I survived the first day (that's me and Lolly at the cashwrap)! Against all odds and fighting logistical nightmares that would make a superhero cry, Commuknity made its public debut today and I have to say it was an unqualified success. So many people came in from the neighborhood, having read about us on the front page of the Rose Garden Resident, from Blogland, from word of mouth. I was stunned. The number of people who told me that they read this little ol' blog floored me. Thank you all of you who introduced yourselves. I wanted to have more time to talk with you, so please, please come back again once things are humming along on momentum and don't need constant guidance. Even tied to the counter for most of the day I got to play with babies, squeeze lots of friends, old and new, and jeepers creepers we sold lots of yarn. We nearly doubled my goal for the day and I nearly fell over when I totalled the receipts. Maybe that was just fatigue though. I'm operating on less than 8 hours of sleep in the past couple of days.
It was not without its glitches. The computer system isn't working, so we had to go analog. We still need to hire a few good salespeople (seriously, if you love yarn, are a proficient knitter and know your stuff we'd love to talk to you!). The past few days have been very stressful and I've had very little sleep - which will be remedied tonight - but I can honestly say that I am loving every minute of this process. Even when on Thursday morning the IT guy called to say his other installation was running overtime, he'd be in by noon. Even when despite his assurances that he would be there, by 11:30 pm when I finally locked the door and went home he had not been seen or heard from. Even when Friday morning he called and said he was on his way, but then something happened regarding a CHP and an outstanding warrant for a U-Haul truck rental gone awry and he arrived about 7pm Friday night. Even at 12 hours to the opening of the doors when the database wasn't working, the accounting system wasn't working, no barcodes, no Point of Sale, no credit card service. Even when we'd been rendered helpless by lack of technology.
We bought a price tagging gun, a couple of adding machines, receipt books and found a temporary solution to our credit card issue. We found a new IT guy who will take over on Monday and I was there at 6:15 this morning pricing needles. We weren't ready the way we wanted to be, but we found a way to do it!
The store is simply gorgeous. Tom, Gail, Kevin, Lolly, Rebecca, Lauren, Sharlene, Janine, Joy, Emily, Nancy, Sheetal, Jewel, Al, Mark, Trina, Jamie and Mike, Maria and Mark, Steve and lots of other folks (I hope I haven't forgotten too many names) have made my life so much easier by lending their hands and their hearts to make Commuknity thrive. This is the entrance to the store and I love that the first sound you hear upon entering is the soft music of water cascading down the fountain.
This is the view looking into the store from the foyer. A couple friends of Gail's son John work for Trader Joe's, creating their in-store displays. Gail and I had an idea about painting some words on the walls in the foyer and voila! Our whole goal was to create a transitional space between the bustle of the street and the warm, welcoming interior of the store.
The yarn room hasn't changed a whole lot since last week, but we've filled it in a bit more and squished more yarn into the shelves. I had so much fun playing with all the colors and creating my own rainbow wall of yarn. I was afraid I'd get all agitated when people touched it, but I was just so thrilled to see all of it going to good homes and I know that people will bring it back to visit in the guise of their WIPs and FOs.
The Rowan Cashsoft 4 Ply and DK get their own home in one of these gorgeous armoires. I think it's my new favorite yarn. I can't stop touching it. Sorry, Cashmerino Aran. This stuff is softer and judging by the swatch Lolly started today, it's going to hold up better. I see much of this in my future.
Oh and I just have to point out the Jordana Paige bags. I've been carrying one around for the past month and I'm just in love with it. And she's local, part of the SJSU Stitch n Bitch group. I'm hoping she'll drop by the store to say hello soon and I can thank her in person for her thoughtful features and well-designed bags!
Remember the Wall of Manos? Manos has taken over the better part of this room. It's on the wall, on the table, under the table, in front of the table. The glut of Manos is good. Even just to smell it. Normally the vinegar scent kinda grosses me out, but wool and vinegar? That's some kind of heaven! There's a Manos sweater in Kevin's future too, oh, yes there is!
The library is coming along. We have some books in, but most of them are in transit. Poor James is going to have to haul them all in on Monday, poor guy. There's good stuff in there too, most importantly, At Knit's End, which I've been reading thanks to Nancy, who brought me a copy the other day as a gift. I've laughed, I've cried, I've planned to stalk the Harlot at MS$W. I'll even admit to reading in the car, waiting for stoplights to change and while pushing the grocery cart at Safeway. It's addictive. Read at your own risk. Seriously.
Finally, here's the point of the whole place, the living room. It was well tested last week when my dear friends converged to give it a spin, but today we really saw the magic of this space work on our community. People sat and knit, they drank tea, they munched on cookies, guys hung out and waited for their wives while reading the paper, babies were bounced upon knees and kids climbed about the cushions. Everyone was friendly, everyone was relaxed (the twitch above my left eye doesn't count) and it was loved.
As the last customer left the store and I totalled the day's receipts a wave of gratitude washed over me. This is what I have wrought, with Gail's vision, Tom's perseverance and my own hard work and a little help from our friends. We have made the dream into a reality and it's more spectacular than we ever imagined. I cried a little bit then, happy tears, filled with the knowledge that destiny has been fulfilled.