I don't think I should really call it the end result because there are still things I need to do and I will always be updating so I really think it always will be, and should be, a work in progress. But for now, I will show you what the store looks like at this point. Be sure to click on the picture for a better view.
And we have more work coming in this week! Our current artists are bringing in new items and we will be getting new artists by the end of the week..... so stay tuned..... either here on the website, or our facebook page, or sign up for our newsletter.
I started this entry as an update to our new location, however I never posted it, so it now chronologies the entire journey.
OK, to start..... We made the decision in August to relocate The Blue Door to the west side of town. We just weren't seeing the foot traffic that we wanted in the downtown location and progress to rejuvenate downtown seems to move at a snails pace. So we decided to move, hopefully becoming more convenient for the Springfield customer. Our new location is 3259 W. Iles, which is actually the corner of Iles and Koke Mill. We are in the strip behind Family Video and in-between The Corner Pub and American Harvest restaurants.
So..... after negotiating a complex contract we had access and it was time to make the place our own. If anyone remembers that location it used to be Dots, a candy store, and Bows to Britches, a children's resale store. Floor space was adequate but we wanted more so our first project was to have a wall moved back 8 feet.
As you can see, this created a gigantic mess. No, we did not do the work but to speed things along we did do some of the clean-up. Can you say DUST? (This is not the best picture, it was taken at night right before we walked out so the lights weren't on.)
OK, it was finally time to paint. The walls were a bright orange, pink, turquoise, and neon green. Every wall took one coat of primer and 2 coats of paint. I wasn't planning on that second coat of paint, so it took longer to get this done than I thought it would.
Finally got to put some of our own colors on..... and yes, that is brown, I bet you thought it would all be blue, lol! Be sure to notice the floor. That strip you see is concrete, this is where the original wall was sitting. It's hard to tell in this picture but we now have 2 different colors of linoleum and a strip of bare chipped up concrete for the floor.
SO..... our next project was the floor..... something we didn't plan on.... time wise or financially. After going back and forth several times between Lowe's, Menards, and Liquid Lumbinators we decided on a laminate and to do the work OURSELVES! And no, we have never done this before.... and just so you get a good idea of what we got ourselves into.... the room was 1400 square feet. The first picture below shows how much we got done the first night in 3 hrs... and the second picture shows what we had left to do!
If you want to know how old you really are.... just put in a floor. You are constantly up and down and crawling on your knees. It was just Kent and I doing this, it took both of us to put in one board. It took 7 days from start to finish (Most of the work was done in the evenings because we were both still working during the day. The downtown location was still open at this time.) The black stuff in the picture is the vinyl baseboard that we had to put down. But, doesn't the floor look nice?
We finished the floor just in time to close the doors downtown, September 30th. The first week after closing was spent packing and emptying the basement which had been used for storage..... lots of storage...... omg. We don't have as much storage in the new location. Where or where was all this stuff going to go..... my house, of course....these are pictures of my garage, the inside of my house was just as bad.
One glitch that we ran into time and time again was display items not fitting through the doors at the new location. We had tall cabinets that need the tops cut down, we had several displays that needed taken apart to get them through the door and then had to re-assemble them. Kent works full time so much of the carpenter type work took place late at night.....carpenter work, hanging slat wall, computer wiring, lighting, etc. It felt like it went on and on! Finally it started to take shape and I was able to actually put out some art work.
I had some wonderful help with merchandising. Debi Lorenson, put in several hours working along with me to the point of giggles. I took the easy displays and gave Debi the more challenging ones, lol! Cyd LaBonte makes displaying jewelry look easy... and it's not. And Joan Gardner has merchandising skills that she wasn't even aware of! A huge thank you to all, you lightened the load, eased my stress, and did a fabulous job.
So now we are open! We did a soft opening on Wednesday, November 4th, quietly opened the door at 11:00 a.m. There is still some work to do and we need a sign. We have added two new artists and have seven more coming in before the end of the month. We have the best sellers of our current artists and a few of them have even added new lines of work.
So come in and let us show the place off!
I am going to group the past holiday events together in this blog. I’m anxious to write the next blog but being a person who finds it hard to step outside the box sometimes, I must write these things in the order they happened!
