As we approach our third week down after "the great flood", encouragement and support have been coming in from the most unexpected of places. I just got the November issue of "Bicycle Retailer" and (since I have so much time at present) I actually read the entire issue. I'm glad I did. Inside was an article about a bike shop in Toronto called Duke's Cycles. It is a third generation shop that had been devastated by a fire. Total loss. I was brought to tears when I read the story because I understand the pain that Gary Duke felt when he saw his life and dream seem to disappear. Then I decided to call him. I googled his shop and, unbelievably, he was on the phone five minutes later. He and I had a long and incredible conversation. We talked about the emotions, the legal system, the insurance companies, our customers, community and finally, the rebuild process. He encouraged me to dig in my heels, keep fighting for what is right, remember my passion and why I started the business in the first place. I cannot thank Gary and his girlfriend Chantal enough for their time and continued support. I hope to meet you someday in person!! I am happy to report that his shop has re-opened and "the outlook for the future is bright.."
Last night, I went to the opening party of REI in Greenville. It was the first time I had gone out in public since we flooded. I knew a lot of people from the local bike industry would be there and was hoping I could hold it together. Imagine my surprise when I learned that Sally Jewell, CEO was looking for me. She and a team of REI staff from all over the country had made a special trip downtown to visit Pedal Chic - she had researched the area and wanted to see the shop. What an honor. I was speechless (and for those of you who know me, that is quite a feat)! We had a wonderful conversation and it was indeed a pleasure to have met her and her team. Good people.
I'm not yet sure what the purpose is for this experience or the lessons I am learning. Guess that will be a topic for a later blogpost when it becomes clear. I look forward to the day that my posts consist of different topics like a favorite product, event or seeing my customers smile on their new, fabulous bike! Until then, bear with me. We will get through this!
Oh, and check out our online store - we are building every day, adding products and making improvements...
Have a great day!