Monday, March 28, 2016

Afton? Where the hell is that? The History of {3:17}...

Summer 2012...What the hell were we about to get ourselves into? 

While teaching youth group at church, Ang meets who will soon become our roommate...Anna.  I had never met Anna before so she decided to come over, see the place, hang out, determine the level of craziness she was soon about to enter, you know...stuff like that.  2 of the things that she needed to figure out before moving in with us were 1.  How was the commute to and from work?  And...2. Would we be ok with her having these "Vintage Sales" out of our house?  Ummmm...what?  We had never heard of such a thing!  Do tell!  Well..."apparently" she had been doing these vintage sales with a group of friends for about 5 years.  They would do it out of someone's house, porch, barn, garage, etc.. a couple times a year, and wanted to know if we would be ok with her hosting it at our house.  "Sure!  Why not?  I might even do some stuff for the sale!"  Famous last words...

Dec. 2012
This shit's no joke!  There's mailing lists, email lists, postcards... I had no idea!

 
So the time comes and we start prepping for the sale, which basically means we have to move out of our house.  We take all of our furniture out and take all of our own décor of the walls because, you know...it's perfectly normal to stage your entire house for a sale.  Right?  But yep...that happened.




The sale was great, people loved it, and we sold a TON of stuff!  We had no idea what we were doing but...we were hooked!  We ended up doing 2 more sales out of our house.  Each one a little busier and each one we got a little better.  We started figuring out what type of items sold best, we started getting better at finding stuff, and we started putting out better quality products.








The last sale we did out of our house, there was a line out the door an hour before we opened, both sides of the street were filled with cars as far as you could see, and we were selling inventory quicker than we could get it out.  It took us 3 months to put our house back together after that one and we realized..."Yeah...this isn't going to work anymore."

Carver Junk Company

I first met Brandy and Chad off a Craigslist posting of mine.  I had come across about a dozen massive old 15 pane warehouse windows from an old building in NE Mpls.  They came down to our wood finishing shop in Savage to pick up a couple for the shop  and by "a couple" I mean all of them).  I just so happened to be working on stuff for our upcoming sale out of our house when they stopped by.  They tried to buy pretty much everything I was working on at the time but I played hard to get...I made them come to our sale.  Anywho... shortly after our sale they had successfully convinced me to become a vendor with them.  This is how it pretty much went down...
Them:  "Hey...you wanna come sell with us?"
Me:  "Yep."
And so it was born.  {3:17} at CJC.  (Has a ring to it doesn't it?)







We spent a little over a year with CJC and still remain good friends.  We met a lot of amazing vendors and learned a lot about the business from one of the best in the business.  We are forever grateful for the opportunity they gave us.  "You're my boy Blue!"

The PORCH & Atelier 

Somewhere along the line we thought it would be a good idea to add another shop to sell out of.  We were still selling with CJC and we had just opened our shop so, as any sane person would do, we decided to add even more to our plate.  Theresa had been following us since we started selling out of our house and we had been following The PORCH for as long as I can remember so we thought it would be a perfect fit!  We were only there for about 4 or 5 months.  We quickly realized that we had overextended ourselves and just couldn't put in the time that we needed to really be an asset to her, and sadly had to cut our time short with them.





Though our time with The PORCH was short lived, it was truly a blessing to be a part of such an amazing shop.  Theresa and her family are genuinely some of the nicest people you will ever meet!  We remain good friends and colleagues to this day and you have no doubt either seen her or her son, Adam, at one of our events.  We learned a lot from Theresa and we are grateful to have had the chance to work with her!

Afton?  Where the hell is that?

July, 2013.  It was Saturday afternoon and we took a little drive to look at houses.  We ended up in this small town, seemingly in the middle of nowhere... Afton.  We had just grabbed some ice cream at one of THE best ice cream shops around, Selma's, and on our way out of town we drove by this little red house that had a sign out front that said "For Lease, Commercial Only".  Now...up to this point we had never talked about opening up a storefront but... I whipped a U-turn and we decided to peek through the windows like a stalker.  I called our landlord as soon as we left and after about an hour on the phone with him...we had secured our place in Downtown Afton.

 
Ok...now what?  It was July 30th.  Labor day weekend was a month away and is pretty much our last and only chance to get some exposure before the boats come out of the water and Afton turns into a ghost town for the winter.  1 month.  1 month to re-paint the place, find vendors, stock it, stage it, advertise, etc...  Yea...we like to set lofty, somewhat unattainable goals for ourselves.  But...it all started to come together and vendors started to come on board.  I think partly because some of them were excited to be a part of a new shop in a new city, and partly because they wanted to see who the crazy people were that decided to go for it!  But... it all came together and we opened on time.  Side note:  While looking for pictures of our set up for opening weekend I quickly realized that "apparently" we didn't know how to take good pictures back then...




Lighting sucks, pictures are blurry... no bueno.

Fast forward 2 1/2 years later. In some ways...not a lot has changed.  We've been blessed with an amazing group of vendors and a pretty high retention rate.  A lot of the vendors that took a chance on us at the beginning have stayed with us and continue to take a chance on us through all our crazy ideas we come up with.



They continue to grow individually as vendors as we continue to grow as a shop.  They continue to amaze us every month with the new inventory they bring in and looks they create.  And in return...we try to get a little better at taking pics each week...













And...we still have THE best, most loyal, customers around!  Without you guys coming in every month...none of our crazy ideas are possible!  Thank you!

-Mike

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