First was Valentine’s Day. Our Artrageous First Friday was a Go Red for Women event, complete with health checks, red wine, and red lipstick! We put together a kissing booth, sort of, for the month. The roof part of the booth didn’t work out, so it didn’t really look like a true booth. Anyway, it was at least a kissing station.... but we didn’t staff the station, you had to bring in your own kissing partner! We had a lot of fun with that! And just in case you didn’t have a partner, the station was filled with Hershey kisses for everyone to enjoy. And I can't forget to mention that we had an awesome window!
Saturday, March 16th, was the annual St Patrick’s Day parade held downtown Springfield. The Blue Door was in the parade. We walked as part of Downtown Springfield Inc. (aka DSI). They had a Wizard of Oz float with the theme “There is No Place Like Downtown Springfield”. It was a great float with a great slogan.... and won first place! We walked behind the float with our Blue Door signs and wearing very green T-shirts that said THINK BLUE..... pretty clever, don’t you think?! FYI... it was colder for the St Pat's parade than it was for the Christmas parade....
Jacque & Pam M.
Next came the downtown Easter Egg Hunt. DSI, organized the event and The Blue Door helped sponsor it. The attendance was beyond everyone’s wildest dreams... which of coarse caught everyone a little off guard regarding the number of eggs needed... so there are some glitches that need to be worked out for next year. But I so hope this becomes an annual event for our community. There was the Easter bunny, face painting, and a balloon artist to add to the fun. Plus each store that was a sponsor was given eggs to hide in the store. Our store workers that day, participated by donning their rabbit ears! So funny.
I think it is pretty safe to say that we enjoy the holidays at The Blue Door!
This was my first Christmas season at The Blue Door as an owner. WOW, is all I can really say about it! It was a fabulous season. However, I wasn't exactly prepared for the length of the season and the amount of energy it would take! Thankfully The Blue Door has a wonderful group of artists who helped make everything come together.
We had a Holiday Open House to kick off the season waaaay back in November. The store and window were transformed into a blue and white winter wonderland. Beautiful, whimsical, fun. After Thanksgiving we quickly moved into the downtown Holiday Walks. We added a Dude Night for the men. Thank you to Rolling Meadows Brewery for providing beer sampling and Jimmy B's Salsa. We were in the Holiday parade. That was so much fun. And somewhere, somehow, in the middle of all that, we had an Ugly Christmas Sweater "office" party.
I want to thank the artists at The Blue Door for all the help they gave Kent and me preparing for and making this season and the store so magical. We could not have done it without you. And I want to thank the customers for making the season successful. Thank you for shopping small. We appreciate your business every day.
Enjoy our slideshow.
Halloween Saturday at The Blue Door
Before I start my story, I am referring to the Saturday before Halloween, Oct. 27th, as Halloween Saturday. SO.... let’s back up a couple days from there to start. I was working Thursday afternoon when Laurie Rogers came in to check on her jewelry inventory. Laurie LOVES Halloween and she asked if it was OK for her to dress up for work on Halloween Saturday. I told her as long as it was appropriate, I didn’t care. Now, I was scheduled to work Halloween Saturday morning shift with Laurie. And I also had to work Friday so I did not have time to put a costume together. On Saturday morning I grabbed the only thing I could think of.... some scrubs and a stethoscope and went as a nurse. Nothing original or outside the box about that since I am/was a nurse.... but it was better than nothing. I go to work, I get there first. In comes Laurie...dressed as Laurie. No costume, no nothing. Zippo. I was going to go home and change but she said no and insisted that she could come up with something. With some toilet paper, a red marker, ketchup, and eye make-up, we turned her into my patient. But we couldn’t just stop there, we took pictures (when there wasn’t any customers around).
And here’s our story: Saturday morning Laurie Rogers, an artist at The Blue Door, was found bleeding and lying in the alley. Reliable sources report last seeing Laurie around 3:30 A.M. carrying a plain brown bag, possibly containing a bottle of some type. Rumor has it that she was stumbling through the alley when she tripped on a knitting needle, but that has not been confirmed by the authorities. Jan Boucher, RN, owner of The Blue Door, discovered Rogers on her way into work. Boucher managed to get the bleeding under control using a role of toilet paper that was conveniently laying nearby, pretty sure it was clean. However, Rogers heart arrested and Boucher performed CPR, bringing Rogers back from the brink of death. Boucher then managed to drag Rogers further out in the alley and yelled for help. Blue Door artists Debi Lorenson and Karla Cosand came to help. Cosand was so hysterical that she wasn’t much help but Lorenson did have the sense to call 911 after she recovered from passing out at the sight of the blood. Rogers was admitted to an area hospital with head and arm wounds (after working her shift at The Blue Door). She is expected to recover and be back to work by Nov. 17th, just in time for the Holiday Open House at The Blue Door.
