Tonight, I’m sitting at one of the tables in my candy store. It’s been over two months since my last blog post. I have been wanting to write for a while but have been so tired from getting the candy store ready to open. The last time I wrote it was about my love of York, SC and how it reminded me of the small towns where I grew up. Prior to that post I wrote about the lemons I was experiencing in my personal life and renovations at the store.
I would be lying to you all if I said I didn’t think about giving up during the Lemons over the past two months. There were a couple times when I weighed the pros and cons of giving up on my dream. It is not easy for someone who is use to safety nets and has a fear of failure to keep having things go wrong and not think about giving up. However, I did not let those thoughts last too long in my head. Renovations did not go as planned financially, I was displaced for a month as far as living arrangements (including being away from my cat – I boarded her so she would have consistency), financially I’m strapped, my personal life has taken a nose dive, but I’m still very happy and have no regrets. Yes, I did just write that I’m happy. I’m following my dreams, dreams I had for 35+ years.
I’m not going to write that everything is going perfect with the store, my life, and apartment, but I am glad I did not give up. I am in debt, maxed out everything to fulfill my dreams. Those who know me very well, know how much this bothers me. I am someone who watches their credit score constantly and when it drops a point or two, I panic. I also pay off credit cards immediately which is not an option currently. Right now, with the debt I’ve incurred my credit score has dropped drastically. Some of you may be wondering why is she putting herself in such a position and why is she not getting a “real” full time job and just run the store part-time. My answer to those statements “Because that is not my dream.” My dream is to make this business a success. I’m only 5 months into the adventure (six weeks I’ve been open). You cannot base your decisions on the short-term results. The sales have been good, but could be better. I’m looking at options to improve the sales, getting my online store going will definitely help along with booking events where I provide candy. I am sponsoring local high school sports teams (football & volleyball) and advertising on the radio along with some print advertising.
Something you all may not know about me, I love business as much as I love candy making. I have had some people give me advice and I listen, but ultimately, I have to do what is best for me and the company. I am going to start working with the South Carolina Small Business Development Center to help me build my company. I am also reaching out to other resources.
I want to build my business to the point where I can help those who have stuck by me during the good, bad, and ugly. I want to build my business to help bring more people to downtown York, SC. I love this town and the people, this is one of those places that is a hidden treasure. But in order to grow the town, business owners and residents have to be ready to change and grow with it. There will be growing pains along the way, but it will be worth it. Not only am I a downtown York business owner, but I’m also a downtown resident, which gives me a double vested interest in the town’s success.
I could not have gotten the store open and keep it open without the help of fantastic friends, Amber Palmer, Ashlee Bryant, Kate Ambrose, Kayla Danielle, Zac Clark, and their families. The sacrifice they (and their families) have made to help me, has humbled me. No amount of “Thank You’s” to them or their families will ever feel like enough. They not only helped with doing things, but their emotional support was and still is the biggest thing that is needed when trying to fulfill dreams. I learned a lot this year, but one of the most valuable lesson was, that you cannot do everything yourself and sometimes you have to put your pride away and ask for help.
I have gone through a lot of emotions during the last few months. I was happy to be out of a stressful job, but scared I no longer had a safety net. I was sad because I lost one of my cats during this process and the other one is still struggling with being alone. I was stressed when lemons were tossed at me from all angles. I cried a lot due to relationships that went sour (with men and friends). I was afraid of failing and making the wrong decision (which I did on a couple things). I felt and still feel guilty that I cannot monetarily pay those who have helped me get to where I am right now (I will make it up to them someday soon). I was ecstatic when I opened the doors and the customers came and they continue to come. Seeing the look on the kids’ faces when they walk through the door for the first time, the wide eyes, big smiles, and excitement, makes everything I went through to get to this point so worth it. I enjoy listening to the adults relive childhood memories when they see the various old-time candies like Candy Cigarettes, bbbats, Cracker Jacks, Whistle Pops, Slap Stixs and Mega Lollies (just to name a few).
