06 January 2010


Typewriter keys. A clue to Abby's life after THE BLISSFUL?

Gather 'round, friends, for a big announcement.

Four years ago, I opened THE BLISSFUL near my hometown of Canton, OH. I never dreamed I'd own a shop, but somehow the vision for it was always within me, and the store soon became the manifestation of that vision: a lush, eclectic, slightly funky venue overflowing with quality, Euro-styled goods. I wanted to create a different sort of place, a lifestyle store unlike any other in the Stark County area. Quickly, we knew we were on to something, my staff and I: you--our customers, fans, and friends--told us we'd created a place where you felt comfortable, inspired, and transported. You came to THE BLISSFUL for finds unlike those anywhere else in our area. You exuberantly shared the store with your friends and quickly made customers of them, too! You even compared THE BLISSFUL to boutiques in more metropolitan cities, such as New York, San Francisco, Savannah, and others abroad. We've felt enormous gratitude, awe, and appreciation for our customers, who allowed us to recreate the store anew for twelve seasons. That's why this announcement may come as a surprise.

As we recently celebrated our Fourth Anniversary in business, I've decided it's time to close THE BLISSFUL's doors. Yes, that's right: THE BLISSFUL will be closing early in 2010. This decision emerged after many months of thought, contemplation, weighing options, and prayer. The reason? Plainly stated, I--Abby--am ready for a lifestyle change. A reinvention. A new story on a fresh page. A shift.

Time for a shift.

The indie retail lifestyle is interesting, intense, sometimes magical, and absolutely all-consuming. And after four action-packed years, I am ready for a different pace. A slowdown. A chance to rediscover the introspective, writerly me who loves to hole herself up in a coffee shop for hours, writing and reading other writers and researching about what I'm writing. The former teacher me who loves to teach and is ready to reembrace that role in some form or another, if not in the classroom, then through some alternative venue.

Longing for creative white space...

I miss the private enterprises of my life before retail. I long to spend more time with friends. I don't want to miss out on precious time with my family, especially my almost-three-year-old niece who seems to mature by leaps and bounds every week. I am sorry to have to close the shop to reclaim all this, but I know it's what I must do. {You know how sometimes you just know what you need to do, even if it's not popular?} I entertained the notion of selling the shop and letting someone else come in and live their retail dream through what I started here--but couldn't come to peace with that idea. Instead, I'm choosing to close the shop rather than sell it because I want to keep and evolve THE BLISSFUL's brand over time--from its original incarnation as a lifestyle retail boutique to whatever beautiful possibilities may lie ahead.

It has been my extreme privilege and thrill to curate this shop in Jackson Township for customers from near and far to enjoy. We've been blessed with terrific, fun, funny, and gracious customers who've shopped with us locally in the store and throughout the U.S. and beyond via our Online Boutique. We've met so many wonderful people through our retail adventures--vendors, sales reps, industry writers and editors, other retailers, and bloggers--and we have them all to thank for allowing us to live this this one of a kind experience.

I owe my biggest thanks to my parents {especially my mom Debbie Kerr, my co-buyer and the store's inimitable stylist}...

My mom Debbie and me at the Atlanta Market, July 2009. Excuse the blurriness--this is a camera phone shot.

{continued} ...my handsome and amazingly patient boyfriend Matt, Matt's generous family, my beloved rockstar Shopgirls present and past, my talented graphic designer and web technician, and all of my dear friends.

Many customers have asked me what I'll be doing next. I plan to continue my beloved work as a retail consultant to other boutique owners around the country, helping them hone their own retail visions and take their store concept to the next level with a focus on brand ideation and buying for the niche. {I love building businesses, especially all of the branding elements. To me, helping people fine tune their dreams is sacred work.} Also, I'll continue my work as a ghost copywriter for other businesses' and individuals' website and print projects, delving into project after project and coming up with just the right words.

Then...there are a couple of fantastically big projects for which I'm currently in the dreaming and planning phases. Mustn't say too much yet...don't want to spook the muse...but I'll share details of those here when the time is right. And oh! I'm going to keep blogging here on Lettres from THE BLISSFUL, under the same moniker but with a whole new point of view and range of topics. I hope you'll keep reading along with me!

Thank you one and all for supporting the shop, for reading this blog, and for helping to make THE BLISSFUL a great place to shop and one of the greatest experiences of my life so far.