Kent and I were on the road again last week. This time we went to Excelsior Springs Missouri. It is located just north of Kansas City, about a 6 hr drive from Springfield. This adventure began from a mistake but became a happy mistake by the end of it.
The Blue Door is always looking for new talent. We go the The Lake of the Ozarks about once a month and take a detour every now and then through Columbia Missouri. There are two stores in Columbia that I love.....Bluestem Missouri Crafts and Poppy's.
Bluestem is all hand-made items, and I found some spectacular wooden boxes there a long time ago.... and I bought one. SO.... I look up the artist, Jim McCord, on the computer. And I find that Jim lives in Excelsior Springs Missouri. Then I go to Yahoo Maps and look up Excelsior Springs Missouri..... however when I started to type Excels... Excelsior Missouri pops up and I choose it. Excelsior MO is about 30 minutes away from the lake. NOW, I'm really excited. I send Jim an email telling him who I am, that I love his boxes, and want him to join us at The Blue Door. I tell him that I go to the lake frequently and would be happy to swing by get the boxes and save him shipping expenses. Well, Jim calls me the very next morning. He too is interested. And I say, "Great, we are coming to the lake this weekend". And then he says, "You do know that I'm about 2 1/2 hrs away from the lake don't you?" And I thought.... no you aren't.... but I didn't say that..... realizing what I probably did wrong. BUT, I really wanted his boxes so he suggested that we drive over the first time, pick out what we want and then rely on shipping after that when necessary. So that's what Kent and I did last Friday, made the trip in one day (one long day). It was well worth the trip. Jim let us pick out whatever we wanted, as many as we wanted. It was like Christmas, again. Jim is a genuine human being, your word and a hand-shake are adequate for doing business. I know we made a new friend that day.
The Blue Door, unfortunately, has very limited window space, but we make the most of it! We have the most awesome displays! I hope you have been able to get downtown and see them. Our window dressers are Debi Lorenson and Annette Johnson.
Last month we had giant flowers made from swim noodles, of all things! Very clever.
And for July, we have a vintage Ladies Beach Cruiser bicycle, courtesy of Jay Shanle, in the window, along with firecrackers, and ants attending a picnic! This definitely celebrates our Made in America theme! And yes, the bicycle is for sale!
Anyone who lives in Springfield, Illinois, will tell you that parking downtown is the biggest pain in the *#%. And some people will tell you that it's bad enough to keep them from coming downtown. SO...... I'm going to help everyone out, and hopefully make this issue a little easier.
First, let's cover the basics. You do have to pay almost everywhere you park downtown, whether it's on the street, in a ramp, or in a lot. Almost all street parking is parallel parking, there are a few angled spots along Adams. And almost every street is one way, so if you don't know where you are going it's best to have a map or a GPS!
Street parking. There are three different kinds of meters downtown.... yep, three! They are color coded and each have a different time limit. Red, is 30 minutes. Yellow, is 1 hour. Blue, is 2 hours. And you might find all three on the same street! Most the meters close to The Blue Door are 1 hour. If you walk through the alley to 7th street, most are 2 hours. It cost .25/half hour. NOTE: parking on the street is free after 5p.m. and on the weekends.
Ramp/garage parking. I'm not familiar with all the garages so I will post the information listed on Downtown Springfield Inc. website. The ramp I use the most is at the Hilton. I can access it from 7th street or Monroe. Cost is .50/hour (same as a meter). I walk through the alley (it's a big safe alley) and I'm right at The Blue Door. The other ramp that I have used is The Hoogland, 6th & Capitol. The walk is longer (2 blocks), it's .75/hour, but if you leave after 7 p.m., you don't have to pay. And that brings up an important FYI..... some ramps close.... as in you can't get out after they do (like the underground parking at the Old Capitol) so pay attention to that!
