It was this week a year ago I officially began the journey to realize a childhood dream. Wow, what a difference a year makes. Now I’m closing down and packing up the dream.
I get asked a lot how I’m doing and some ask what happened. These are legitimate questions and I appreciate the concern.
I’m doing as well as to be expected watching a childhood dream go away with each décor, asset, and fixture that goes out the door. I’m trying to be happy, but in all honesty, I’m not. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to be happy, it means I am trying to adjust to huge changes in my life happening all at once with the closing and moving. It means that right now I cry a lot and sometimes it’s the oddest thing that will start the waterworks. But believe me when I say, I truly will be ok, I’m a survivor in all aspects of life.
As far as answering the what happened question, here is the answer in short. Too many lemons, wrong location, too much heart and not enough head, and being me. Basically, I wanted the dream too much that I ignored my brain when I should have been listening from the beginning. While I dearly love York, SC they were just not ready to support a candy store. However, the biggest liability in the success was me. I am who I am. I am not going to change for anyone (I learned that on this journey).
I am not good at the political game that needs to be played sometimes when you own a business in a small town. People ask my opinion and I am going to give it on how an event went or how to change it or what I think needs fixing in the city. I was not good at the political stuff in the corporate world, but that is also one of the reasons I was successful. CEO’s and CFO’s liked the fact that I would give them an honest answer on an issue or project. I didn’t sugar coat it and I didn’t try to be a “yes” person. I would also tell them when they were being an ass (sorry about the language but it’s the truth).
As those of you who read my blogs and posts know I write from the heart and feelings at the time, past and present. My blogging lost me customers. In other towns, bigger towns, less conservative towns, that may not have happened, who knows for sure. But in this small town of York, SC it did. I had a tough time recovering both in the business and personally from being told that I am a bad influence on kids. There were kids and families I seen the first two months I was open, but as soon as I wrote about suicide, never seen them again.
In my blogs, I write about issues that I am familiar with and have experience with, but most importantly I write to help others. I have not gone through lemons for 48 years not to pass on the lessons learned. In some ways I feel this is my calling. For example, I am going to write about suicide because whether you want to bury your head in the sand or not, it is a major issue in today’s society. Kids (and adults) today are being bullied or humiliated (shamed) into feeling like there is something wrong with them and they feel they have no out or no one to talk to so they feel dying is the only out. So, continue to boycott me like you have been and be happy that I’m shutting down and leaving town, that’s fine, but don’t ignore the signs in your kids (or adults) or encourage the bullying behavior if it’s coming from your kid (or adult). That will be on you.
I look at so many things over the past year that I could have done differently. However, I have no regrets about any of the decisions. I do not blame anyone (including the lack of customers) other than myself. I feel we all have a plan already mapped out for us when we are born. We have to experience life and react from the experience, but the end result always gets us to where we are supposed to be. I am living my life with no regrets. Is it easy to do, NO, absolutely not, but when I’m 98 and on my death bed, I won’t say “I should have done this” or “I wish I had done that” because I would have done them.
I started taking chances 10 years ago when I went back to school at age 39 for my Master’s Degree, I took a chance 5 ½ years ago when I left a bad marriage. I took chances with two very sweet men who I had feelings for in the past 5 years, I told them how I felt about them only to be turned down and heart broken. I took a chance 3 years ago to relocate to a city (Charlotte) without a job. I took a chance 1 year ago to pursue a childhood dream. Now, I’m taking a chance and going back to my hometown and the corporate world. Why? Because I decided when I survived cancer and suicide (the attempt towards the end of my marriage) that I would live life without regret.
Life does not last forever, I have cheated death at least 8 times in my life (between suicide attempts, cancer, other health issues). I technically should not be here, but I am. Why, I’m not sure yet other than to help others. As odd as it may sound, I know that I have had an impact on several lives in the 3-year southern journey I’ve been on for my personal self-discovery that took me to Charlotte, NC then York, SC and next month back to Pittsburgh, PA.
As I prepare to leave York, it is bitter sweet, I am very sad to be leaving behind some very dear people who mean the world to me. Yet happy to be going back to family (who I know do love me) and friends that I missed during the journey.
To answer a very frequent question “are you going out of business?” The answer is no I am not going out of business. I am closing the retail location. I am relocating back to Pennsylvania. However, I am continuing to keep my South Carolina Business License and will get a Pennsylvania business license. I will be able to work in both states. I am going to work on finding a commercial kitchen near my location in Pennsylvania so I can make candies and ship them through my online store. I will update on Facebook and Instagram accounts as to my progress. I do have loyal customers who want to order off of me no matter where I am located.
To my followers, customers, friends, and family who have supported me throughout the journey and the dream, THANK YOU! I love you all!!!