On a Learning Curve

Six Months Later

It is hard for me to believe that I have been a store owner for six months! I feel like those months passed in a blur. Well, a lot of paint-covered, hauling furniture blur 🙂

First you should know…. I love this! Watching my dream come to a reality is absolutely awesome. The someday is today. The amazing people who started as customers and have quickly become friends. Nothing beats hugging a new friend.

But this is my first retail adventure (when I was a teenager I taught swimming lessons – so no mall work ever for me)……and that learning curve has been large. Last fall I asked everyone I knew…..tell me something about owning your own business. I learned SO much……from expensive wrapping paper and bags…..to be aware of rent costs…..to really trust and know who helps you on this path.

I’ve worked SO much…..from at the store, to finding treasures to getting them ready to paint. Painting, fixing, washing and tagging take a bulk of time. My hobby has become my job! But I am passionate about my job/hobby/my dream and that makes it all worth it.

So…passing on some advice:

1. Make sure you have six months worth of money set aside when you open your store. Rent (current and one month down payment), fees to turn on your water and lights, fee permits for signs…..so many things cost money to get started. I went through my “stash” in about three months. So blessed that I had those funds set aside! I also said no to lots of things. Sponsorships, etc. The one thing I said yes to was joining the Chamber. So thankful for that. They have been a huge support. I’ve also been blessed by Visit Grand Haven. They graciously put my store on their social medias. Grand Haven has a Downtown District that has provided numerous learning opportunities for me as well.

2. Work more at your store than anyone else does. You get to know your customers. You get to create that friendship, support, loyalty. You get to say please share my business and say thank you. Don’t forget to introduce yourself to your new business neighbors. Mine have been great about telling their customers about a new store.

3. If you are not a CPA get one to come alongside you. I’m certainly hoping it eases tax time for me. Yikes on that whole CPA/Accounting thing! Not my gift. So it’s important to ask for help with what you are not good at or enjoy doing.

4. It’s important that your family supports and encourages your dream. My hubby has been amazing with helping fix things, haul things and working as a sounding board. My sons, and daughter-in-law, have worked at the store, hauled things, and listened to me. Thankful for their embracing my dream as well.

5. Customers like change. I bring new stuff in every day. When something sells I redo everything. Change allows people to see things they have not noticed before. I love it when customers see new things and comment on how different things look. Customers also like clean! The store is vacuumed and dusted weekly. I love hearing people say how nice the store smells.

6. Social Media is a powerful tool. I’m still learning on this. (confession: I have two undergrad degrees in public relations and advertising – but both before the internet was invented!! Yes, the basics helps me….but social media is a BIG deal!!)……so again, I ask a LOT of questions, I pester people younger than me, and I work at trying to figure what is best, works, etc. Social media maintenance takes a lot of time as well. I post one pic every day on all my sites…..and know I should be putting out a weekly blog. Something to keep working on 🙂

7. LOVE LOVE LOVE what your dream is….because that makes it worth it.

8. Last, Balance. Truly work for balance in your life and owning your own business. My hubby told me last weekend that I don’t sit enough. I poured everything I could into my store for the past six months. I’m thankful, and I know I needed to do that, but now I strive for balance. Your business is a business it is not who you are. What are all those expressions….work for a living don’t live for work. That’s where I am at today…..striving for balance.

I am thrilled to be the owner of my dream, Vintage Green, and have checked a major item off my bucket list! So…if you desire to open your own business…please know I would love to share with you <3 Blessings my friends! Joyce

Longest Yard Sale

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Let’s start with this: If you have never been on the Longest Yard Sale – you NEED to!

My dear friend, Sue, and I have attended several famous, large antique shows. Last year we decided to try the Longest Yard Sale for something different. What fun we had! Last year we started at the bottom of Michigan and worked our way into Ohio. We started on Thursday morning and went for 13 hours. On Friday we stopped at 5 p.m. – only to realize we were just 3.5 hours away from home 🙂

Oh…the people we met…..Aric from RusticDiehls became a great friend (I bought a ton of green goodies from him!)…..and the things we saw for sale……antiques to car seats! Both vendors and shoppers were so kind and fun. We met a couple from Canada who were driving the WHOLE route. They told us every state had different finds for sale and even had bands playing! We met another couple from California who bought enough stuff to stock their antique store for six months!!

So, of course we marked these dates off on our 2015 calendars and planned for more shopping and fun!

