WOW, it's really been 6 months since my last post? UGH! Well it's a new year and time to set some new goals, or let's call them "some things I'd like to do or start but if I don't I am not going to get all worked up over" intentions. Hmmm, I think I may have just have coined a new phrase there. See how easy this is going to be, 1st objective nailed. So here we go in no particular order, other than the 1st which I've already completed:
OK, it’s been a little over 3 years since I first opened the doors to Vista, AoM. It’s been nothing but WONDERFUL but, and this may be a little but, I am debating if I have the right location and if Vista is the right town for me.
Here’s the thing, I am doing just fine in the location I am at. Great rent, won’t be able to come anywhere near what I am currently paying if I move, and I have a steady following of established regulars. I am missing two things, and in my opinion they are pretty crucial for any business to survive.
Walk-by-Traffic! Because I am tucked around the corner and slightly off the main drag, hence Apothecary OFF Main, I don’t get the walk by shoppers. I am not capturing the new customers that I could potentially WOW and turn into repeat and loyal customers. That’s like business 101, you have got to have a constant flow of new faces. Not to say I don’t get fresh-faces in daily, it’s just not enough new smiling mugs. I think you know this is coming…location, location, LOCATION! There, got that out of my system.
I “insert heart emoji here” Vista – Vista is turning into the coolest, hippest place around. Vista has more craft breweries than any other nearby town or city. Vista has friendly and caring residents. And Vista is my home town! Here it is, I cannot depend on this little town to keep me afloat. Meaning, my loyal brand ambassadors really only need so much of the products I carry. Yes I have items that need replenished and that are staple home goods but come on, how much lemon cream lotion does one person need. Well actually, a lot, have you ever smelled the lemon cream lotion, bad example.
I no doubt can double, triple, quadruple my daily sales if I were in a big & busier town. If you don’t know, I have another AoM location in Grand Rapids, MI. It is located in the heart of the historic downtown area in Grand Rapids, well established city with tons of tourist that visit throughout the year. Grand Rapids is host to some major events throughout the year that also helps to draws people in from all over the country and world. Now, Vista does get it fair share of visitors, but visitors from surrounding towns and most of those visitors are hitting up the fabulous breweries and restaurants that we are becoming known for. I rarely get spill over traffic or customers taking a break from their libations. This takes me back to missing link #1.
I am not saying I am going to abandon my home town or more importantly, my loyal fans. I am just talking out loud, via this blog. Maybe I needed to say this out loud to make the leap or maybe to realize that it’s just talk and I would never, could never leave.
I do know that I have big plans, when I say big I mean BIG. No, I was not about to say HUGE, that adjective is forever ruin for me ;-) I plan on opening more locations all over this great country. It’s the American Dream right, so it’s my dream too. As always, thanks for listening!
The one thing that has kept me in this crazy world of retail for so many years, my entire career to be exact is without a doubt the customers. I love helping people, love meeting new people and I love to share my favorite products with customers. Since opening my Apothecary shop, I have met the most unbelievable people, so kind and caring, so sweet and supportive. Being an apothecary shop I really get a wide range of customers, women, men, young hipsters, elderly…seriously I would not be able to identify a target audience. I have something for everyone and every, let’s just issue ;-)
I want to share just some of the great customers experiences I have had in the short time I have been open.
White Witch – I had a gentleman enter the store and of course I asked if I could help him with anything. He kind of gave me a once over, not in a creepy way but more of a curious way. He asked the typical question “what do you sell here?” After a brief explanation by myself, he asked if I was a Wica? I gave him a funny look and sorry to say the only thing that came to my mind was he was asking if I took the Wic EBT cards. I started to say that I did not except those cards and he quickly corrected me and said “no, I was asking if you are a white witch”. Now I have been called many things in my life but this caught me off guard. He then very quickly began to tell me that I shouldn’t be offended because white witches are the good witches. HA, and my sister always said I was the bad witch! Anyway, he went on to say “well you own and apothecary shop, you are dressed completely in black (staple color for me BTW), and you are playing Stevie Nicks on the radio. Swear to you, Stevie Nicks just happen to be playing at that time, coincidence??? We both got a little laugh and I laughed even harder when he left the shop. Unfortunately or fortunately, however you look at it, I have been asked this question several times since.
