One year ago today I was in the midst of a “soft opening” at my incredible shoppe called Mimi’s Teas in Fircrest, Washington. I was gratified people were curious about the shoppe and interested in my wares. Friends had sent cards and flowers of congratulations and the air had a festive feeling to it. One year later, the tea selection has been doubled, new shelving has been added to accommodate increased inventory, we have the added service of hot tea to go, and I have paid taxes! I know a bit about running a small business, but these examples are only one small facet of this past year’s growth.
I have always appreciated the community we live in, also the community in which I chose to open my shoppe. We know the names of our police officers, people walk their dogs while pushing their children in strollers, we are acquainted with all of our neighbors, and it feels safe to be out after dark. My attachment to our town; however, has shifted through this past year. I have grown to LOVE our community. It is rich with kind and generous people. I now know the names of many of those dogs being walked (they are headed to Chopper’s Holistic Pet Food store); Romeo (“Tater Biscuit” to those who really know him), Monty, Otis, and Molly know to turn in the doorway of Mimi’s Teas shoppe, which is typically propped open, for a rub down while I became acquainted with their owners. I have come to know the young parents who push those strollers. Most of them have learned that tea is both restorative and relaxing so I see them often. I have made new friends over cups of tea and interesting, relaxed conversation.
Growth has many measures. Repeat customer base, bank deposits, and inventory investments are qualifiers and I am grateful for them and would not have survived this first year without them. The intangible measures of growth are the unexpected gift this past year. I reflect on little ones who were in Moby Wraps when I first opened who are now walking and recognize me; newly made friends who are caring for elderly parents who allow me to share their journey; the daily walkers who check in to see how my day is coming along, and the friends of friends who have heard about the “new” tea shoppe.
I had been given an idea of this little shoppe long before it came to fruition. I am indebted to a dear friend, Cindy, who helped me change my thinking (dreaming) into a goal; my family who have supported, encouraged, and dreamed alongside me; my mentor, Jack Strand, who helps me provide some of the most exquisite loose leaf tea in the world; and Shon Sullivan (3Gees Media) who gave me an online presence. I have the best “job” in the world!