This year we drove to the bottom of Ohio Wednesday night. We started out Thursday morning at 8 a.m. IN THE RAIN :(…….several dealers were set up, but all was covered and there was no one to buy from. So it started out slow for us. We met the die-hard junkers, the serious shoppers that morning!

By Thursday night the back seat area of the truck was full, and the back of the truck was full (but the fold-up cover was down to protect from rain). We both knew if we were going to do more shopping on Friday the rain had to stop so we could open the cover and go vertical with purchases. Friday morning we emptied the truck and repacked. The gentleman getting in the car commented on our packing skills! (you know I have a virtual PhD in packing!!)

Now I should tell you that Sue only bought four things (last year too – might be a pattern!) and they were small items. But she points things out for me, helps me load, and makes me laugh all the way. Spending those days with her is as much a perk as the shopping! Love you Sue <3 On Friday we scored some great, big finds. I can talk about the stuff, I can show you the pictures of what I bought.....but the people and the stories! That is the best. We met a lady who rang a cowbell after we realized we knew some of the same people, we kept crossing paths with two ladies we met at the hotel Thursday morning, we met a gentleman who helped us use a ratchet strap (thank heavens!), and we chatted with strangers who became friends all through the state of Ohio. We met three guys named Bob (all selling next to each other) and drank Apple Pie Moonshine with Bob #2 (boy, could I get in trouble if I had that recipe!). We saw Minions, outhouses for sale, a truck and trailer stuck in the mud with men trying to figure that one out!, we saw a map that you put your location pin in, and the water view in Celina, OH was beautiful, and we saw AMAZING fields, blue skies houses, barns. We spent both our two days junkin' from Hamilton, Ohio to West Unity, Ohio. The miles between allowed us to find treasures; but the best part was we made friends, we connected with people we will probably never see again, and we (once again) fell in love with 127. Did I mention - you NEED to do this 🙂 Blessings, Joyce

We ALL have that One Item

Frame of Cabinet Cabinet Cabinet Nearly Done

I bought this cabinet in September 2014!! It was in pieces, literally. The lady I bought it from moved from Florida to Michigan five years before I bought the cabinet. She labeled each piece and then took it apart. During her five years in Michigan it was stored, in pieces, in her garage. It was never put back together. So, when she decided to move back to Florida she had a huge sale. No more dragging things back and forth were her words.

So, I took a gamble and bought her puzzle!! Because my hubby is so handy I often buy projects. But this, well, I wondered if I had crossed the line! We both knew as I unpacked my car this was going to be a big project!

The fall was busy for us, then winter was too cold to work on it in the garage. Then in the spring my store opening took every bit of fix-it, attention and well, frankly all our time! That cabinet continued to stare at both of us. We knew it would be a big task. And we all know that big tasks are easy to put off. So, quick fixes bumped this big cabinet project (several times over!).

Finally today my hubby had enough of that cabinet “looking” at him 🙂 When I arrived at home today (after the store closed) I was greeted by the sides of the cabinet coming together. Several hours into putting this back together it is in the garage awaiting a really great wipe down! Thanks honey!

No longer is that cabinet waiting to be restored to its’ gorgeous self <3 Blessings, Joyce

Screen Door Love

Fitting Framed Trimming Screen Door

One of the last store projects was to put in a screen door. Well, it’s in and complete with the “slam” sound 🙂

Thankful for my handy hubby who spent his Sunday afternoon putting the screen door in for me <3 Hoping to see you at Vintage Green soon! Blessings, Joyce

Love of Junk


Are you a junker? Someone who is always checking out garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores…..maybe even the curb?!? If you are….do you ever wonder where you picked up the habit?

This is my dad. He gave me the love of old, repurposed, junk. During my high school years I remember going with my parents to flea markets (and there were no tube socks or headbands available!!), people would lay out blankets and put their wares on them. My dad has been a saver of junk and turning it into something of value. Years ago he gave me an old table on wheels. It has an enamel top. When he bought it the black mold and smell made me wonder what he was thinking. But, it is still in my laundry area today. It’s washed, clean and the legs are painted green (just for me!).

He’s also a putterer. He could spend hours fixing, gluing and painting to get a piece just right. A tinkerer! He’s the person I still call with how to wash something, or a tool I should use. Last week I called to find out how to get mold out of a vintage wicker recliner (which is wonderful now and will make it into the store in the next week). I learned the bleach, soap and hot water scrub from my Dad.

