This is a busy week for our store as it is buzzing with customers new and old for our huge annual Labor Day sales event, one of our biggest sales events of the year. The hustle and bustle is invigoratingly “the good kind of tired” and reminds us that as a small business we aren’t anything without our loyal customers who come back time and time again and room after room to let us into their lives and their homes to work our design magic and do what we LOVE to do. This is also an eventful month for us as we celebrate our upcoming 9th anniversary of the store and head into double digits- that’s a lot of time, a lot of customers, a lot of homes designed, friendships made, and personal stories heard, a lot of events and accolades, a lot of changes…Even though our official anniversary date isn’t until next week we thought it would be appropriate to share on this Labor Day holiday week a note from our beloved store owner on why for us this truly is a labor of love…
I heard a man tell a story once about a trip to the Holy Land where the group he was with were going to hike up to the top of the Mount of Olives to watch the sunrise. This required them to get up and start their journey while it was still dark. The guide gave each of them a flashlight and told them to walk single file on the path and only shine the light on the person’s feet ahead of them and step where they stepped. They got to the top and watched the sun come up, enjoyed some time taking in all of the scenery, and then started the trek down the mountain. They were surprised to see that the path they had traveled on was very narrow and on one side dropped straight down and on the other side went straight up. One wrong step could result in tragedy. He commented that had he known what the path was like beforehand, he would have never started the trip…but he would have missed a magnificent sunrise.
That is how I feel about the nine years that I have been blessed to own Front Door Fabrics & Interiors. The trip to this point has journeyed through a major economic crash, downsizing and moving the entire store next door, major surgery, the retirement and exit of my two partners, staff changes, branding changes, life changes and so much more. Had I known what the path was going to look like, I would have never started. However, I would have missed the glorious view of seeing God do things I could have never done on my own.
When we bought the store, I knew it had to be about more than making money, so we looked for a non-profit that we believed in and found it almost immediately. It has been our unbelievable privilege to partner with She Is Safe for 9 years helping women in Mali, Africa. We have sent money to buy sewing machines for women who have been trained to sew and set up their own business so that they can provide for their families. To date, we have sent enough money for nearly 100 sewing machines!!! What an amazing honor to know that what we do here in Charlotte, has an impact around the world.
In the nine years that we have been in business, I have had the privilege to work alongside of some of the greatest men and women I have ever known…people who care for this store as if it were their own…people who care for each other and every customer who walks through the front door…people who work hard and never complain. I’m blessed with a family who has sacrificed time, money and efforts to help make it a success. My former partners, who took hold of the vision in the beginning, came along side me and poured their lives into this place for 5 years, infusing it with their creativity and efforts. We have had a prayer team, our ‘Doorkeepers’, who have faithfully prayed, encouraged, thrown employee appreciation days and lifted us up when we couldn’t take one more step.
I have had the honor of listening to the stories, (and see the family pictures that come up on their phones as they show us pictures of their house) of customers who have suffered illness, personal loss, joy in new houses and babies. All that life brings our way comes through our front door and we are blessed to experience it with our customers. We have welcomed newcomers into our city and they have found their first friends here. We have waved goodbye to others as they moved out of town, but delighted that they wanted us to help them long distance with their new homes.
We have loved watching the progression of our marketing and advertising and enjoyed collaborating and brainstorming for hours until we got just the right shade of turquoise and grey and just the right logo and font. Photo shoots that allowed us to be completely creative and photographers who ‘got it’ and let us do our thing while they did theirs. I have had business consultants who have suffered long right beside me, showed me the way through tough spots and helped me learn how to work on my business, not only in it. I have also been privileged to not only have great relationships with our manufacturer’s representatives, but would consider them dear friends. Our UPS and Fed Ex guys bring us joy every day, not only in the beautiful things they deliver, but in their spirit and friendship.
To the accountants and insurance agents and landlords and a host of other professionals who have used their gifts and talents to complement ours; to my employees and friends and family; to everyone who has had even a minute part whether it was shopping her or recommending us to friends; to God who made it all possible in the first place…thank you from the bottom of my heart. It truly does take a village and I’m so blessed to be a part of this one.
So as we take the next step into our tenth year, it is my hope and prayer that each person who walks through our front door, leaves feeling better than they did when they came in. I pray that we can continue to help you make your homes and offices a place where you want to invite people in to share life with you. I pray that you will find this to be a place where you can feel at home the minute you come through the Front Door!
Blessings to you all,
Thank you to everyone that makes Front Door what it is today and what it will continue to develop to be in year ten!