Location Hours Price
7th & Capitol - City Library 9am-9pm $1.00 Hr./$6.50 Day
525 W. Jefferson* 7am-3pm $.50 Hr./$3.00 Day
6th & Capitol - Ramp 7am-7pm $.75 Hr./$5.25 Day
4th & Washington - Myers Bldg 7am-5pm $.75 Hr./$4.50 Day
9th & Adams - 7am-5pm $1 Hr./$10.00 Day
7th & Washington - PCCC Ramp 24 hrs/day $.75 Hr./$7.00 Day
7th & Monroe - Hilton Ramp 24 hrs/day $.50 Hr.
Old State Capitol* 7am-7pm $1.5 Hr./$9.75 Day
2nd & Washington 7am-5pm $5/Day
I hope this has helped you out a little. It's really not as bad as we all think it is.
Who (from the midwest) goes to Omaha Nebraska???? Well, I did, the last weekend in April. And except for it being a 7 hr drive of the flattest land you ever drove on, it was a great trip. We (the husband went with me) went through Missouri going and came home via Iowa. LOTS of farmland.
Well, we finally made it..... Friday, at 5:00 pm. Perfect timing for rush hour. We went from farmland to traffic! Lots of traffic. According to the 2010 census, the population of Omaha is 400,000+....... however a gallery owner told us that there are one million people in the state of Nebraska and 800,000 live in Omaha. There are a lot of "sub cities", similar to Springfield's Jerome, so I'm thinking the gallery owner might be right.
Why did we go to Omaha Nebraska, you ask..... I went to get new art work for The Blue Door. Our two new artists, Sondra Gerber and Naava Naslavsky live in Omaha. Getting to meet them in person and see all their art work was worth every minute on the road.
I'll start with Naava. Naava makes paper mache characters. She has her phD and is a cell biologist working in the Department of Bio-Chemistry and Molecular Biology, doing cancer research at UNMC. She is original from Jerusalem Israel, writes her notes in Hebrew, and speaks 3 languages. I met her, and her family, at her house. She is totally delightful! As serious as her "day job" is, her personality really shows through in her paper mache people. I enjoyed every minute we were there. She uses her "empty" dining room as her work studio, however the room is far from empty. There are paper mache sculptures everywhere in various stages of completion. And beads, feathers, yarn, string, paint, tubs of shredded paper soaking in water...... You couldn't help but smile in that room.
After carefully packing and loading 10 of Naava's sculptures we moved on to Sondra's gallery. Sondra Gerber is the owner of the Blue Pomegranate, a hand-crafted Gallery. Sondra is a graduate of Colorado's Art Institute. Her work is metal sculpture. She has two lines, Metal Petal Art and SG Metal Design. Metal Petal Art is her whimsical bright colored garden sculpture, and SG Metal Design is her aluminum sculpture. Sondra and I have known each other for about 3 years through emails and phone conversations, but this was the first time to meet in person. We met her and her husband, Jason, at the gallery, which Sondra usually refers to as the Blue Pom. What a cool gallery! I could have spent lots of money there! But I was on a mission..... this was the first time that I was able to see all of Sondra's work, big and small. And she let me pick whatever I wanted to bring back to Springfield. How dangerous was that????!!!! I brought back 51 pieces! I thought I might have to ship our luggage home because I had filled our vehicle. It was like Christmas (maybe better). After inventorying, wrapping, packing, and loading, we all went out for pizza and enjoyed getting to know each other better. Lots of fun.
Anyway, I had a great time in Omaha and I'm looking forward to going back sometime.... maybe around Christmas.... better take a truck.......
Artrageous First Friday, May 4th, 5:30 - 8:00. The Blue Door is having a Garden Party! We will be highlighting our outdoor and garden art. We have partnered with Quaker Steak & Lube for our food this summer. Guest artist, Amy Furgiuele, will be holding a jewelry trunk sale and demonstrating her lampworking skills for everyone. Guaranteed to make you ooh and ahh! Amy actually has a "garden" line of jewelry and makes lampwork flowers and leaves.
Garden Art (just a sampling!)
The Blue Door
3259 W. Iles
Springfield, IL 62711
Monday - Friday
10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.
Jan Boucher, owner of The Blue Door, writes this blog.
Books We Like
The Book Thief
Undead & Unemployed
I Am the Messenger
The Discovery of Witches
Earth's Children Series
The Kitchen House
Pillars of the Earth
Thousand Splendid Suns
World without End