Last June we "opened" our doors with the plan to offer private in-home lessons and parties. On our first day, we posted on the Neighbors and Friends of West Hartford Facebook page to promote our new business. Karla Kress-Boyle, the owner of Imagine Studio, reached out to us to see if we'd like to hold classes and parties at her dance studio. I will always be so grateful to her as it gave Hartford Stitch a temporary home to try out different party and class concepts and grow into the business we are today.
However, it became apparent earlier this year that a permanent home would need to be in our future. While I love the flexibility that Imagine Studio provides, I'm getting a little tired of lugging my equipment from venue to venue for classes and events. I started looking for a new storefront but, as anyone who has looked for commercial real estate in West Hartford knows, spaces are very large and accordingly have pretty steep rents. Not a great fit for a small business.
Now the crazy part...
Early in February I was walking down Park Rd., frustrated after I yet again contacted a landlord about an open storefront to find that it was way, way, way out of my budget (and much too much space anyways). I walked past a 3 story white building that housed an Insurance Agency and wondered if they took up the whole space. Who rented the second floor? Could you rent a second floor? How would you even get in touch with someone about that?
The day got away from me and I quickly forgot about that building. On the way to my Adult 101 class that evening I decided that, by looking for space, I was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and was causing myself too much stress. Someday, I told myself, a student would walk into my class and say "I own a building on Park Rd, do you want to rent the second floor?". That would be the sign I needed to know it was time to move on. After all, that's pretty far fetched, so what are the chances?
30 minutes later a student walked into the class, looked around, and told me she owned a building on Park Rd and would I have any interest in renting space on the second floor? Can I tell you that it was all I could do not to burst into tears? I think I stared at her blankly for a long while before I managed a nod. I asked what building and she said "It's an Insurance Agency". Then I threw her for a loop when I said, "Please tell me it's Walsh Brothers + Sisters". It was.
Have you ever read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert? That was without a doubt my "Big Magic" moment. I put it up to the universe and the universe said "Stop talking and make it happen already".
So the big announcement...
And now my friends, as of June 1, 2016, Hartford Stitch's new home on the second floor of 298 Park Rd, in the Walsh Brothers + Sisters building. Sometimes life works out in really crazy ways.
So what does this mean for Hartford Stitch and you?
• A permanent place for machines, equipment, tools, and furniture!- Our sewing machines, and all other equipment, will stay at the studio (except for the occasional off-premise event). You have all been so amazing helping me break down tables, pack up my equipment and load up my car after every class-- but it's no longer necessary!
• More flexibility in class schedules. - I'll be able to offer classes on other nights of the week and more on the weekends as well.
• Parties! - The space is cozy but we can accommodate small parties now. Perfect for a birthday party, baby shower, bridal shower or girls night out. As they are now, they will still be available off-premise as well.
•Retail- I heard you all loud and clear that it would be a lot easier if you could buy class supplies from me instead of running out to another store. While it will never be REQUIRED for you to do so, we will now stock most supplies you need for class.
•Other fun community building events: Sit + Stitches, Charity Sewing, and more.
Before you rush over: We still have a lot of work to do getting it all gussied up and ready for classes so our official opening won't be until June 1st. The studio will be open for classes and events but won't have open retail or drop-in hour unless otherwise stated. June is going to be chock-full of great Grand Opening events so be sure to subscribe to our emails and turn on post notifications on Facebook so that you don't miss a thing!
Thanks for going on this amazing journey with me-- I can't wait for the next step!