In today’s world with all the bad that is going on, I want to have a place where people can escape that atmosphere even if it’s just for a couple minutes. The store is bright (pink and yellow). The décor on the walls are positive sayings and thoughts. The positive is not just for my customers, but also for me. I have been influenced by negative thoughts and ideas for so long that I did not want to bring those type of thoughts into my candy store (or my apartment). I still can feel my mind drift to negative thoughts, it did tonight, but I walked around and read every plaque/sign I have in the store to make me remember the positive. It reminded me of why I am on this journey and that the bumps I’m encountering are temporary. The sayings reminded me that I am in my happy place.
I do miss having family and my close friends from Pennsylvania around. We had the Grand Opening for the candy store August 12th. It was one of the biggest Grand Openings in the City of York. I couldn’t have been any prouder of the turn out and support from everyone in the community. We had so many people here that day I was so overwhelmed with the love. If you follow my Facebook page, you probably seen the videos and pictures. While I was extremely happy that day, I cried that night because I had such a huge event in my life, but no family to see it all. I know my cousin and his wife would have come up, but I had asked them to come to help with Summerfest which was occurring two weeks after my Grand Opening. I was missing my best friends from Pennsylvania, none of them could make it down. I know that someday they will all make it down here to see my store and apartment. I calmed myself down because I have to remember it was me that decided to have this journey in York, SC not in Pennsylvania. While I love my family and friends, I needed to take this journey in the south, away from my past and into my future.
I still hear the words in my head from my ex during the divorce, he said to me “I wanted to be happy, you wanted the world. You can’t have the world.” As much as I should not let those words remain in my head, I do. I don’t understand why a person can’t have it all (“the world”). Then I look at my life like I was doing tonight and think maybe he was right. I have a great store which will continue to grow and prosper. I have fantastic friends and family. But when it comes to love that has escaped me. Every time I think I have someone in my life that could be “Mr. Right,” something happens to ruin it. Sometimes it’s me because I will not tolerate being treated badly, I will not allow myself to be used, or I find out they were lying. Every time I go through something like this I ask myself what am I doing wrong. Am I being too picky. Yes, I know I’m being picky. I want a relationship that will last the rest of my life. I do not want to settle. I want to be happy. I want the world. I just feel right now the romantic world is elusive for me. As my one friend has told me I have to be patient.
I will be posting more blogs going forward. As you will notice on my website, there are two blogs one that will discuss lemons and how to get through them. The other blog will be talking about candy. I will write about trends in candy, things I have discovered in the candy world. I will also post some videos of me working in the shop on the homemade stuff.
September is a full month with a lot of things to talk about. It starts my favorite time of the year, Fall. I love the changing of the leaves, the cooler weather and the pumpkin smells/flavors. In September, we celebrate Patriot Day (9/11). I still remember where I was, what I was doing and how I felt when 9/11 occurred. September is also Suicide Prevention month. I attempted suicide several times in my life because I felt there was no other choice. Luckily, I am here to tell you there was another choice. I will write a blog that talks about how I was feeling each time. It will be what I went through, but I know others who felt similar. I will be writing it to hopefully help those who may be feeling they don’t have a choice, a way out, or that no one understands their struggle. I want them to know they are not alone. September is also Childhood cancer awareness month, while my cancer occurred as an adult, I know children who have had cancer. I could not imagine going through it as a child. It was hard enough as an adult understanding why I got it and how to fight it. The kids that are going through it are heroes to me for their fighting and positive outlook.
I want to take this opportunity to Thank all of my readers, followers, friends, family, fellow business owners, and community for all their support on my Blog and my Candy Store. I could not have done this without each of you. We do it as a team, as a support system. Together we can accomplish anything.
The pictures with this blog are all the positive messages I have around the store. They all resonate with me and as I said earlier, I do read them just to remind myself of my journey. A lot of people tell me to stop looking back, which is true to an extent. Looking back does not have to have negative results. Sometimes looking back is to see how far you have come. There were many times in life I thought about giving up. I’m glad I didn’t and I will help anyone not give up. The positive changes in the end are so worth going through the lemons life throws at you. I’m proof of that.
Believe in yourself!
Don’t let fear control you!
Never give up on your dreams!