Reading My Ora – A mother and daughter wandered into my shop one day, they happen to be on vacation and were exploring Vista. Right when they entered the shop we had an instant connection, they even said that I looked like someone they had met before. They were in the shop for a long time asking a ton of questions about all of the products I sold. They said they could tell I loved what I did because of the passion I had in educating them on the items. The mother asked me if she could read my aura. Of course I said yes and she started to pluck and shift imaginary floating items surrounding my body. Yes, it was a little unusual but I stood there until she was finished. She said I had a beautiful and strong aura but then asked me how my sleep was, meaning peaceful or restless. I am not sure what compelled me to share this with her but I told her that I have awful nightmares that I have had since I was small. I said I don’t tell people that because I never wanted anyone to think “wow, this chick is …” Anyway she said she asked me because she could read from my aura that I was a cleanser. She explained that some people in this world have the ability to take other people’s negative thoughts, feeling, and emotions and cleanse them. She assured me that the dreams I have been experiencing were not my dreams or thoughts. NOW, whether this is true or not, it actually made me feel a little better about my nightmares. I believe things and events happen for a reason, so I believe these two woman were meant to come into my shop and maybe take that one piece a negative or bad feeling away from me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Hugs, Tears, Prayers, and More Hugs – I have had so many customers ask me if they can hug me before they leave the shop, or just come in for a hug which clearly I do not mind. I have cried with customers on many, many occasions. I don’t know why customers share what they do with me, I hope it is because I make them feel welcomed and they feel like they are in a safe environment. I even had a young girl ask if she could say a little prayer for me. This happened within a few months of me opening up shop. She knew that I was just getting started on this journey so she said she wanted to help me the only way she knew how, and that was to say a prayer for me. She closed her eyes and began to ask that I be blessed with more customers that I can handle, that I am successful and happy.
Seriously, what job can you have where your customers bring you jam or bread or cookies that they made? Where they come in for their weekly hug. Where they miss you if you are away when they visit. I have said that I wished I had started this business sooner but quite frankly, I am not sure I was mature enough. I have said this a million times “everything happens for a reason, and it’s no coincidence”! Too many things have happened since opening Apothecary Off Main to be coincidence.
Thanks for listening, until my next blog.
I knew when I typed the header on my last entry, 2016…I own you I was setting myself up and tempting fate. Alas, my predictions have come to fruition.
2016 has been packed full of, well life stuff. Now let me start off by saying in the global scope of things, the issues I am about to report are nowhere near or as extreme as the shit going on in the world right now. I am just sharing some everyday normal life that some may relate too and maybe even take your minds off all the other truly shitty things that happen.
January started off with an eye issue that could have been minor but of course I have to make everything major. It all started with me carrying in my shop lobby sign at closing and some small particle of something blew in my eye. I immediately start to scratch the F out of my eye and yeah, irritated it. That was a Friday night, Saturday morning and that thing was either still in my eye or my eye was just scratched because by that point I had really done some serious itching! Saturday night I closed the shop early to go to urgent care but couldn’t find one that was open. Is it just me or did you think urgent care was open 24/7?
Sunday came and I was ready to gouge my eye out with an ice cream scoop. At that point someone told me, oh to hell with it, I am going to call him out, my brother in-law told me to put Neosporin in my eye. He said being a former carpenter, he had stuff in his eye all the time and that worked the best. Off to the drug store I went to buy Neosporin. I noticed the warning on the back said “Do Not Put In Your Eye”, clearly this warning was for everyone else but me because yup I did, put it right in my eye.