So, it was no surprise today to have my parents pull into the store parking lot with this cabinet. Best part? It didn’t fit into their car and it was roped on to their trunk! For those of you who saw the cabinet I bungee corded to my car a few weeks ago; you will now understand where my packing skills came from 🙂

My dad said now that garage sale season is upon us I should expect more junk deliveries! I say…..bring it on Dad <3

Love to buy dirty brown :)

Glass Cabinet

I bought this cabinet about a month ago. It was DIRTY BROWN. I think the cobwebs, on the bottom, had their own cobwebs!! It was nasty. But nothing is better than purchasing something awful and breathing new life into it.

Everything I bring home gets a soapy, bleach bath (and old trick my dad taught me), and then comes the fun part! I decide what color to paint it, what needs repairing, etc. Fortunately for me my hubby is super handy! (Although I’m not sure he always appreciates that I utilize his skills!)

My favorite part is the painting. We all have our own relaxation, right? I can get lost in painting for hours. If I have the time nothing is better than lining up my driving with furniture to paint!

So, back to the cabinet……it was fixed, washed, painted and the back papered. I LOVE how it turned out 🙂

It will be in the store when I open again! Be sure and stop by and check it out <3

AMAZING Green Cabinet <3

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Lin and Vern, my dear friends, bought this AMAZING cabinet at an estate sale. It was in the basement of a house in Grand Haven (my hometown)……so back to the cabinet 🙂

Turns out it was built IN the basement, Turns out the back was missing, Turns out it had to be sliced, diced and carried out in pieces. Vern did painstakingly carried it out, took one of the doors to the paint store for the exact paint match, put it on casters and reassembled this one piece in three.

The cabinet has latches on the top….which make the three pieces into one piece. Because of that we were easily able to get it into the store. That means it can easily leave the store and head to your home <3

Having said that I want to put a crazy high price on it – so I can keep it, admire it, fill it, and drool on it 🙂 but, Lin and Vern want to sell it. They are hoping someone will adopt it and take it to their loving home.

Truly – this is a piece you just have to see…and lovingly touch it <3

The measurements: 11′ 9″ long, 6 feet tall and 21″ deep. It is on casters. Price is $1,300. They are offering local to Grand Haven delivery for free.

Please come by and see this beauty <3

Blessings, Joyce

Grand Opening – Yay :)

Redo Grand Opening

What great fun the past two days have been! Thank you to everyone who came to the store, shared kind words with me, gave me a hug <3......and a special thank you to everyone who has encouraged my dream! I say this often - but I really am blessed <3 Several things sold (yay!!)....so late today new items were brought in and an overhaul occured! All the pics are up on my Facebook account. My hours this week.....every day from noon - 6 p.m. Hoping to see you 🙂 Blessings, Joyce

Coolest Sign – Ever!!

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I’ve learned in the past month that it takes many people to open a store!! So many of my friends, and family, have shared their gifts with me. How BLESSED I am. From friends hauling items, all the work from my hubby, spending a day setting up, washing my check-out cabinet, helping with their truck, painting the front door, offering support, prayers and encouragement.

But I have to share with you the work of my dear friend, Amber (I Do Signs on Facebook)……if you follow me on any social media sites – you may remember the signs she did for my son/daughter-in-laws wedding last August. While I have to tell you she has amazing chalk 🙂 talent – I do confess – this may be her most amazing work to date! Don’t you LOVE LOVE LOVE the sandwich board she made for my store <3 And.....she's offering a chalk class - you should sign up 🙂 Who knows when I will need your help for my store 🙂 Feeling BLESSED. See you starting Saturday at the Grand Opening Week <3

Store Front <3

Beginning Dan Working On the ladder Store Front Vintage Laid Out

How blessed I am!! My dream of having my own store is a short, six days away! I have a wonderful, handy!! husband who is nailing, hanging and fixing for the store (I think it really is because he is so happy his garage will finally be empty!!)….my children have helped haul and hang things. I’m also blessed with friends who gave time to haul and arrange. On top of that – I seem to have moved into a neighborhood of people who support each other’s businessess!

Words simply cannot express how COOL it is to stand in front of my store. I’m SO excited to share it with all of you. The store opens at noon this coming Saturday – ahahahaha 🙂 SO EXCITING!!

Blessings, Joyce