Whenever I tell my husband that I need help moving something heavy at the office he gets a panicked look in his eye.
“You don’t need me to move the black stones, do you?” he always confirms, before volunteering.
You see, the infamous black stones are heavy. Really heavy. They are a line of stones I carried a while back that were just slightly larger then the style we carry now, but for some reason, they are about 10 times heavier. My husband helped move 5,000 of them when we changed locations a couple years back and to this day, when the air’s a bit damp and chilly, he swears he still feels the kink in his back.
I’ve moved my business 5 times in the last 4 1/2 years. We’ve been in a total of 6 places in 9 years. That’s a lot of moving. That’s a lot of moving heavy stuff. That’s a lot of moving heavy stuff with no movers. Just me, my husband, my kind and generous employees and a couple of mini vans.
Now, lest you think I’m a glutton for punishment, or don’t pay my rent, or am a terrible tenant, there have always been great and reasonable explanations for the moves…and none of them have involved the police, a warrant or any arrests. I swear!
Our current spot is our best yet and so far fits our needs to a tee. We’ve been here for a record amount of time…a whole year and a half…and we’re going for at least 5. My employees are ecstatic, not to mention my husband.
It definitely has taken us a few tries to get our location right. Each spot has had it’s benefits and drawbacks, but the one that we always talk about, the one that makes even me scratch my head in bewilderment, is The Move To The Pod.
A pod is one of those storage units that you often see on construction sites. They are basically empty tractor trailers that they plop down on your property. They are bare bones in design. No heat. No air. Did I mention no heat?
The Move To The Pod seemed to make sense at the time. I had been sharing office and warehouse space with another online business and it was working very smoothly. The owner and I got along great and our business needs complimented each other perfectly. About a year after we met, she bought a large piece of property, just 2 miles from my house, with the intention of building a warehouse type structure to house her business. She offered to rent space to me as well, and I thought I had hit the jackpot! A friend for a landlord, plenty of space, and just 2 miles from my house…perfect!
Our current lease was ending, but the new structure was not built yet, so we decided that the pods would be the solution. We would run the businesses from the basement of her home and pack and ship the product from the pods. This sounded great – the pod rental was very cheap and she would charge me a nominal fee to work from her basement. Sweet! Think of all the money I would save!
Oh yeah. Did I mention this all happened in January of 2007 – which happened to be the coldest winter on record in 20 years in our area.
So we moved. All 5,000 black stones along with the rest of our inventory. And filled up 4 pods.
Needless to say, it was a miserable existence that winter. Let me tell you, when it’s 15 degrees out, unheated pods are the coldest place on earth. Since there was no way that I could ask my employees to endure those conditions, each day I would bundle myself up in 5 layers and brave the packing and shipping. My husband one morning attempted to tease me about all the clothes I was putting on, as he headed off to work in his chinos and polo…ready to sit at his desk in a balmy 78 degree office. I was not amused…and I pride myself on having a fairly good sense of humor.
We got through that winter, but unfortunately the original plan of the large warehouse structure never materialized and 6 months later my husband found himself moving the black stones yet again. I tried to point out that ‘it’s a great workout!’ but he didn’t laugh. (Payback for above ‘just how many layers of clothes are you going to put on?’ comment.)
It took 2 more moves ’til we found our current space and each time the amount of black stones has dwindled as we’ve stopped carrying that particular line in favor of other stones. But now instead of 5,000 black stones, we’ve got 150,000 various styles of rocks and tokens. My husband is always pleased to see the black stones disappearing, but that triumph is short lived when he sees what else needs to be re-located.
I have promised myself that for our 6th move (you know what they say…the 6th time’s the charm…) I will hire professionals. Although I chuckle to envision what they will be thinking when they move our merchandise. “What is this, a rock quarry?”
And, in my next life, if I decide to open a retail business, I’m definitely checking out the feather boa profit margins.