Monday morning and I looked like I got kicked by a mule. After getting a special referral to see an eye doctor he confirmed that my eye was badly scratched and looked like I had an infection. He kept asking me what I was putting in my eye and I finally broke down and admitted I put Neosporin in my eye. YES, I was going to leave that part out because who in their right mind puts Neosporin in their eye!!!
At about the same time I was confessing my stupidity I remembered a little tidbit about me and Neosporin…I AM ALLERGIC TO NEOSPORIN! Special eye drops, swollen eye and face, and three weeks later I am finally feeling normal. That one little incident took consumed almost all of my January, ugh!
Hmmm, since that one incident took up an entire blog-space, I think I will save my February adventure for the next entry. Warning, it’s not pleasant, it’s something that one must go through at a certain age, and as I give myself time to think over that entry I may spare you and skip it all together and move straight to my March adventure. I’m out!
OK so everyone makes a resolution, that’s not new. I rarely make resolutions in my personal life. Well let me clarify, I don’t make resolutions or personal goals at the beginning of each New Year. I do make tons of little promises to myself throughout the year, you know the typical, eat healthy, workout a little everyday, don’t buy so many shoes, only drink after noon…you get it. So I will not make resolutions but rather state items that I see happening in this coming year. Here are some topics that are on the top of the priority list for Apothecary Off Main in 2016.
Website – now that AoM ecomm is live, we plan to boost the shit out it! We want to shove AoM in the face of everyone that owns a computer, phone, and tablet any device that allows him or her to shop, shop, and shop. Actually, that would be great if everyone shopped with us but we really want to go beyond just shopping. We want to offer that same online experience to everyone that clicks on our site as they get when they enter AoM retail boutiques. It really is all about the customer. We are old-school retailers. Back in the day when "the customer was KING (err or QUEEN)". If you have been into one of the retail locations, you know what I mean. So my vision for 2016 and the web is to continue to update content, get the site out to as many user in the USA as possible, and offer more, like shop on line, pick up in store, Corporate Gifts, hand crafted one of a kind items, personal touch gift wrapping…the possibilities are endless.
Brick & Mortar Growth - how sweet would it be to double our stores in 2016? Well when you have two locations it may be that simple. Two locations that we are actively pursuing are Eugene, OR and Detroit, MI. Now you may think I am crazy to give this information away so freely but, #1 I really don't think I have a ton of blog readers. I know I have one, thanks Vista Gal for the comment on a previous blog ;-) And #2 I will never be able to stop people from copying our model. I just have confidence that we will ALWAYS do it better than anyone else can! So those are the two locations we are eyeing currently. If you have any other hot spots you think we should pursue AND if you think you would be a perfect fit for AoM and would love to run a shop of your own, reach out to us. We need all the eyes, ears, and feelers out there as possible.
Products – one, of the many ;-) things that make AoM so unique is the unique product mix we offer. We will always strive to have the best, creative, unique, handcrafted made in the USA product selection. We have a few trade shows planned for the New Year to see what new items are available. With that said, that is such a small percentage of what is available. If you have something unique that you think will fit into AoM’s model of natural, handcrafted made in the US items, give us a holler. We would love to hear from you. One note before you contact us, for me it is all about the presentation. Meaning I am big on the way the product is packaged and how it works in with our store décor. I am not saying you have to match our color theme, which we don't have, just make sure the product looks appealing for customers to want to pick up, touch, smell (weird but true), and ultimately buy.
So 2016 is shaping up to be a BIG year for AoM. We are excited to share these plans with you and will give updates on each of these hefty plans as they happen. Cheers to 2016, cheers to you and cheers to the future!
OK so yes I have had a year (maybe more) to get the online store up and running. I had some hurdles. Let’s just say I could have joined the US Olympic Hurdle Team (is that a real thing?) Regardless, I have had ample time and it took me even more time BUT it's "live"! Yes that's right, I turned on the online store on 12/01, just missed Cyber Monday. So let me list all of the things wrong with this picture:
Now on the bright side, there are so many hosting sites that basically build your site for you and have all of the important tools built in like integrated shipping, payment partners, taxes. All of the important pieces that I should have been paying closer attention to at my past job that would have made this adventure less complicated. So here is my shout out to Weebly for giving me the ability to "drag & drop", whoop-whoop holla!
