For those of you who don't already know, in September we hired a coach to help me get the business systems in place so we would be better able to serve our wonderful customers by the time we open at our new location. Let me just say, this process has been an eye opening one for me. Apparently I needed three years to get my eyes fully opened--better late than never I guess. To be fair, three years ago I wasn't exactly planning to open a grocery store. It's a funny story actually. When we first started our business it was Shea running some fitness classes in our garage and then in a warehouse in downtown Clear Lake. And that went not like we expected. The biggest lesson we've learned so far in owning a business is that things rarely go as expected, and the only way to survive in business is to view failure as education rather than condemnation. So, in the Spring of 2014 after some "education," we regrouped and decided to dream bigger. That's when BE WELLness was born--a holistic wellness company in North Iowa dedicated to helping its clients live healthy, happy, pure & balanced lives. The plan was to focus on fitness classes and some health education to start and then expand as opportunities became available. We had a couple of hiccups finding a location at first, but by August 2014, after what I truly believe was a divine intervention, we found a location and it happened to be right across the street from our house [something I had seen in a dream months earlier].
So, we began renting the back suite of our current 107 S. 4th Street location and had full intentions of leasing only the back for 2-3 years while we did some business planning to possibly open a small food coop in conjunction with the services. We expressed our intent to the landlord, to make sure he knew that we were interested in leasing the whole building a few years down the road, so that...in a few years...he would offer it to us before advertising it as available. Just one month later, [yes, I said one month] I noticed that the front tenant was packing up his stuff, and sure enough, within a few days we got a phone call from our landlord letting us know that the front tenant was moving and the entire building would be available as early as November if we we ready to expand. About that 2-3 year plan...
After weighing the pros and cons, praying, and seeking counsel from trusted mentors, we decided to take a leap of faith, the leap that became the market [now named Simply Nourished]. The building needed a new floor and we needed shelves, refrigerators, freezers, a checkout counter, inventory, and all the other things I found out we were supposed to have to open a grocery store. Miraculously, our landlord offered to put in the floor at his cost and gave us a break on rent until we were open for business. However, our timeline was still seemingly impossible. The building wasn't going to be ready until around Thanksgiving and we were hoping to open just before Christmas. By yet another series of miracles, we got the equipment we needed, ordered some inventory, and had our soft opening before Christmas in 2014.
Now, three years later we are facing a similar timeline and waiting on another handful of miracles. Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and that means so is moving week. You'd think it would be easier the second time around. Yet, here I am again, wondering how this is possibly going to work. The business coaching has really been helpful, don't get me wrong. But, it has also shown me just how many hats I have to be able to wear as a small business owner--owner, visionary, office manager, accountant, public relations director, graphic designer, store manager, research & development manager, purchaser, human relations coordinator, systems developer, sales associate, inventory counter, dishwasher, janitor.
Name a hat, and I've probably had to try and figure out how to wear it. Some hats I've been able to wear quite easily. And some, well, let's just say I'm getting a lot of failure education while I try to get them to fit. As we wrap up these final weeks of our store's first three years, my greatest hope is that I will be able to communicate my gratitude well. There are so many amazing people who have contributed to making the store possible--loving parents willing to invest in my vision, a [ridiculously] patient husband who humors nearly every crazy idea of mine, flexible and adventurous kids who have hung on for the ride, loyal and supportive staff who truly care, and our dear customers. I am continuously grateful for the patience, kindness and support of our amazing customers who continue to faithfully support us through this process. We're so blessed by you and we're truly honored to be your BE WELLness family. Thanks for claiming us, crooked hats and all.