Thursday, July 21, 2011

Inspiration Workshop Installment #8 : What Inspires You

Leave it to a day that started super not awesome-ly at all to end up inspiring me more than anything else this week thus far!  

Tuesday I got to travel for my job to Perham, MN out in lakes country.  It was such a terrible morning as I had gotten 2ish hours of sleep after hiding in our under-stairs area during tornado sirens, lost electricity, fell into detours with flash flooding, and despite Starbucks could hardly stay awake on my drive!

The nurses I worked with were really passionate about their city.  A city that produces dog food, licorice, turkeys, cheese, and potato chips and smells - depending on the day - like a combo of random sorts.  The employees of the hospital donated their own money to help build the new one coming.  The owner of one of the large factories has donated to the schools when closings seemed eminent.  And when one of the factories faced likely shutdown, 25 of the blue-collared employees pooled their money together to keep it going and have grown it like crazy. 

So I wandered downtown and came across - by no exaggeration, seriously - the most awesome thrift/antique boutique store I have literally ever been to!  Arranged by color, and prices that make you smile in delight the entire visit, it's like an Etsy store for vintage exploded.  You know how long it takes to find that perfect salt and pepper shaker at an antique shop?  This one has at least a dozen to drool over!

So go to Perham.  Check out the store, In With the Old.

As I checked out with my salt and pepper shaker, I shared with one of the owners how we're thinking of opening our own shop.  She was totally stoked...and inspired me to keep pursuing it..."even though winter sucks for business, it's worth it" she said.

Thinking sleep would be demanding on my drive home, I found the coffeeshop, Gathering Grounds, along the next street.  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  One of the best blended mochas (esp in 120 degree heat) I've had.  I LOVED that the store had each table almost filled with gray-haired ladies having pie and coffee...and a couple random nooks to quietly read in.

Again, got a brief chance to talk about their business.  Lake country = tourism.  Big plus.  I told them, "do you know how awesome this city is??"  They referred me onto Jezebel's.

Creative, vintage displays of a vast array of homemade to higher profile gifts decked the walls.

I only post this not great photo below to show you a great idea for burlap coffee sacks - thick pillows for sitting on!

Further down the street was "Make Me Wine."  A cougar-esque gift shop with flip flop coasters for your wine glasses, but not "cougar-esque" in that annoying sense.  Rather in that, "oh YEAH" sense;)  

But one of the shop's main squeezes is the awesome selection of wine and beer brewing supplies!  Plus for every 10 kits you buy you get one free - and she keeps track of your punch card for you;)  Win.  We, again, talked of owning small businesses...she didn't take a day off for a year and finally this January (almost a year after opening) she hired her first employee...and loves it all!  She said..."good luck with your store!" as I left...and that inspired a whole lotta goodness inside me!

{And this theater on the same street was completely awesome.}

Plus I found us a new home/retail location not more than a block away - for $89,900!  Yes, let's do it.

Point:  I loved being inspired by a true community.  It inspires me to continue on the ideal to build it here regardless of the turnover of friends moving away - or staying!

I am so inspired, also, by regular, average joe's just doing it.  Taking a risk and following their folly in the small business world.  And who haven't become so cynical about the hardships of it to discourage you from it!  {I should've known this about nursing with all the "happy" nurses who told me to avoid it!}  Honesty, encouragement, and creative idea sharing are beautiful.

So...want to move to Perham with me??

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!


12 comments (+add yours?)

Tara said...

Wow! I am in love with this town already. I love visiting little towns just like this one that has so much history and community!
PS: I totally had to Google this town and see how far it was from me, bummed it's a 4 hour drive, but I have it on my list of places to visit!
Stopping by from Gussy Sews :)

Kari said...

I will have to check out that store! I don't particularily want to move to Perham with you... lol. But my parents live super close to there, so I'd be much happier with you living there than somewhere further than that. :)

Bonita Rose said...

I live pretty close up the road in Fargo... and omg.. we've driven by Perham I don't know how many times.... we will hv to take a road trip for sure... I hear you... I hv the same dreams as you.. opening up a shop and making it a success.. here's to creative minds! hugs xo love to you

Bonita Rose said...

Ashley.. I just read you live here in Fargo!!! So do I.. we must must get together! And maybe take a road trip together to Perham someday! hugs
OMG.... a new friend in Fargo who loves vintage and thrifting as much as I do.. yay!

crazyhorse said...

Holy cow this town looks so amazing! I totally wanted to move there before I finished your post and saw that you're accepting applications for friends to move there with you! ;) I'm gonna talk to Cody about it...hehe That coffee shop sounds amazing, the vintage store is out of this world and I've been toting around about 20 burlap coffee bean bags for 3 years now to make into floor pillows and now I have a great idea for them, thanks!

Let's do this! Thanks for the inspiration Ashley!

Cate said...

Hmmm... I'm in Prior Lake, MN - I might just have to take a road trip to Perham sometime! It's looks fantastic. I love this communities like this.:)

AshleyM said...

Lauren! Later when I'm not on the road ill post this tutorial I found that would work great for those pillows!!

Sarah B. said...

WOWSA!!! Those stores are seriously amazing!! :) Stopping by from Gussy!

Stephanie said...

Ok. Now you SO have me itchin to go thrift shopping today! Love the way that store looks. Too bad I'm way down in Mississippi :(

Cori Lynn Berg said...

Point taken! Wow, I wanna live in Perham, or at least close enough to visit! The stories, those stores, the people! Great post!

Jami said...

how fun! I WANT to go in that antique store!

Linnea said...

Love. Your store will be the best though. Maybe I can quit my job and be your first employee?