14 August 2011

The Big Move

Welcome to Brookline, NH
We bought the business property in the summer of 2009. We quickly did needed repairs to wiring and walls so that we could move our warehouse over by summer's end. By fall we had paved the new parking lot and put a fence up for the fuel and put in a turn around for the tractor trailers. It was working out beautifully as a warehouse. Our storefront was still at the location it had been at for the last nearly ten years. We had one more year on our lease so we had to make a decision. Should we stay or should we go to the new property? Cost-wise it made sense to be located in one building, but there were a lot of unknowns. The traffic count was lower for one big thing. We would also be on a lesser commuting path instead of a main road, a road which doubled as one of the busiest shopping roads to add to the conundrum.
The cost of renovating the property was also a consideration. We had already gone over budget with the initial repairs as we did not know that the infrastructure was so messed up prior to moving in. The site planning, site work, and paving were also more than we anticipated. We really thought we did our homework but boy were we wrong! Our sales were also on the decline. Partly a symptom of the new economy and the general mood of the country, but also our industry had a few black eyes from 2008 and 2009. Moving was a big risk!
We did a survey and got enough of a positive or neutral responses that by December of 2009 we decided to move. We had our contractor start work in the spring, after the pipes froze and we had the future showroom side of the building flood, of course. :-( We saved when we could and did it ourselves and borrowed the rest of the necessary funds from our line of credit and a personal loan so we could move in during the month of June. We built displays and walls to get started but planned to finish the center display, the insert display, and the wood stove section as we could.
We had our main fears about moving alleviated pretty quickly when we had a fall that was much better (percentage-wise) than the first half of the year had been in our old location. We were also finally starting to see the savings of having one building instead of two: one insurance bill, one rent payment, one utility bill, lower gas and propane costs...
We vented some displays to heat the building and installed a furnace for the warehouse.
One big bonus for the new building is that we designed and had a break-room/office built at the back of the shop. This way the guys could eat their lunch in peace and we could have our meetings uninterrupted. They also had a place to put their things and a place to get away.
One thing I think they were even more excited about (I know I was and I don't even work on stoves!) is that we finally had a workshop area where the tools could live and stoves being cleaned or repaired could reside.
We have a pretty happy group now who work well together and are doing a great job :-) We had just a couple changes on the employee front. We had fired a liar/thief late in 2009. The other guys were instrumental in helping to catch him. We also let our first employee go in early 2011. He was a difficult person who never cared for me much and I also think he was burned out. The guys were tired of his complaining and unwillingness to work with the group, and his assets were being overshadowed by his liabilities. The good news is that we were able to hire back an employee that worked with us for a couple of years about five years ago. He is a good fit.
Improvements continue. We are currently painting the building. It really needs to be re-sided but the finances just aren't there yet. So we will paint and hope it will buy us five or so years until we can do it correctly. We still have the main display to do and wood stoves to vent, but we did get the insert display in. Like my fake brick?
Other than that it seems like a good move and we don't regret it for a moment!

1 comment:

Paula said...

HEY GIRL! I thought you had moved to another planet! *hehe*
It's so good to hear from you~ and look at your awesome shop! I wish I lived closer, I would love to see it in person. We love our woodstove and don't know what we would do without it!