Tuesday, April 26, 2011

the store, stepping back (and a giveaway)

I opened the Country Weekend store 6 months ago, in October. It was a very impulsive thing to do. And I have not been there for the past 4 weeks! I was worn down by the long drive, the constant snow and ice, moving stuff from my car to the second floor, and slooow sales (now I know why so many stores there close in winter). Fortunately Harriet watches the store when I can't be there, so I visited family in Vermont and New Jersey, got the Etsy store going, and did a little reflecting on how this started.

  •  In June, I started thinking about taking a space in an antiques cooperative.
  • In July I looked at the store I'm now in, which my friends were vacating as they moved to a bigger store in the same building. It was 535 square feet for $400 a month, heat included--a bargain, so close to New York City. In a small town in the Catskills where we have a weekend house, but 240 miles from my primary residence. Inside an old mercantile, divided into several shops.
  • In August I said why not? I signed a lease that would become effective in September, and started going to auctions and filling up the garage.

I thought up a name, got liability insurance, found someone to make signs (more on her later), called the electric and phone company, worked on a logo, and oh so much more. I opened Columbus Day Weekend.

I went up almost every weekend from September to January and spent a full week there in October. There is not a more beautiful place to spend autumn. Not exactly a hardship post. This is what I look at when I have my morning coffee.

Sales were great through Christmas. People loved it and I had a lot of fun. Then winter hit hard. It started snowing and it seems like it didn't stop until about two weeks ago. But now it's spring, even in New England and upstate New York, and I am looking forward to going back this weekend.

I have made new friends in the store and because of the store. One of them is Lisa, who made my signs.
I bought a couple of her signs for myself before I even thought about the store. You can see the Cottage one at the back of the above display. I loved her work, so when I was planning the store I contacted her and she made all the signs for me.

Outside the store.
And on the front and back staircases.

Lisa is super-talented, creative and energetic.  In addition to signs, she paints and upcycles furniture and decorative items. She sells some of them in her Etsy store, Serendipity Chic Decor.  She has a wonderful blog, Serendipity Chic Design where she offers tutorials on the things she makes. She's very generous with sharing her expertise and has built a huge following in a short time. She also has a great sense of humor and a lovely family whose adventures she shares occasionally. If you hop over to her post you will see she is featuring my stores and blog and hosting a giveaway from me this week. She has been very supportive of my various endeavors and I really appreciate it.



  1. Well done on taking the risk Jen, it's obvious you love what you do. Thanks for sharing Lisa's blog link. I'm going to pop over now.


  2. Kudos on making a wonderful dream a reality! Congrats!

  3. your so lucky to have that sweet place

  4. Hi JEN!
    I decided to try to be the proud owner of that sweeeeet apron! I am a loyal follower. and I visited Pinecone Vintage. Love the heart shaped wire. My fingers are double crossed
    KAT Griffin

  5. Good for you for going with your gut. It looks like it paid off - it looks like a wonderful store in a wonderful location.

  6. Jen,
    The pics of your shop look great, you've got some cool stuff! Sometimes you just have to jump in and give it a try. We found that fall thru Xmas, maybe Jan were our best months for selling. Feb, March, April were really slow and summer was hit and miss because it seemed for us, once school was out and vactions started, we were up and down till about Sept.
    You will get your loyal customers who will come all the time, it just takes time. We would have loved only being open on the weekends! As long as you're having fun, go for it! Love the signs! Great to hear you are coming to Nashville! Have you been here before? If not, be glad to give you some suggestions on places to go. The flea market in May is the weekend of the 27-29th. If you can make it, it's worth it. If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at townandcountrygirl50@yahoo.com

  7. Your shop looks so cute. Wish I lived near you so I could visit!

  8. Hi Jen! I'm a new follower. You have such great vintage finds in your shop! You are a great inspiration for women. Keep at it and all your efforts will pay off; plus it's great knowing you're doing something you love! :)

  9. Hi Jen, nice to be catching up on your blog again... i bet you'll have an even better summer this year, and i'm wishing you tons of fun finding treasures for the shop!

  10. Just checked out the giveaway, and added a link about it on my sidebar... so glad to see more people discovering your blog and shops!