So we're holding a Store Closing Sale. Everything must go! Everything in the store is discounted 20% with 60% OFF Christmas. This includes not only terrific grab-it-and-go merchandise--from candles to kitchen items, apothecary to baby items, jewelry to bedding, women's apparel, linens, home décor, and everything in between-- but also lighting, fixtures, furniture, and props and oddities. Come out and get your last fix of THE BLISSFUL while it lasts. Out of towners, bring your trailers, as we are not shipping large or heavy items. For the first time ever, and only because we're closing, we're allowed to discount Sid Dickens Memory Blocks! Out-of-town Sid collectors, please e-mail a list of what you're searching for to sales@theblissful.com and we'll let you know if we still have them in stock. {Please note that we have no tiles that retired prior to December 2007.}

All sales are final. Absolutely no holds, returns, refunds, exchanges, or store credits. This is also the FINAL CALL FOR GIFT CARDS/STORE CREDITS. If you have any outstanding cards or have given any as gifts in the past year or two, now's the time to redeem those for merchandise. Please stop in by the end of January, as our sale will progress quickly and you'll want to shop our best selection.

For large or heavy items, customers must arrange their own pick up/delivery during our Shop Hours of Mon-Sat 10-5.
We do not offer delivery service or delivery service coordination. For your delivery person's reference, our shop phone number is 330.492.2500.

For Retailers... My retailer friends know that I'm notoriously mum about my sources. It's the one thing I never, ever share, as every savvy retailer knows that one's Vendor List is like gold. It's the bread and butter of the store and it takes much time, research, travel, sleuthing, and often expensive mistakes to get one's vendor mix right. For the first time ever, I'm selling my Preferred Vendor List for $1750. This is a list of hundreds of vendors with whom I've personally done business or that I've had firsthand experience with their product line and have secreted away in my files as perfect for THE BLISSFUL. The lines on the list that we've carried in the store have a successful sales record at THE BLISSFUL {no duds or disappointments} and have been key elements of our signature look, which we describe as "earthy European with a luxe, quirky edge." If you purchase the list, for an additional $250, I'll consult one-on-one with you about the vendors via phone or e-mail for up to 2 hours. I can share top sellers from specific lines, what customers are saying, and our experiences with how to get the best results from the line. The price for my list is a fraction of a trip to a major Market when travel, lodging, and meals are considered. My line is a tremendous resource and a great boon for: new and aspiring retailers who are trying to save themselves costly mistakes and who have yet to discover sources that fit their concept as well as they'd like and actually sell; seasoned and experienced retailers who want to reinvent or freshen up their mix and who connect with the style of THE BLISSFUL; retailers who don't attend Market yet must keep their shops full, fresh, and changing. I encourage anyone whose curiosity may be piqued to click back through the many, many archived posts on this blog and take a look at what I've found and what I'm now offering to you. If you've always wondered "where we find this stuff"--now you can find out, with vendor contact info to boot! Payment in full will be accepted through PayPal only and must clear before the list is released. All sales are final; no refunds or exchanges once the list has been released. If you're interested in purchasing my Vendor List, please e-mail me at abby@theblissful.com and request a PayPal invoice. The list will be ready to release mid-January.

Let the sales begin! And here's to prodigious shifts, changes of pace, reinvention, and renewal of all sorts.

Photos courtesy of Flickr.



Jill said...

Oh Abby, I think this decision is much better than selling! THis way 'The Blissful' is still you and you can do with it as you wish in the future. I understand about reevalutating and haveing to let things go. I'm currently contemplating along the same lines about what I should do w/ my sewing enthusiasm!!!
I'm sad that I never made it to your shop. Distance and children just didn't ever allow it to happen. Maybe I can talk hubby into bringing me for your closing sale. Sounds kind of bittersweet. Would be so fun to see you in person before you close.
Glad you will still be blogging with this blog, it fits you!!
God Bless,

Batch said...

I am so sad you are closing. Wish you well and will watch for your next venture with great interest.

jackie said...

you will be missed.

molly said...

Much success to you in your new venture. I am sure you will be pleased in your new chapter, as you evolve into the next YOU! Very Exciting and it takes Guts to make this move....so good for you Abby. You have been wonderful to work with. Stay in touch. Molly

Liz Demos said...

happiness is on the horizon
thinking of you

Mary Frances said...

