Friday, February 19, 2010

A Work in Progress

When I started Gumdrop Swap, I expected to work out of a warehouse of sorts. I would fill internet orders and have limited contact with customers. But when I began telling local people about the business, they wanted to come see my inventory and drop of their items instead of sending through the mail. That made sense but I didn't have a presentable set-up. I was blessed that my husband's childhood friend had office space he wasn't using and offered it to me to save some overheard. My husband helped me purchase my initial merchandise from a kids store that went out of business. Once I added in donations from friends and family and the things I saved that my daughter no longer needed, I was ready to take customers.

After a few customers, I quickly realized that I was going to outgrow the borrowed space I was in. It was only a temporary anyway. I couldn't store my inventory at my home so I looked for a new office. I found that for what I would pay for sq footage for office space I could get a smaller retail space for about the same amount per month. This changed everything.

I had to change the business plan to be more retail. But I could now attract new customers by being more visible and accessible. I lived in Read's Artspace in downtown Bridgeport, CT for over 2 years so I was familiar with the area. They have worked to revitalize the once industrial and municipal zone into a thriving residential/retail area. I love historic architecture. After researching the developer, GDC, on, I knew I wanted to be part of the Arcade Mall project. Only a few year prior, I could look out my bedroom window at the Artspace lofts and see the workers restoring the glass atrium ceiling. Now that natural sunlight will illuminate my storefront in a few weeks. It's amazing how things come full circle! They have chosen energy saving building materials and geo-thermal heating which supports my business' eco-friendly mission.

The bamboo flooring has been installed. The lighting is in and walls are waiting to be painted. We are ordering fixtures. Then the merchandise can be displayed. I expect to open in early March and cannot wait to write the next chapter!

This is the view from the back of store towards the front.

1 comment:

  1. This is so awesome! And I love that you are bringing something unique and family-oriented to the downtown area. It fits in with the general artsy feel going on there right now. Congrats!