After the store closed, I became an avid gardener, so much so that I have now created a very high maintenance garden. This kept me occupied over the summer months, but I was floundering a bit over the winter. We did drive to San Diego for month-long stays at the beach, and that was wonderful. I read a lot…but still had plenty of time on my hands. With considerable encouragement and an enormous amount of help, I started the blog, Apres CC on Whyte. It was so intimidating… I can’t believe that I actually pressed the “send” button that first time. It became a way of communicating with some of the people that shopped at the store, but I also found a new community out there in never, neverland…which is still a mystery to me!
If you have been following this blog, you may remember reading about the “pop-up” store that I wanted to open this fall (“Off to Market” January 24, 2020). Last January, I went to the Toronto Gift and Tableware Show to buy products for my new adventure. As I was wandering around visiting with vendors I hadn’t seen for the past five years (and along with their encouragement) my excitement grew and, the momentum was full speed ahead. That all came to a screeching halt with the arrival of Covid-19…
All of us have been living with the limitations that the Coronavirus has put on all our activities as well as hampering our plans for the future. Our shopping experiences are greatly diminished to the point where we almost think twice about going out. I’m NOT an online shopper, but over the summer I’ve found that the UPS truck has stopped in front of my house more than just occasionally. Because store shelves are sparse, finding ordinary gardening supplies has even been challenging, let alone offering anything unique. Shopping in front of a screen doesn’t have the appeal of an “in-person” experience (for me). I miss the “exciting the senses” experience that only an in-store visit can provide but mostly I miss the people…those who work in the shops and those who may have come along for the ride…
Back to the “pop-up”. Sometime this past spring I decided that it wouldn’t be wise for me to continue my plans for the “Apres CC on Whyte Christmas Pop-Up”. With so much uncertainty, I didn’t know if there would be a second wave of the virus forcing another government shutdown and to be honest, even if there wasn’t another shutdown, I’m nervous about the virus. I have asthma, and I don’t want to take an unnecessary risk. I waited until this summer to cancel my orders…something I didn’t want to do as I know the suppliers are struggling to stay afloat.
I have always believed that “you can take the girl out of the shop but, you can’t take the shop out of the girl!” Stepping away from a career in retailing is not easy. It gets into your blood, and because of the close relationships you gain with your customers and employees, it becomes a part of your identity…who you are. After many long conversations with my “therapist” (you know who you are!) and some serious prodding from her, I have decided not to abandon my “pop-up” completely. Instead, CC will go online…today, October 1. It won’t provide all the sensory stimulation that I had hoped for but, I hope to offer the flavour of CC on Whyte.
***Because of product shortages throughout North America, the current presentation is leaner than I had hoped for, but as inventory becomes available, I will be adding to the online boutique.