Looking back on the fullest year of my life.
Many, MANY thanks are in order. Many, MANY people have become good friends of Sunflower!
The primary people I would like to thank are the members of The Sunflower Team since the opening of our store in July 2014.
Without Kyle’s hard work, we could have never gotten Sunflower opened. Her amazing artistic talents are endless. She used so many of them to help create the beautiful store that Sunflower eventually blossomed into. Her faithful service running the shop full-time, helped keep Sunflower open in the early days as I struggled to keep my head above water with all the behind the scenes work that consumed me for months.
A helper and leader. She never minded taking charge of any situation when I was more focussed on painting. The perfect hostess. A gracious friend. Responsible for matting prints, sewing towels, climbing up high to hang things, decorating, and all around good sense. Many crazy ideas were stopped thanks to her gentle voice of reason. Many tears were dried this last year as she was a safe sounding board for the future of Sunflower.
The world’s best mother-in-law. Out of a loving and generous heart, this already-busy woman ran the Sunflower shop on Friday afternoons throughout November and December. She did this as a favor — to give me a break, and to help us keep our expenses to a minimum. She even worked some Saturdays in the midst of her other two jobs and busy social (and exercise) life. 🙂 She definitely IS the world’s best mother-in-law, and also a great friend.
Her time with us short, but sweet — giving us a precious few weeks of her winter break while she was home from college. But if it wasn’t for Hannah J., I wouldn’t have realized how capable a staff of young women could be.
This sweet young lady walked in one sunny January day and asked for a job… just as Hannah J. was heading back to school. Our Hannah’s gentle spirit and unbridled excitement were always such a breath of fresh air. Left to run the shop by herself for many days on end, this dependable young lady restored my faith in humanity. I am so grateful to have had her in my life and in my store. She is going to do great things.
If Sunflower continues to grow throughout the decades, we will gladly put Savannah in charge of the entire operation. God couldn’t have given us a more perfect completion to the Sunflower team. She too walked in during January asking for a job. None were available, but something about her was irresistible. Adding Savannah to the team was one of the year’s best decisions. She got our social media kick-started, and then grew it to a new level of warmth and professionalism. Savannah was such a blessing in my life these last seven months. She ran the store with a confidence and knowledge of both our products and my fine art that were well beyond her years. Watch out world!
Husband of 20-plus years. My CFO, lead carpenter, and breakfast maker. Builder of all things functional and beautiful, all of which are still in tact at 110 S. Main Street. Extravagantly generous, supportive, and always my “eye of the storm.” Sunflower’s biggest champion despite the cost to his own comfort. Never wanting to be a killer of my dreams, and never once complaining in 15 months — Tim left the decision of whether or not to continue our retail operation entirely up to me — even though the math had never added up.
Even though I spent most days working in either my painting studio or home office while my capable staff ran the store, the Sunflower shop still developed a following of faithful customers who kept our spirits alive each and every month.
Our store hours were quite unorthodox, limited primarily by the fact that my studio was in the back and it is really necessary to paint without any interruptions. Yet as our hours grew in December, we experienced an outpouring of business and encouragement that made us think twice before closing the retail aspect of Sunflower, which was originally planned for January 1, 2015.
As our Sunflower team started to grow again in January, we expanded our hours. Still not enough retail hours to justify a location on Main Street — but You adjusted your schedules and shopped with us during the weekday afternoons and on Saturdays.
In April and May our sales really began to increase, but I knew that my heart could never be fully devoted to running a retail store the size of Sunflower. So after weeks of much praying (and crying!) we finally decided that closing this retail location was the right thing for our family to do.
On July 6, 2015 we announced the news on Facebook, thinking we might have a few extra shoppers who loved a good sale. Never imagining in our wildest dreams the support and love you would show us as we wrapped up this final chapter of The Sunflower Shop.
THANK YOU to so many of you who stopped in to thank us, and to tell us that we will be missed. We are humbled by the impact that our short presence made in our your lives. In spite of ourselves.
I am confident this is a result of God’s Grace alone. The store was more often than not, a responsibility which was completely overwhelming to me. Yet He still somehow used it to touch so many people.
We were a motley crew of Sunflower women this past year. In our weakness God took our best efforts, broken though they were, and poured Himself into us — cracks and all — so that He could bless YOU through our little store.
We have loved being a vessel that God used to impact lives of people we would have never otherwise crossed paths with.
We do look forward to crossing paths again!
Hopefully sooner rather than later.
12 months of memories…
The fullest year of my life, wrapped up in a few photos.
Thank you, Sunflower Friends!
Thank you for all of your LOVE and SUPPORT this past year. We couldn’t have done it without you.
We look forward to making many new memories together in the future. Follow us on Facebook to keep in touch with our upcoming plans!