The Stairway to Nowhere
When you walk into our shop, one of the first things people notice is our beautiful, old stairway filled with decor, books and everything in between. And then, they look up and say…”is that a stairway to nowhere?” Why yes, yes it is. Of course there is a story behind our famous stairway but more than that, there is a lesson to be learned.
A few years back, there was a great store in McIntosh located in the old hardware store called Joan’s Junk Connection. I loved that store...it was big, old and FULL of old stuff. And I mean STUFF. The owners, Joan and her Mom Donna were not new to this business and in this venture they would buy out entire estates. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a store that buys out estates, but if you have, you know you may have to dig a little (part of the fun) but if you do, you could find absolutely anything. On this particular day and was just looking around and noticed this huge, solid, oddly shaped piece of something on the floor in the back room. After looking at it for a few minutes, I realized it was a stinkin’ whole staircase. And it was beautiful.
When I first realized what it was, knew I loved it but also realized that I had no idea what I would do with it. So I did the thing where you walk away (I don’t suggest this). As I visited the shop several more times over the next few weeks, I noticed that the staircase was still there. How on earth had no one bought this incredible piece of history!? I swear it was taunting me. Anyways, later on, Joan called me and said that she wanted to move the staircase-it was taking up lots of room and did I want it for a very reduced price. Ummmm….YES! So, I paid for my staircase but didn’t know where I would store such a thing. I would figure that out- I was just so excited.
Over the next couple of weeks, I didn’t have the best of circumstances. Actually I was a complete disaster. The building that I was currently renting for my retail and storage space was literally raining inside. We had just had a pretty big storm and there was a very obvious hole in my roof. After bringing our kiddie pool to the shop and trying to save every piece of inventory we could, Bryce and I decided we needed out. Almost everything had been ruined and I was feeling like maybe I wasn’t supposed to have a store. Maybe this was a sign that I was doing the wrong thing. Well Bryce knew better and said it was time we bought a building for the store.
There was a building in town that I had been lusting after for a few years but the owner was not ready to sell. I was heartbroken, frustrated and feeling pretty lost. If this was what I was supposed to be doing, why was everything so hard? So Bryce suggested we look at a different building that was vacant downtown. At first, I couldn’t even imagine it as something else. It had been closed for several years and was a complete disaster. Drop ceilings, laminate flooring, overgrown everything and filled with old baking equipment-like all of it. I agreed to go and take a look and the minute I stepped through the front door, I could see it all. With some (A LOT) of work it would be the perfect space.
Within those 3 months of complete chaos I went from a basically collapsing, water-logged building, ruined inventory and lost hope, to purchasing my own building, renovating it, buying new inventory and setting up my new store. I had travelled all over looking for the perfect pieces to outfit my new space and had brought everything in to feel it out (I do that a lot) only to feel like something was missing. And then it hit me, I did have a cool staircase just hanging out down the road. But honestly, how was I going to get it there and would it even fit? We went and picked it up (with lots of amish muscle) and that was it. It was the last piece & it made everything work.
I realize this is a long story regarding a staircase, but I learned something that day. I learned that there is always a bigger picture and just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there waiting for everything to fall into place. The first time I saw that staircase, I not only fell in love with it but knew it was supposed to be mine. It took me a while but I finally followed my gut and purchased this random stairway not knowing where it would lead me. Every time I look at that staircase, I remember to follow my gut, take a chance and that although it may seem that it leads to nowhere, it led me right to where I was supposed to be.