Neville On The Level

It’s Time to Get a Move On!

I spoke with a couple that packed up their home of 40+ years and moved into a small condo, an experience they described as both upsetting and freeing. That made me stop and take stock of all the things David and I have “gathered” over more than two decades, and I nearly started to cry. (I am a bit of a hoarder, to say the least.) Having recently embarked on our own “big move” for our shop to a beautiful new location, I, too, took the time—and medication—to remember what we went through.

Our store opened in 1992, and we have moved twice before finding this spot! Every place we looked at was too small (I’ve come out of a closet once, and I’m not about to go back in!), too expensive, or simply not appealing.

Anyway, we finally found a place that was perfect, and we just had to have it. Negotiations were both fun and enlightening, and we got all we were looking for—and a bit more. Let me tell you, darlings, that this was the easiest part of the whole ordeal—by a long stretch.

Oh, let me start by telling you we took possession of the space on November 1, 2017, with an opening date of January 2, 2018. We really had little say over this timing, so I upped the dosage of my meds and went for it!

Getting things built and set up to suit my tastes is a challenge at best. It took a lot of sketching, chatting, stomping about, and “quiet times” to get us moved and settled. Let’s start with the fridge. I wanted a big fridge, and I met with a refrigeration company to relay that request. This is a long, swear-filled story, so let me edit it for you to save time: I chose a fridge 10 feet long, based on their recommendations. They said, “No problem.” Then I got the call that they’d have to send a 6- by 4-foot refrigerator, but they’d put it together easily. That service, however, be an extra $2000. Oh, and they forgot to say we’d need another part that would cost MORE money. I swore, but by then it was getting late (mid November), so there wasn’t time to fight them. THEN they called to say the fridge wouldn’t fit through the door (never mind that they had already come in the shop and measured) but suggested we could either take the door and frame out OR pop out one of our windows and frames. Let me reiterate that this was in November! I promptly had a fit, and called another company, which built us a beauty of a fridge—on time and on budget.

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Now, you may be questioning my intelligence to think it was a good idea to move during the holiday season, but, Petals, that is the perfect time to pick up sticks and go! We packed all the product we wouldn’t need for Christmas (there’s a lot more than you would think) and got it all moved, displayed or tucked away early on. This worked brilliantly, as we typically empty a lot of shelves in December to make room for trees, etc.  After work each night, or during the day if it was slow, I would trundle off to the new store and do a bit of work, even if I had to suffer and work amongst the construction crew. Sarah and Eva held the reigns and packed betwixt all the Ho Ho Hos and glitter—bless them.

We had to think about what we needed, where it should all go, and how to make the space personal. David and I were visiting my Mum in the midst of it all, and while harvesting winter foliage for the store, David spotted the old chicken house up in the back field. This used to be a hunting camp from when my Dad was a kid, and that inspired David. Well, the next thing we knew, we rented a truck and were piling boards and all sorts for our store! The front of our counter now has wood from both Dad’s hunting camp and the family picnic table, and we use my father’s wooden tool chest for a display case, and a great old jam and pickle shelf from my parents’ cellar (that still has my Mum’s writing on it) that now holds chocolates.

Look, we all have to move at some point, so I encourage you to pretend to move your store. Go on, I dare you! Have a look about and decide what you can’t live without (or with) … you’ll be renting a dumpster before you know it! Now that we’ve moved and have lots of storage, I just play the “Where’d I put that? “game. (Don’t let me collect more crap, PLEASE!)

Neville MacKay
Neville MacKay, CAFA, PFCI, WFC is the owner of My Mother's Bloomers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a design director with Smithers-Oasis North America. He designed flowers for the 1988 Winter Olympics, as well as a long list of celebrities including Glen Close, Sir Elton John, and members of the British Royal Family. MacKay appears regularly on Canadian TV and travels internationally giving presentations about the impact of flowers.
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