It has been such a very long time since I have written a post. I need to catch you up on my often busy, crazy life, LOL. When last I wrote I was living life on the road in a camper and having the time of my life. I truly enjoyed my time at Ft. Bellefonte Campground in Bellefonte, PA. Actually, I had planned on being there quite a while but God showed me he had other plans for me.
On September 30th I returned back to Clinton, IL to open a General Store. I had actually been in contact with the Dewitt County Development Council from the campground and was pretty much sold on the building I wound up renting. Mark from DCDC took pictures and drew up a floor plan for me and emailed them to me. He, Ruth and I were in continual contact via email, facebook and phone. I actually knew exactly what I wanted the store to look like when I was done remodeling and decorating it when I was still in PA. It has surpassed my expectations!
On October 1st I met the building owner and signed a rental agreement with him. I immediately started working on the building. A lot needed to be done and I wanted to open by November 13th. Many said it could not be done, I would never open the doors in a month and a half. Many did not know me!! I was determined!! With the help of a neighbor, a lot of long days and shear will power we had the grand open and ribbon cutting ceremony on November 13th!
Actually, owning and old fashioned general store was a long time dream that I had once given up and thought would never happen. When it comes to God's plans for our lives we must learn to never say never. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind this was God's plan for my life. I will share my reasoning for my belief in another post. Those of you who know me, know I am a person of strong faith. No, I am not perfect and make many mistakes in my life, but my faith is strong.
Christians will understand when I say, the more we try to walk in God's will and plan for our lives the more Satan will try to derail us. This has been no exception. I have been plagued with 2 big illnesses since I opened the store, the first one, a gallbladder attack on Thanksgiving Day, which had me quite ill for almost a week. The second came last week on Christmas Day, a very bad case of the flu which is still not letting go and has had me quite ill again. In between that has been a personal problem with a man I had hoped to do business with. I won't go into detail on that as it is ongoing at this time. The devil will come at you from any direction, but I intend to hold strong because I know this store is God's will for me and therefore He is with me.
I truly love the store, I love my customers and the folks that happen to come in. I love the work I do, the long hours I put in each and every day. It is all a tremendous blessing to me. Like any business it will take a long time to truly be established and I can draw an income from it, but that is not discouraging to me. It is a labor of love!!
I never set out to be a "bakery" but baking has become a big part of the business. I love to bake and I believe it shows in the items I make. I enjoy taking the time to cut designs in the pie tops, they always look so pretty. I love to try different things and as I am starting to fall into a bit of a pattern I believe Saturdays will be my experimenting days. In the beginning I baked every day but now have cut it back to just 3 days a week. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. After all, I have to leave some time for book work, ordering, organizing, restocking, etc. I work alone so I wear many hats. :-)
I was planning a "Taste of Italy" day for late in January but I might push that back into February due to this flu having me behind the eight ball. I hate being closed and away from the store due to illness. I imagine it bothers me much more than any of my customers. I have some of the most wonderful, understanding customers!! When health issues were not plaguing me I usually spent 7 days a week in the store or doing business for the store even on the days it was closed. It does not seem like work when you love what you are doing!! God gave me a wonderful blessing with this store and I will always give it and Him 100%.
There are a ton of things I want to write about but I will save them for other posts. I do not know at this point how often I will write but I hope to write at least a few times a week. I have a ton of pictures to share, especially for those who have not seen them on facebook.
In closing I would just like to once again thank the folks at DCDC for their help. Not only in getting me started but they continue to be my advisers, sounding boards and confidants. They are so easy to talk to and run ideas by. I am always thinking of ways to improve the store, add on new items and grow my business and they are always able to give me sound advice and tips. If I have any business related questions I know I can call on them and often do. Thanks so much Mark and Ruth!!
Until next time,,,,,,,,,,Blessings!