What a month! What a wild ride. I'm still sorting it out and coming to terms with the changes that have happened. I grew up in a bridal salon, a family business of thirty three years, 5 months and 16 days. I loved every second of it. It was my third child, it was my baby. I loved my brides, I loved my staff. I loved everything about it, even talking down Bridezilla. Then my father passed away and as part of our original agreement, we had to put our building up for sale and split the proceeds between my mother and myself. Dad didn't want to leave us stressing about building maintenance.
For a year and a half, we had a buyer stinging us along. Then in November, the buyer got financing and the pressure was on. They wanted to move their business in the building December 23rd! The date was nonnegotiable. I had less than a month to make some serious decisions. I didn't have time to lease new space and move the business.
I had inspectors and repair men running around the shop. The building passed all the inspections. We packed, we sent dresses out to friend's bridal shops and specialty resale shops. I spent 14 hour days in the shop. Every day the buyer had had new ideas and came in with their construction manager to measure and get in my way. I cringed when I heard her voice announcing her arrival.
I spent a lot of money in repairs to satisfy the buyers. All I wanted to do was "get 'er done" at this point. It was the holidays and I wasn't holidaying! I was melting down and stressing. I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, I couldn't think about Christmas. I didn't have my Christmas shopping done, I didn't have time to bake. I couldn't entertain my family. All I could think about was packing and moving.
Somehow we managed to accomplish the move despite rotten winter weather. The sidewalks were covered with ice and the temps were in the single digits. I moved 33 years of accumulated racks, mannequins, sewing machines into the rooms in the basement that were part of my husband's ongoing DIY project.
The realtors had all the papers drawn up and we were all set to sign. Then the buyers backed out. No reason given. What? They refused to explain their actions. I had a meltdown of massive proportions. Not just crying, but the total meltdown to your soul filled with shock, anger and bewilderment. Like being left at the altar meltdown. Like finding out your fiance is gay or cheating meltdown. Like suddenly losing a family member meltdown. And today I still have no answers.
I know that I'm the one who jinxed the sale. I was going to buy new appliances for my kitchen to replace the crappy builders grade appliances that are in my house. I mentally was cooking on my new inversion cook top and baking in my convection oven. And my husband sold the lawnmowers and the other yard tools. Double jinx! Mea culpa!
I have an empty building that needs heat and commercial utilities paid, insurance and property taxes. Real estate, especially commercial real estate, isn't a hot commodity in the winter. I doubt if I can lease the space because of the amount of empty business properties in my area. I can't reopen because it would be starting all over again. I don't have the inventory and my staff has moved on.
I was stopped by a gal the other day who asked if I was the bridal lady. I told her I used to be. She told me my shop was the most special place on earth when she was planning her wedding. I needed to hear that. She hugged me and we went our separate ways, but I left with a big smile on my face.
I'm going to be more active as Weddingzilla. I'll be interviewing my friends in the bridal biz, I'll be blogging about the latest trends and more. Stay tuned, it can only get better from here.