I am so very sad that you are closing The Blissful, but it is your personal creation, and would always be a poor imitation in someone else's well-meaning hands. I am extremely glad for the life changing experiences it enabled you to share with so many people, near and far, but most especially your Mom...my daughter and I are very close, and I would drop everything to help her achieve her dreams...you gave your mom an exceptional gift in this partnership! I most assuredly will keep up with the New Adventuras of Abby Kerr...I personally understand when the next "time of your life" is calling...and though you really won't need it...
Bon chance!
Did I spell it wrong? Oh, well...you know what I mean!!
Mary Frances

Skull-Cracker said...

Dearest Abby -

I am so sad to see The Blissful go - though I support your decision completely. Thank you for sharing your dream with us, and for your beautiful shop, lovely smile, and warm personality. I loved coming there so very much. It is the only place I have ever shopped where the owner knew me by name :) Best of luck to you, and I will keep my fingers crossed that perhaps someday, The Blissful will return.

Megan Gettan

shoppe girl said...

Always wishing you the very best...I like how Jill commented that the "Blissful" will always be yours!!
I will miss hearing your thoughts about this or that...you always inspired me through your words!!
God Bless,

Madalen said...

I remember coming to the Blissful Home when you where located in Hartville. It was there that I purchased my lovely quilt that I use to do this day. I enjoy the uniqueness of it, and even get compliments on it! I imagine like the others that frequented the store that in your place we saw ourselves...the decorator, the hopeless romantic, and the dreamer. Well wishes for you in your new ventures in life :)

à la mode designs said...

Dear Abby--

I look forward to lavishing with you in the next chapter of your journey. :)


metro home style said...

Abby you have so much to be proud of at The Blissful. I am very excited about hearing about the next chapter in your life. Enjoy putting the finishing touches on closing as I am sure you will do it with the same style and grace that you ran the store with for the past four years. You have given so much on so many levels - thank you.
- Linda

Jenny Danna said...

How sad to be closing your store...but I am looking forward to your new blog! I hope you make it to France!

Relics said...

I'm so sad and happy for you at the same time. Sad that I never made it Canton to see your shop in person. But I'm super happy for you personally. Happy that you can figure out the next greatest chapter.

Best of Luck,

amber said...

I wish you much happiness and know you'll be amazing at whatever you do! Thanks for all the love and work you put into your little shop! Thank you for all the many lessons you taught us. I can't wait to see what you do next. Much love, amber

Edward said...


Just as you were an amzing teacher, you were an amazing shop owner. How cool to be let in on both and see you succeed in both arenas. I, like many others, can't wait to see what is in store for you. You have inspired me to never settle, to always look forward. Thank you. Best of luck and much love!

<3 Dani Thiel (from my work email)

Elizabeth said...

Dear Abby,
What happy memories I have of my friends Desiree, Shannon, and I shopping at your store! Thank you for giving us an inspiring place to shop, all of the unique finds and something we all looked forward to when we got together. Best wishes to you in your future endeavors! I do secretly hope The Blissful will re-emerge in an online boutique of some sort! See you this weekend for the sale!

Take care and know that I wish you and your mom the very best,

Elizabeth “Beth” Freitag
Elizabeth Ann Jewelry

Tom said...

Abby -

I am so very sad that you are closing! I am in Australia visiting relatives, and I have told so many here "when you come to the states you have to let me take you to Blissful"! There is just nothing quite like what you have created! You and Blissful will certainly be missed. Hope I make it back to wish you the best in person, but if not, thanks for an exciting 4 years of unique finds, and best of luck in your future endeavors!
- Marcey

Peachy said...


God has blessed you with such an amazing gift to create and bring to life a magical dream land for your customers.

My mom and I were talking about how much we are going to miss the store but know that you are looking forward to what your future holds.

Ava and I will stop in this week to bid you adieu!


Karen said...

Abby - I just found your blog through Blogging for Bliss. I soooooo related to your post re: your shop closure, having done the same thing a few years ago. I miss my shop and, natch, my customers. Even tho I moved to a different state, I still hear from customers through my website that I've kept, and through my blog. And, you are so right in your thinking - it has openend up whole new worlds for me. Remember Flashdance, "Take your passion, and make it happen." I wish you the very best, no matter where your path may go.


Madison Lane said...

I was just thinking about you and checked your blog---I had a feeling you'd be moving on to something else. Thanks for trying to help "us retailers". We really took everything we read to heart. Keep us in the loop of your new venture.