Getting a Warehouse for Schlock
At some point in the last month it became obvious to me that our business needs a home of its own. We’ve been making things work, reconfiguring rooms as necessary so that our family room is sometimes for play and other times a business space. I like the idea of multi-use spaces and we’ve been doing things this way for a long time because we had to. The trouble is that the highest stress work times are exactly when I would most benefit from having an organized home. Yet those same high stress work times invariably turn my home chaotic because we have boxes of inventory and shipping supplies stacked into most of the corners. My neighbors have almost never seen my front room without stacks of boxes in it. I try to comfort myself that they’re always different boxes. It is not that we’re sloppy, but the boxes are always there.
Not only are there boxes everywhere, but my shipping room is in the basement and our storage units are two miles away. This means I have to haul boxes of books from our storage unit downstairs where I rearrange books into customer packages and carry everything back up the stairs again. As systems go, it is far from efficient. We never have the space to set up a test booth so we can plan ahead. Add to all of this the fact that when Kiki comes home from college to live with us for a month in December and for the summer next year, she will be coming as an adult with an art business of her own. She simply doesn’t fit into the shared bedroom space that used to be hers. Not anymore. Which made me realize that maybe it is time for the business to grow up and move out of the house.
I began looking at office/warehouse spaces today. I expected to spend several weeks looking and thinking before finding one that would work. Instead I made an appointment with one guy who owned three units near each other. I walked into the second unit and realized that it is pretty much perfect for everything that we need, even in the right price range. Not only that but some of the left over furnishings from the prior tenant would come with it and be very useful. I looked around and knew that it would end up being the warehouse that all the other ones I looked at were compared to. I asked a lot of questions, didn’t sign anything, and came home to look at my accounts. There are so many reasons that getting a warehouse makes sense. Yet it is a scary step because it ties us to additional monthly bills and there have been times when money was very tight. We’ve put it off in order to maintain as much financial flexibility as possible.
For the last month, every time I’ve contemplated renting a warehouse I felt calm. All my contemplations on the subject both at church or at home have made me feel like this is the right choice for our family and our business at this time. I came home feeling like I ought to be scared of the financial commitment, but not actually feeling it. Howard and I talked about the space and about taking this step for the business. He felt good about it too. To be absolutely sure, I went and prayed. The answer I got was You know it’s fine. It’s what I’ve been telling you to do for weeks. So after letting all the thoughts simmer for a few more hours, I called the owner of the warehouse and left a message saying we want it. He’ll probably call me back in the morning. I’m still not scared. Well, maybe a little bit. I’ll probably have some scared when I actually sign paperwork because that is a normal pattern for me.
Once everything is squared away with the lease and the facility, we’ll have quite a bit of work to do getting tons of merchandise shifted from their current homes and into the new space. It’ll be a new phase of our business. The next adventure.
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