Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Retirement Sale Starts Today

January 22, 2014

25 years ago I came to this village and fulfilled a dream of mine. I had always wanted to have a store and so Whimsies Incognito came to be.

It’s been a beautiful trip—full of a filmstrip of memories.

Three locations, a handful of loyal steadfast employees who I consider family and who I know loved Whimsies as much as I did. Family and friends were all part of this retail journey, and steadfast people who held my hands along the way as the years marched on.

Whimsies survived because all these people believed and supported me. They are my extended family.

I’ve been privy to a connection to people—watched families expand, grow up, move away, suffer losses, and celebrate joys… a connection to the cycle of life.

I always talk about this circle in my business in my relationship with the artists: their creativity, my ability to make the circle continue through the sales of their art, and this art coming to be in homes as it is “gifted.”

I have been blessed to be able to prosper over these years and do something that I love—which is the most important thing in life. Whimsies was always the shop around the corner. Greetings and smiles were exchanged as people stopped by. Retail has always been for me about connecting with people.

Unfortunately, the landscape of retail has changed dramatically over the quarter century I’ve been in business. Years ago, the norm in the retail business was company representatives coming to the store, and showing us their products in person. We got to take a tactile look at the beautiful things that would eventually make it to our shelves. This personalized level of service has gone to the wayside in favor of paper catalogs and shopping online. Even trade shows have lost their momentum, as costs of wholesale exhibiting has steadily risen while attendance has dropped off.

The personal side of retail has been modified and redirected. Computers allow people to shop 24/7 at the click of a button, making it at times hard to compete as a brick and mortar store. For every customer that takes a look around the shop and enjoys the mix of products, at least 1/3 (maybe more) will ask if you have an online store. Be it at that moment they don’t have a need for that piece of pottery … or can’t make up their mind… or dollars are scarce. They want to shop as their schedule allows (so a late-night computer date is perfect!).

In case you haven’t been watching enough predictable television to catch the drift of where this blog post is going…

Whimsies is closing its doors after 25 years of business! Thank you for being part of the adventure. Now it is time for me to go after another “brass ring” and see where the next passion leads me.



Molly said...

I've recently moved here and haven't been in your shop (haven't been in ANY - hunkered down to wait out winter) - but just wanted to say what a beautiful, heartfelt letter this is, and I wish I knew you personally. So sorry you're closing the store, but wishing you best of luck and lots of fun in the next adventure. Anyone who's survived the last 25 years in retail knows how to make things work, and I'm sure you'll again be successful.

Anonymous said...

I am so, so sorry to hear this news! I wish you the best.

JR said...

Wow, I'm just brokenhearted. Where will I buy gifts now? OK, so most of the gifts I bought were for me, but those are maybe the best ones, huh? I can't tell you how much I'll miss your wonderful store. I do wish you all the best in your next venture.

Jody Rohlena

Karen Schuenzel said...

Jackie, I wish you well. I enjoyed your store tremendously from 2001 until 2012 when I moved away from the Hudson Valley. There is nothing like Whimisies and I have not filled the gap-- so move to IL for your restart and I will happily support you! My girls still use their revolving, projection light each night and I enjoy daily my Spanish Moss framed poster- just to list two great things from your store. Again, Best Wishes!