26 November 2007

Bonne Anniversaire to The Blissful

2007: The Year of the Carousel.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
This week last year, we were earnestly working around the clock to put the finishing touches on our shop in time for a December 1st grand opening at our new Fulton Drive location. We knew we’d come a looong way from our earliest beginnings in a barn the previous year. When we finally opened our doors on December 1st, 2006, we sensed we were stepping into a brave new era. And so the first of December is a landmark day in the history of The Blissful. What excites me is looking back and realizing how very far we’ve come in just a year, and better yet, how very much more lies ahead!

And so we're going to make a bit of a fuss about it. This coming weekend, we invite you to celebrate our one-year anniversary with us. Shop The Blissful on Friday, November 30th, Saturday, December 1st, and Sunday, December 2nd and take 20% off of one item on premises (some exclusions apply). In addition, because tradition holds that we celebrate first anniversaries with gifts of paper, we're taking an additional 10% off of all paper items, including books, 2008 calendars, and stationery (it's time to start making out those holiday cards and cartes postales, you know). It's the The Blissful Bonne Anniversaire Sale, and it's a good one!

As we gear up for another weekend of holiday shopping, would you like to take a little Before-and-After photo tour with me? You would? Superbe! Here we go!

BEFORE: Get a load of The Blissful shortly after we took possession of the space in early November 2006. Yikes! Insulation was all over the floor as sheets of drywall lay stacked knee high. When we crossed the threshold of our new shop just after construction began, this was what awaited us.

AFTER: And baby, take a look at us now! Hard to believe it's the very same space.

BEFORE: Okay, these photos are a little out of order. This is the way the space looked when we first laid eyes on it, before we ever signed the lease and gutted it. On our first showing with the property manager, I had a strong feeling that this was our space, as inglorious as it looked (and smelled). Behold the lovely green walls (in two unattractive shades!) and the stained, matted grey carpet. Still, my mind's eye could envision what this place could and would become: the lush, quirky boutique overflowing with quality, Euro-styled goods that is The Blissful.

AFTER: A little more glorious today, I dare say. :)

BEFORE: Before it was ours, one-half of our space was a Bureau of Motor Vehicles (I actually got my driver's license here at the age of sixteen), then a golf shop, then a bead shop. The other half was a nail salon with Pepto Bismol pink walls. Those had to go.

AFTER: Practically everything in the space was altered in a major way before we moved in. We had a new ceiling installed and new flooring laid, new lighting (cans, tracks, and chandeliers), new electrical put in exactly where I specified (unfortunately I overlooked the bathroom, so because we are outlet-less in there, we can never plug in a lamp, a fragrance burner, or even my straightening iron! Now how did a girl with naturally curly hair overlook that one?) Walls were torn down and new walls were constructed. A utility closet was cleverly concealed. We then painted the walls--and I mean all the walls--not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE TIMES. Yes, we really did.

BEFORE: Okay, now we're back to the part when they gutted the whole place. These HVAC tubes--or whatever they are--reminded me of elephant trunks. The wooden wall supports (gosh, I know there's a really basic word for those that I should know but it's just escaping me at the moment) demarcate our storage room and my teeny, tiny little office, which, in hindsight, should've been just a teeny bit bigger.
AFTER: Now look at this lovely corner. My office (which is barely big enough for two people to turn around in, nevermind the desk, the chair, and the two large filing cabinets) is hidden away behind our Sid Dickens vignettes.

BEFORE: And on the other side of the shop, take a look at the area that would become our Boudoir. Did I mention the old Pepto pink walls?

AFTER: The pink is gone, but the thrill? No, we've still got a few thrills.

BEFORE: Then one day...the electrical was finished, the drywall was up and plastered, the floor was laid, and all the construction workers moved on to their next job site, taking their gear and their royal mess with them. And we finally began to...move in!!!

AFTER: What a difference a year makes.

BEFORE: And there she is, folks, the intrepid proprietor, working at retrieving a paint chip from this circa 1880s table. We thought we might try to match this color for our walls. We took said paint chip to the paint store, had it mixed, slapped it up there, AND!...no. As I said, we painted our walls FIVE TIMES.

AFTER: And here she is today. Does this look too much like one of those cheesy MySpace photos?

AND EVER AFTER: See how this next photo is a bit fuzzy? I don't mind it that way. It's a bit imperfect, like life, like shopkeeping, like appointing your home should be. Never too studied, always desirous of a relaxed effect. I like to think of this photo as resembling one of a carousel rider. The carousel is gorgeous, gilded, whimsical, and a place where you can let your hair down. The rider remains in motion, free and easy and always with a little 'wheeee!' in the back of her throat. I hope The Blissful creates a similar experience for our customers. And this carousel rider? She's good for another few thousand rides. Here she is, about to yell to the operator: Keep going! I want to stay on! We hope you'll join us this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as we celebrate the one-year anniversary of The Blissful. Those of you who subscribe to our e-mail list, watch out for a GAWGEOUS (channeling Savannah, Georgia) new annnouncement in your Inbox this week. (To sign up for our e-mail list, send a blank e-mail with the word 'Subscribe' in the subject heading to info@theblissful.com and we'll gladly add you to our list.) Click here to view details about this weekend's event.

Thank you to all of our customers, locally and around the U.S., who have supported The Blissful in our first year in Canton. May there be many more!


Joy said...

Wow, what a great post! I really enjoyed seeing the transformation of your store, amazing really. Only wish I lived closer...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!! Your hard work sure paid off!
Can you tell me if your floor is laminate and if so the name of it. Looks like just what we are looking for for our basement and not an easy task to find.

The Blissful said...

Hi, Sue--

Our floor is a very realistic-looking wood laminate. I cannot remember the name of the brand but the style is Dover Pine. We wanted something that looked as much like real wood as possible, yet was easy to care for, as well as something that wouldn't crack as we move furniture around a lot! It's not uncommon for customers to stoop down and touch it to see if it's real wood.

If you e-mail me at info@theblissful.com, I can tell you where I purchased it so that you can inquire about the vendor.

Have a wonderful week. :)


dahlias said...

Happy Anniversary! Hope your week is wonderful!


melissa @ the inspired room said...

Oh, how much fun this was! Hooray for your first year, what a transformation!

Things are looking so wonderful, I'd move in, if only you had an outlet in the bathroom!


Francie said...

Yay Abby! I am so impressed w/ your vision. The transformation from what it was to what you and your mom have now is definitely something to be proud of (since you were formerly an English teacher, I'll apologize for ending the sentence w/ "of")! =]

For Love of Home said...

Your store is incredible. I will have to put you on my list for my next buying trip. Thanks for the inspiration.

Laurie , owner of the french hen, essex, ct said...

What a year full of accomplishment! You are clearly a driven woman with beautiful "vision". Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season.

karen said...

Such hard work and creative talent building such a treasure chest of eye candy. I loved how you created this post and showed us the before and after. I wish I lived nearby...I would have been on your doorstep when you opened the door. Blessings, Karen