I woke up this morning thinking about how I would feel if I closed Three Lights Sanctuary and just stayed home. I felt more at ease. Like a weight was lifting. I have been going back and forth about whether to stay or close for a long time. There is absolutely no reason to sit there waiting for people to come in. They don't.
Now that I've rented a 4-shelf case in Putnam, CT in Jeremiaha's Antique Shoppe and have sold only one item in March, my first month, and knowing he is busy on the weekends, I am now doubtful that retail of any kind anywhere in this local area is successful. Driving around from town to town and looking at the main streets and retail shops like mine, not super stores, I don't see any activity to speak of anywhere. The only place close by that is showing signs of success are the second hand stores on our main street in town. I believe now that the only thing people can afford or will pay for are things marked at very low prices. And so these junk sellers clean out homes and attics and pay a tiny amount of cash so they can resell these used items.
I'm not nor was I ever in the junk business. I have my own junk and mother's leftovers from her antique shopping days. These things that will fit on shelves I'll save for Jeremiaha's. Next month I'll try antiques and old stuff and bring my Spring and Easter things home. My case is in the last row of cases in the shoppe. I wonder if everybody goes down that row...some do, but is that part of the problem? Because I have been successful selling in antique stores before, but that ship has sailed, where I sold before...no more info about that. Back to Jeremiaha's, he says all but one person makes their rent each month, and now it's 2 adding myself! I don't know if I believe it, though, because there has to be a whole lot of merchandise going out his door for 50 dealers to make $50 a month, and to make it worth while, you have to make at least twice that much every month or your merchandise goes out the door for nothing. You can not break even. And for me, losing money every month by keeping Three Lights Sanctuary, and now my case in Putnam, I think it's time to make some reasonable decisions.
I ask and keep asking myself the appropriate questions hoping I'll see the light and either close or think of another way to get people in to stay open, but just thinking about sitting in the middle of "contractor ally" depresses me! I am surrounded by offices as that's who my landlord has rented to since I have been there, and he has 2 more rental units yet to rent. The restaurant in the front brings no one around because he doesn't open for lunch. So I think it's time to stay home. Bring everything home and be out by the end of May as I already paid for April, and the landlord has my last month's payment already.
I was thinking of having a "party" but it's just more money on advertising and refreshments and in my past experiences, people don't show up for such things. I once had an Open House when I was a pet photographer and had the works! Prizes, clown with balloons, food, and ads. I was donating a portion of the proceeds to an animal shelter and had one of their volunteers helping me with things. What a joke that was!! No one showed up, not even any of the people who worked at the animal shelter! That was a huge slap in the face!! So, do I want more people ignoring my efforts, low prices, and refreshments taking the chance that they'll show up this time? Or should I save my blood pressure and just forget about breaking my back and wallet trying to get the public into my studio/shop. I think it's time to leave and give up being in the retail business, which for me is only a hobby anyway. And if I'm going to just lose money at the antique shoppe, too, I may as well keep everything or donate some things to charity, like I did before Christmas, donating racks of old and some new merchandise to a local church. I never heard from that person about how their bazaar went, but I got rid of a lot of stuff I'd been carrying around from location to location.
Sigh...sometimes you have to keep talking like this to come to the right decision. The only other option which I MAY try, is to keep my unit at Pinewood Park and do something behind closed doors so I'm not obligated to let people in. With no activity near me, I don't like letting men into my shop. And being a studio with my paintings, they could rightfully stay as long as they wanted looking at paintings and everything else, and there would be nothing I could do about it but be uncomfortable or lie and say I had to close. I have looked at many scenarios and so I think I either give up the space, or keep it for myself only. Now what would I do there? I guess, paint! But only until winter. The heat (electric) is too expensive and the driving is difficult. Seems that painting at home during the cold weather and painting there in the warm weather is what would work as it's too hot in my loft at home to paint.
So speaking of closing, that's what I am about to do at this time.
Saturday April 2,2011
Yesterday I came to a conclusion to my indecision about whether to close my art studio or not. This will solve my concerns.
I am going to keep my space at Pinewood Park, bring all gift merchandise home except for what I create: my paintings, Stones of Galilee, poetry, and greeting cards. I will bring home all small cabinets I'm now using for excess gift items. I can always put this merchandise out in my case at Jeremiaha's. I will close to the public weekdays and use my studio to paint, write Stones of Galilee, eat lunch...it'll serve as my workshop, and the door will remain locked. On Saturdays I will open to the public by appointment and have a sign in my window with phone number.
This should solve all problems. I'll get my supplies out of the loft at home and fix up my studio to actually paint in it, yet I won't close the door for people who want to see what I offer when my husband can open with me on Saturdays.
I'm comfortable with this. If a retail store should open in the old Stove Shop, maybe I'll feel comfortable opening during the week. For now, this is a good change.