I still have a lot of work to do on the site because I am always finding little things and because I just like to change things. So this will be a never ending project but I think that is the way it should be. Give customers something new and fresh all the time. Hmmm, maybe I should be an online store; I would love to be updated every few months. Focus Traci, back to the topic. I would love to get feedback, feedabck on the site and not on my needed updates. I am fairly certain that nobody reads my post but hey, I like to think that millions and billions and "gazillions" of people read this blog. So mom or sissy, let me know if you see anything on the site that can be improved or if you find a typo...UGH huge pet peeve...please let me know.
Seriously though, this is such an exciting adventure. Who will be the first person to purchase something (yes it’s 12/3 and I have not had a sale yet, I’ll cry tonight in my wine), where will that person be from, what will they buy. My stomach is in knots, fun-colorful-fashionably-knots, but knots still. So if anyone is reading this, STOP NOW and go buy something will ya ;-)
...of my crazy wonderful cleanse! So I am successfully at the tail end of a 30 day cleanse. I say successful because I powered through it without any cheat days at all. Thirty days of fruits and veggie, mostly raw. OK maybe I did cheat just a tad. The veggies were suppose to be raw but I have a hard time stomaching most raw veggies so I would lightly steam them. And if we are confessing, during the last week when I should have been juicing my own fruits and vieggies, I did rely on Yellow Deli Green Drinks, Juice Stop and Nekter in San Marcos.
OK let's get back on track. I did this cleanse for one reason and one reason only, to give my body a "reset". Losing weight was a nice side effect but flushing my body from toxins and other gross stuff was my #1 goal that I totally reached. I feel better, my skin looks better and of course I can get my fanny back into my favorite jeans. SCORE!
The cleanse I chose was easy for me, nothing but fruits and veggies, I love fruits and veggies.. Week One - 3 meals a day..Week Two - 2 meals a day. Week Three - 1 meal a day. And the last week, Week Four - nothing but fresh squeezed fruits and veggies. The hardest thing for me to give up was my coffee, and not just any coffee, Bulletproof Coffee. That is the one thing I cannot wait to get back into.
The second reason for doing this cleanse was to remove all of the cravings for the really bad and really toxic sweets I was enjoying and be able to make better food choices. Now I wasn't fully off the deep end but I did love my cupcakes, cookies, pies, beer, bread, cake, candy, beer, milk chocolate, and an occasional beer. OK, I was doing swan dives in the deep end. What can I say, I freakin' love sweets!
The good news is, right now if I had to choose between salmon dinner or German Chocolate Cake, I would pick the salmon morning, noon and night. To set the record straight, I am not one to completely give up on all of life's delights but now I can get back to my normal eating habits. If I want a cupcake every now and then, I will have a cupcake. I am fine with just a bite of pie, or one cookie. I am going to eat what I want and when I want it, but just in normal healthy moderation. This is what works for me. We are all different and have different needs and tools that work for our own bodies and minds.
Thanks for reading my "cleanse journey". I think my next post may be about how I use the Bulletproof lifestyle. Have a fantastic week..
Well this is my first entry into the world of blogging. I am not even going to apologize in advance for any blog-faux pas I will absolutely make so please take these posts, updates, rants, hopefully not drunken entries with a grain of salt.
Where to begin? I guess I can briefly give you an insight into how the wonderful Apothecary Off Main (AoM) journey all began.
OK now reality - please see steps above and add the below to each step.
Hope this was satisfactory for my first blog. Not sure how to sign off. Is there a code word or phrase I am suppose to type for blog readers? Do I end with a certain symbol? Should I use my favorite line from Pitch Perfect "We Out"? I'll google it.
Welcome to Apothecary Off Main's blog! Here I regularly post news, photos, and more about the store. Please feel free to scroll through all the different posts!