Monday, 28 July 2008

Cutting the virtual ribbon

There's a shop on the corner near the roundabout. It's opposite the pub that sells pizzas cooked in a woodburning stove (which incidentally is very popular) and it's next to the estate agent's that used to be a beauty parlour.

I think the shop was empty when we moved here. At some point it became a tatty antique shop that was seldom open and hardly anything ever seemed to be sold. I think there was a hand written note taped to the window asking potential customers to phone for an appointment. At some point the shop closed down and the contents removed. Time passed and then some decorators moved in and there were clearly signs of activity. We asked ourselves 'who's moving in and what will they sell?' Blow me if it wasn't the same woman who had recently moved out and this time the shop became an upmarket antique shop. The owner appeared to have gone into partnership with someone because now there were two names painted on the window instead of one and the interior seemed to have been inspired by Martha Stewart.

More time passed but there didn't seem to be any more sales of shabby chic furniture than there were before - the only difference was that the shop looked nicer. Then more than a year ago the contents of the shop were removed yet again and this time builders moved in and began extensive renovations on the fabric of the building. I imagined that the lady who had occupied this shop had moved on elsewhere until I was told by someone working in the newsagents that this former seller of antiques had plans to turn the shop into a cafe and in time start baking her own bread because in the past this had been the site of the local bakers. This was all very interesting and my goodness didn't it take a long time to accomplish. We've watched as tons of rubble and junk were removed from the building. We've stood to one side as teams of builders have man handled reinforced steel joists in through the door way. We seen the planning application notice pinned to a lamp post and, finally, observed the shop fitters and the decorators once again transform this shop into something new.

So just recently the shop finally opened for business as a cafe and it appears to have been a success from day one. Now there are more people in and out of the shop in a morning than there were over several months when they were selling furniture - the difference is now you sit on the chairs while you drink your coffee and eat your almond croissant rather than just glance at them through a window. I was engaged in just this activity last week and, while the two 'yummy mummies' next to me discussed their pregnancies, I pondered on the efforts that must have been involved in completing this transformation. This is because I've been doing something similar but in a virtual context. I've been updating and spring cleaning my website. This is so I could launch my small range of greetings cards which you can see here and buy if the mood takes you and this announcement means that my very own shop is officially open.

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