Wednesday, January 9, 2008

About my store

I am not sure how many years ago I took tole painting classes. That's when the "bug" started. I started taking classes at a local craft store. Found out that it was a stress reliever and something I love to do. Soon after I took these classes I found out the city was trying an incubation with the old firehouse.It's called Old City Hall Shoppes. They decided to take the old fire house and turn it into a craft and antique mall. I heard about it and thought it might be a good way to sell some things and make a little bit of money on the side. So everyone that was going to have a space in this building went in and helped remodel. We plastered walls, painted and did some major renovations. I am not kidding it was awesome. Some of the best and talented people in town went in and decorated. It was beautiful. Since this was an incubation people were suppose to go in and get started and then sometime down the road open there own stores. Well guess what? It worked. Several of the vendors opened there own stores. I was one of them. Although the first store I had wasn't Simply Country. It was called Kountry Kloset. It was located in downtown Morris. Juanita McDermott, Karen Mackinson and myself started this craft mall in with Juanitas medical supply store. It worked for awhile until we got tired of driving to Morris all the time. Well after that I started cleaning homes for people. It brought in a good amount of money but it really wasn't what I wanted to do. I had a dream of having my own craft store someday. After several jobs and few years later I decided to take an adventure and open a store. My husband and myself went searching for just a little building to get started. We looked in Morris, we looked in Streator and even contemplated opening one in the little town of Cornell.So we decided to take a drive one day over to Flanagan, IL. A small town just west of Pontiac. There it was. A small but quaint building that only needed some paint and a little fixing up on the outside. We called the landlord and struck up an agreement and that's where I started. Well only a few months later about a year,needless to say we ran out of room. There was no storage in this building and we were tracking stuff from home to the store.We had to decide wether we wanted to stick it out and find a bigger building or just call it quits. Seeing how this was my passion and what I loved to do,we looked for a bigger building. I had several customers from Pontiac and they encouraged me to go Pontiac way.So I did. We looked at several buildings and found one a block off the downtown square. We stayed in this building for 4 1/2 years. Then another building came open right on the square. Of course the overhead was going to be more but was assured the foot traffic would be so much better that it would definatley make up for the extra expenses. Of course being the sceptical person I am, I really didnt know if it was worth the hard work to move and headaches of doing it. Well it was probably the best move I could have made for my business. I doubled the square footage and traffic was so much better. Who would have thought just one block would have made a difference? The route 66 museum is directly behind my store which brings in alot of people from all over and the Old City Hall Shoppes (where I started) is behind me also.
Over the 7 years I have been in Pontiac, I have seen alot of businesses come and go.You could definately say that Pontiac's downtown hasn't been really booming with businessess in the past but now we have several new stores which is bringing more people to the downtown area.I have a wonderful coffee & sweet shop next to me. It's great for business but not so great on the figure if you know what I mean. We have a new floral shop, two new gift stores and a nice resale shop coming in the spring. In the future I hope to see many more and wish all the new businesses
great success.

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