(I started this post on 10/5/09. It took some time to finish...)
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us..." - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
As I'm sure you all know, I am an avid scrapbooker and crafter. Scrapbooking - and all things related to it (photography, card making, etc.) - is my passion. I love absolutely everything about the process. And, it is through this "hobby" that I became involved (as an employee, instructor, and designer) with our local scrapbook store, Pages In Time.
It was recently announced that, after 7 wonderful years, the owners have decided to close the store. Pages is the place that I met most of my best friends. Friends that I now consider sisters. I truly thank God every day that they are a part of my life. To me, Pages isn't just a store. It is an integral part of my life. It has been my home away from home, my refuge. A place where I could always go and find people who cared about me, supported me, and accepted me for who I am, foibles and all. People who were always willing to lend a sympathetic ear when I'd had a bad day or give me a kick in the butt when that's what I needed. I can't fully express how this is going to impact our lives. Not only are we losing our "home," but my sisters are also losing their jobs. Jobs that help to pay the bills. It is a difficult time for all of us, but especially for them. I know that your thoughts and prayers are appreciated and cherished.
It has also been difficult for our customers. Several of us have gotten tearful phone calls from our customer-friends who are just devastated by the news. To most of them, PIT isn't just a store, either. It has been a place to relax with their friends. To make and preserve memories.
The liquidation sale started yesterday. I went in last night after work. To say that it was difficult would be an understatement. I turned the corner into the complex and was greeted by a sea of cars. All I could think was "Please God, let there be a party at Uptown Kitchen." There wasn't. All of those vehicles belonged to shoppers clamoring for the deals at PIT. When I walked into the store, my stomach dropped. I didn't even recognize it with all of the neon "Sale!" signs posted throughout the store and all of the flourescent pink price tags on the products. The crop area had been all but dismantled and all of our decorations were sitting on the tables, waiting for someone to give them a new home. I thought "Where is my stocking? I'd kind of like to have it as a keepsake." but I didn't have the heart to dig through the boxes. Then one of our regular croppers asked me how I was doing. The floodgates openned out of nowhere. I was so embarrassed, but she was very understanding. It had finally hit me. I have been so blessed to be able to be a small part of so many people's lives - and to have had them be a part of mine. You just can't get that at a chain store.
PIT is closing. That's the reality, and there is nothing that we can do to change it. But, I will continue to hope and pray that someone will see the void that this is leaving in our community and try to fill it. And, if I possible, I would love to be a part of that.