Today’s post is a heartfelt one, written by Al. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
Growing up brings about so many nostalgic moments.
This weekend was a huge one for our company. HUGE, I tell you! HUGE!
Almost six years ago, we started our company in a great big 5,000 square foot building at 100 N Ardinger in Hamilton, Missouri. It was way too big for us! We refinished the front 1,000 square feet to be our shop and went to work refinishing that space.
We tore out the paneling and put up some fresh paint and a new floor and that room was great.
We got our first internet orders there and we would all package the 3-4 orders a day right up and send them off right from the cutting table.
As we continued to grow, we built a little shipping department in the back, then a machine quilting room.
Once it became more than just Becky and Jackie answering the phones, we moved our customer service into their own room.
Eventually, the shop moved to the main street (where it remains today) and that 100 N Ardinger building became strictly shipping and customer service.
And then it wasn’t big enough for that, even! It was crazy, but we needed more space for our customer service team and a loading dock. Ammon (our warehouse manager) made a great forklift, but his arms were getting tired!
About a year ago (August 8th of last year, actually) we decided it was time to build our own custom warehouse for our shipping and customer service. We had all kinds of cool stuff that needed to be in there. We needed a way to get fabric cut in the shops and then connected back into your orders so they get shipped out in a timely manner. We wanted ways of organizing products so that we could always find them, even when we were down to that very last charm pack. But mainly, we needed space.
So we got building! Winter came and snowed us out for a few months, but we kept going.
This last weekend, we finally moved our shipping over to the new warehouse.
There were so many moving parts to this move. Did we think of fire extinguishers? What about chairs for the breakroom? (sorry everyone!) Carts for the pickers and bins for the carts? We got bins for the charm packs and layer cakes, but what about notions? What do those go into?
The move got more and more complex, and was a pretty stressful time for a lot of us. And now (making sure no order was lost in the mix) we are working hard to get everything up to snuff. Now we have the room to finally hire a few more shippers and get our feet back under us. Our goal by the end of the month is to be back to getting your orders out the day you place them. We are excited!
With all that hubub going on, I was a little surprised at some of the feelings. Sarah, Natalie, and myself were sweeping out the 100 N Ardinger building on Saturday night. After everything had been moved out of the front rooms and it was just a few empty shipping tables and shelves, we tidied up the floor and then all sat down and were overcome with this nostalgia. We’re definitely not sad. This is exciting! We have needed more space for so long!
But it’s weird, you know? It’s weird to grow up.
We were laughing about the early days there. How every package that has ever been shipped from our company had gone through that tiny room we were all cramped in. Hundreds of thousands of orders have been fulfilled from there. (!!)
We recalled the days the A/C unit would quit and we’d just sweat and ship. We remembered how (even before that) we had the Friday night sews, with people sitting on top of people.
It’s also where the first tutorials were filmed with a little camcorder!
Just to have those walls remember such wonderful times choked me up a little.
A lot of companies have a garage that is their very, very beginning. Ours is that building on Ardinger. It’s that small room in the front where it all started, with Mom and a long arm machine and two shelves with a half dozen bolts of fabric. And it’s great to remember that, I think.
I asked Sarah what we should do with that building now. She’s not sure, but one thing is for certain. We’ll keep that front room just like it is. No matter what else we end up doing, we need to be able to walk back in there and remember those feelings that keep this business so exciting.
I’m definitely not sad to be moving on from there. We are excited to be growing, but there’s a big part of me that will just miss walking in there every morning to tackle the day.
That being said, it’s nice to finally have room to park! 🙂 Thanks for the journey, everyone. Here’s to another great era in our new warehouse! Thanks for sticking with us while we improve and learn. I promise you’ll like what we have up ahead!