well...

Other things? Well, I am sure there are a few. We may try to have two smaller work tables in the store, or add a coffee-table at the couch for overflow crafting. I am not sure. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Our budget is about $0 but we have so many talented hands that we actually can make something from nothing.

I'll miss Panopolie. The store is really beautiful. It is spacious and airy and that sky-blue open ceiling (which our landlord did NOT want us to do!) is so nice you almost forget you are in a strip mall. The sun shines in the windows late in the day, making all the beads sparkle. Those big work tables make me just swoon...over the next month I will cherish the days I am able to be there working but I know that the energy and excitement we will all bring back home to Ornamentea will make that store even better.