It is a Sunday morning after a rain storm. My coffee is hot and the apples are heavy on my neighbor’s tree outside my sun room window as I sit down to write while my family sleeps.
And my store is closed.
I announced last week that I was closing my retail store, Grace 1972, and shifting my focus to interior decorating and design services, rebranding my business Grace 1972 Design. Designing and decorating spaces has always been my passion. Starting my store within my family’s bakery was a fun experiment and I was excited to see where it went.
I work full time in sales in the technology field and love it, but all of us have creative outlets that balance us out, as humans we are all so multifaceted. So on sunny evenings I’d pop in after work and fluff up the space, rearrange and photograph the displays.
I recruited my mom to sew pillows, make garlands and runners and I went to local craft shows and networked with local artists and makers to fill Grace to the brim with items that I loved and thought others would, too. In the fall, I plucked hydrangeas from my yard and sold arrangements (we only had one minor spider issue), sent my mom a photo from Pinerest of fabric pumpkins and asked her if she thought she could whip some up? (Oh did she ever, they were our hottest selling item!)
I hit up garage sales and found sweet little items for next to nothing that rounded out my displays.
On Sundays I would rearrange the displays for the week, photograph again, and schedule out my social media posts. (It was great! I just picked what date/time I wanted my posts to appear and Voila!) Because keep in mind, I did all of this while working full time, flying around my territory doing a day job that I loved.
But of course, I did not do this alone. My husband, Matthew, found and transformed furniture from junk to treasure in our garage. And his muscles were often called upon to place it in the store and then patiently move it around fifty seven times as I changed my mind every weekend about placement. My childhood acquaintance, Angie Koenig, soon became a good friend when I sought her out for coffee and asked her if she’d pop in and check on displays when I was traveling as she had such a great reputation for a creative design eye. And of course, my in-laws who own the bakery agreed to rent me the space and process the sales transactions in the day to day while I focused on my sales career.
And then Christmas came and my mom was soon making ornaments, stockings, rag garlands, and fabric or wool yarn wrapped Christmas trees. And of course, I had to participate in the Homes for the Holidays tour when invited. I called upon my friend, Carrie Brusven from Gathered Rental and Events who then called upon Allison Lunde from Floret + Foliage, and the three of us turned my 1990’s four level split into a winter wonderland in early November for a charitable cause.
The tour was a spectacular experience, so I’ve already committed to do another home this fall in the Holiday Homes for Hope tour in Moorhead this November. Only this time I’ll be doing it as Grace 1972 Design, calling upon a plethora of friends and business owners to help me once again as well as inviting local boutiques I personally love to provide products. I’ll pull it all together and can’t wait to unveil this year’s creation for a great cause.
But today is the last Sunday I’ll head over to Grace 1972 with Matthew. We’ll pack up the (very few) remaining items that are left and hand the keys over to my in-laws to fully utilize the space however they see fit for Mehl’s Gluten Free Bakery.
And I wrote all of this to share my very genuine experience with all of you because I want you to know it is perfectly acceptable in this life to try something new, to take a risk and say, “Why not?” It is perfectly acceptable to give it your all, and it even more perfectly acceptable to change course completely and, well, try something new again.
Not all of us do this so publicly as I am, of course, but there are forks in all of our roads. And wisdom tells us to take the one your heart leads you on, do not worry what others think or say. Make your transformations and do what is best for you and your family.
Grace 1972 was doing incredibly well. People can speculate all they want, but I am closing it because I want to try something else. I am closing it because I love design, writing, photography, and want more time with my husband and children on my weekends. I am closing it because starting a decor store made me realize how much I dearly love my career in technology sales, too. Having a store, even one that other people ran for me during the day, was time consuming. And all of us only get twenty four hours in our days, only seven days in our weeks. And that time is precious. And I choose to give that very limited gift of time to the people I love the most.
Next weekend? I will not be rearranging and photographing displays at Grace 1972. On my evenings and weekends going forward, I may visit with a design client and begin working on a plan for their home, or write up a blog post or an article for a local design publication. So yes, I’ll still very much nurture the creative outlets that feed my soul but I’ll weave those creative moments into the cracks in my life and stay full and balanced without being absent from my family.
I’m going to hang out with my husband, go for a walk in the park with our dogs, stay plugged in with our daughters and soak in what is most beautiful in this life that cannot be found within walls but only within our hearts.
Thank you to my social media followers, clients, vendors, local makers and artists, the Fargo/Moorhead design community, the owners and employees of Mehl’s Bakery, and to my family for all of the love, cheerleading and support during this part of the journey! I enjoyed meeting so many new people and look forward to continuing our relationships but in new ways.
I plan to host a pop up shop a few times a year and will thoroughly enjoy the creative process of doing so. My first is just around the corner on September 8th, in Carrington, ND, during their popular Junk Fest event. Stay tuned for details as I will be setting up shop in my Grandma’s front yard, and yes, my mom will have plenty of fabric pumpkins on hand!
Speaking of my mom, my biggest thank you is to her – Pam Kutz, my hard working farm wife mama! Thank you for instilling a creative spark within me. I remember some odd project she had my sister and I do as kids at the kitchen table of our trailer house, gluing little plastic cups with glitter to a Styrofoam ball. I don’t know what on earth we were making but I remember it was a blast, I think I was four years old. Thank you for always making our humble house a cozy home, for always finding time to decorate for the holidays and for nurturing your own creativity over the years, and of course for being such a willing hostage on this store adventure! My dad joked that my mom’s craft shed on the farm was turning into Granny’s sweat shop as she would be out there at all hours sewing away for Grace 1972. (Note to my mom: We can figure out Etsy together, Mom, don’t worry, I’ll help!)
And with that – thanks for coming on this journey, dear friends. Keep dreaming! And just like me, do not be afraid to suddenly change course when you feel the tug on your heart. Follow it and trust it, heaven whispers in small ways and listening to your guiding angels doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else but you.
Peace, Joy and Blessings!
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.