Like, chill out? like take time to sleep in and watch movies and write letters and read the paper and maybe even go somewhere with a beach and some cocktails? I watch all summer as my michigan family and friends enjoy the worlds greatest beaches and lakes, but i trudge along thinking about january like a carrot dangling in front of my face. then january comes along and all my farmer friends go to mexico and ugh i still have so much work to do! I knew we needed to move our production and bottling facility, that we needed to renovate the back of our tiny shop in order to accommodate more storage, and i knew we needed a new sign made for the front of our shop. So much to do!
I'm coming to understand, though, that most people besides a very specific peer group of new and small independent business owners like myself, have no interest or empathy for someone who wants to complain about being too busy. January had a week of calm before we had a structural issue in the Pike shop which caused us to close for a day and do a small remodeling of our back and side wall display (thus making the shop bigger, thus increasing the area where people can peruse, thus me having to make more stuff to fill the shelves, thus those shelves continue to rapidly deplete, thus the no chilling out). even though it was in the end a really positive change, That remodel kickstarted a winter of growth, rather than a winter of stability.
Previous to january was the big 6 week holiday push, preceded by our big anniversary party, putting us back in October when it was apparent that we needed a bigger and more consolidated workshop and that we needed a new sign. We had been working out of and storing supplies and honey in 2 separate warehouses in Nooksack was well as a storage unit in Everson, an Activspace work area in ballard, and my apartment in fremont, as well as over crowded storage and work area in the back of the pike shop. I knew we had a move coming and a sign to commission but couldn't think about any of it until after the holidays.
So I started looking for warehouses everyday, obsessively scouring craigslist and loop net and commercial real estate websites everyday to find a space with concrete floors, utility sink, hot water, roll doors, and space to make a mess. I never thought it would've been so challenging to find a place that is affordable and clean and conveniently located, but i blame the newly legalized weed industry for scooping up all the available warehouse space up and down the i-5 corridor. What I was left with were choices in places that I don't know anyone, or that will continue to require me to drive all the time. Between tacoma, kent, auburn, everett, seder woolley, and bellingham...I chose to put us back in whatcom county because at least that's where olga lives, and it's in much closer proximity to the 3 main beekeepers that we work with in whatcom and skagit. Meanwhile our darling shopkeeper and illustrator extraordinaire Devon got busy putting together an idea we came up with for a new sign! It came out adorable, better than I hoped for, and now just needs historic approval and hanging (which will take 6 more weeks, ugh!)
So by february I knew if we didn't find a place asap, we would run out of honey(all of our 2015 honey was sitting in a warehouse and had to be moved before warming and bottling). I finally found a huge and expensive and very visible (rather than inexpensive and rural) warehouse/office/retail location in bellingham, and besides it being a refreshingly easy space to work in, it came with the most laid back and friendly landlord. Even my mom agreed (oh did I mention my mom visited for 10 days in the end of february) that the landlord is awesome and the space is way cool.
So then all i had to do was move out of the activspace wax disaster zone, rent a huge box truck and move out of all three everson/nooksack spaces (hallelujah! Finally!), move all the equipment and supplies from my apartment and the activspace unit to bellingham, get the new place painted and cleaned, oversee the transport and delivery of all our 2015 honey back stock and beeswax, train two new staff members (oh did I mention our store manager mary has moved on this month as well?), oh and keep the wholesale orders and shelves of our store stocked in what has unexpectedly been our busiest month since opening the shop!
The good news is that it's done. It should be noted that beekeeper olga helped substantially with the whatcom county move, and without her I might've buckled. Also, my new best friends are the guys at Peninsula trucking, just one block away from our new warehouse. They have been patient with missed jar deliveries, pallets of barrels needing opening, and understanding the pressures of a rapidly growing small business.
So I look forward to another time to chill out. I have no idea when that will be, and that's just fine...
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep -Robert Frost