To be honest, the main motivating factor is a reduction in overhead. After some serious thought, we decided that we didn't really need all the space that we are paying for in our current location, and that overall, the business needed a re-org. After looking at several potential new spaces, one in particular kept our attention for longer than the others. For one, it's half the price of our current space (and less than half the space, but more on that in a minute). For two, it's located on N. Mississippi Ave (for those of you non-Portlanders reading, N. Mississippi is a hip, happenin' little shopping district that has become extremely popular over the last few years). The best part is that it's not in the busy retail core of N. Mississippi (there's no way we'd be able to get a decent sized space for the price we want to pay anyway), but in the slightly more gritty, still rather industrial area, 4 or 5 blocks south of the main retail core. If you're wondering, the actual address of the new space is 911 N. Monroe St, which is located on Mississippi Ave, 3 blocks south of N. Fremont St.
Now, about that whole "less than half the space" thing. Our current space, counting the upstairs mezzanine, is about 6000 square feet. The new space is...(drumroll, please!)...about 2000 square feet!! Yes, that's 1/3 the space! So, how are we going to fit our entire operation into a space that's 1/3 the size of the old one? Well, truth be told, we haven't really made terribly efficient use of all that square footage in the current space. The upstairs balcony - well, we never really knew quite what to do with it. And the back warehouse? Well, it's certainly been convenient, but it also made it just a little too easy to buy things that maybe we shouldn't have bought, with the thought - "oh, we'll do something with it someday - and in the meantime, it's not like we're short on space!" This has contributed to us accumulating a whole bunch of stuff in the back room that has lots of potential, but that we haven't actually been able to sell!
Plus, our current location on SE Grand Ave, while very centrally located and relatively easy to get to (that is, when the city isn't busy tearing up the entire neighborhood with construction projects, which it has been for the last 6 months or so), was also very hard to see, and for some reason didn't stick in people's mind very well. I don't know how many times people came in the door saying "I've been driving around for 10 minutes trying to find this place!" Hopefully this will not be the case with the new location, as the building is very visible from the street, and we will have good signage on the building as well as sandwich boards out on the street when we're open.
So, apart from the fact that it's much smaller, how will the new location be different from our present one? Well, the main thing is that due to the obvious space constraints, we are going to be MUCH pickier about what we buy! This means that we will be buying fewer things, and consequently, the things that we do buy will have to carry that much more weight! This means that we will no longer settle for buying a piece that's "just OK" (and not totally fabulous) just because it's cheap. This means that, to a much greater extent than we already have been, we will be doing what I refer to as "exercising our 'NO' muscle" (as in, saying "no thank you" to something that someone's offering to sell us if it doesn't quite meet our standards).
In addition, the new shop will operate more as a working studio than a retail store. We will only be open 2 or 3 days a week (yet to be determined), and other times during the week by appointment. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost is that the new space is not actually a retail space. There are no windows to Mississippi, and it's zoned industrial. One enters the building from the rear (facing Monroe St), and rings a buzzer to get in (the entrance is shared with another shop that is strictly a workshop with no retail at all), except on days when we are "officially" open, when we will likely have the door propped open during business hours. Also, we've always felt that operating on a limited retail/by appointment basis would allow us to spend more time consulting with each client without distraction, and helping them to realize the best pieces for their specific situation. We will, of course, continue to grow our online sales as well, focusing more on our own newly re-launched website and less on eBay.
IN THE MEANTIME, please make some time to stop by our CURRENT location, as we have lots of stuff to get rid of before the move! All warehouse "as is" inventory is currently out on the showroom floor, priced as marked, and all regular priced inventory is 25-50% off regular prices! Maybe best of all, we have hundreds of yards of upholstery fabrics that we have reduced to only $5/yd! The sale will continue through at least June 15th, and possibly for the week after that. If you want to keep apprised of everything that's going on with the move and the grand opening of the new space, please go to our website via the link above and sign up for our newsletter! In the meantime, we hope to see you at the sale in the coming weeks!