Sunday, September 19, 2010

The New Store.

Ok, I said it. I typed it. It's officially announced. On my blog. I am building a new shop. If you get the Verbivore, or you just received the new Spin-Off, or you a regular at our current shop, then you probably know this already, though to make this real to me, I needed to blog about it.

I must admit. I can be a realist. Some may call it pessimism. Though, in my defense, I'm not sure this would all be happening without my realist outlook and a huge helping of blind faith and optimism. So, when it became a question of announcing the new shop, I kept waiting for the right time. A time when the project would not slip through my fingers as I announced it. Was it when we signed the lease? Very exciting, but not really the time. Was it after the fire inspector walked through (and my heart nearly stopped beating)? Nooooo. How about when we submitted our plans to the City of Oakland? No, not really then either. Well then, how about when we received our building permits? Nope.

So, what finally changed my mind? We've hired a contractor (good lord!) and are about to start jack hammering trenches into the floor for our plumbing and bashing through the sheet rock to pull electrical wires! Woot! Ironically, with the act of demolishing, and the advent of construction, I finally feel that this project is mine and that we are truly going to have a new shop. Very Kali-esque, no?

Starting now, in this post, I am going to give myself permission to fall completely in love with my new space, throwing my fear of abandonment out the window, wax poetic, and tell you all about it. Well, maybe not all about it, I want there to be a few surprises.

The Love Story between Kristine and 6328 San Pablo

I first visited my building in December of 2008 (about 1 week before opening my current shop). I'd been driving past on my way to work and back every day since April 2008. I finally got the courage to call the broker and ask to see it. At that time, both the corner space and my space were vacant. I thought that if I liked either space, it was going to be the corner space. I could envision how magical those corner windows would look full of yarn. Plus, I love the side of that building along Alcatraz and imagined designing a poster based upon the old Italian movie posters except with yarn as the theme hanging there. Except in reality it would probably get tagged within 24 hours. Anyway... I met the broker and looked at both spaces. The corner space, meh. Then, I opened the door to 6328 and saw this: And died. I love exposed beam ceilings. Love!

And, then my stomach grew 1000 tiny knots. Because with that huge beautiful, exposed beam ceiling, there was 1700 sq feet to fill with stock and to pay rent.

No way. Completely over my head. I went back to the studio, exclaiming my love for the space though knowing it was absolutely not the right time. Plus, we were about to open my little shop and really loved the faux store front that we had just built.

Time went on. Every day, I continued to drive past the space. Waiting for the day that it would be rented, the broker's sign removed, and for my heart to skip a beat. Then, the corner space was rented. I was very excited to learn what would open, knowing that it would have a huge impact on whether I would still want 6328. Actual Cafe opened. I was thrilled. Nearly the first day that the cafe opened, Adrienne and I were in there checking it out and meeting the owner, Sal. Actual Cafe promotes community. They serve a large array of beverages, everything from coffee to beer. And they serve food. Perfect for my customers! Aright another 10 points for 6328 San Pablo.

Time kept marching on. In December of 2009, we rented our 3rd space at Activspace. I knew it was only a matter of time before we needed to move or drastically shift my business plan to doing something very different. One idea was to take Verb completely wholesale with a few shows thrown in. We would move to a warehouse where our location wouldn't matter, where rent would be very cheap, possibly share our space with another business. Set-up a truly industrial dye studio.

The other idea was to continue with our current business model, a much trickier scenario. We would need to find a space which would house a retail space, a workshop space, a space to hold classes, a space that would have decent rent, and a place for my customers to park. Wow! That's quite a list of desires.

I started looking seriously at new spaces. After looking for a few months, and admittedly falling for a few, well one in particular (sorry 6328!), I realized that 6328 was, as far as I could see, bearing any major pitfalls, that 6328 was the space for me. 6328 has enough space to house our 3 required spaces. It's on a major thorough fare. There is free parking in front of the shop and throughout the neighborhood.

I contacted the broker and started the negotiations. Now, I'd like to state an aside. From seeing my space way back when to when I decided that I would take the plunge, knowing that I would have a bit of construction to undertake, which I knew NOTHING about, I had a tremendous amount of help and advice from my architect / designer friends S, T, and D (XXOO love, big huge love!!). Ok, back to the story, long time, lease, blah, blah, blah, lease getting stuck on desks, lawyers (another huge piece of love cake served to Karen) holidays, 4th of July, me = no patience. Done! Finally signed!

While that song was playing in the background, Sarah and I were working out the floor plan. Fine tuning where the walls would be built, where the check-out would be located, what kind of lighting we will have, and most importantly where the yarn and the fiber and the FABRIC would be located, and how it will be housed. This is a task that we are still working to complete. Once we finalize our design, we hand it off to Adrienne. She prices it out, purchases the materials, and starts building. We already have one of our new displays in the shop.

Then, very important task, the purchase of new stock for the shop! We wrote to Sanguine Gryphon asking for a wholesale account. Fulling thinking there was no way. Low and behold, they said yes! This is just one example of positive experiences we've had while ordering from new yarn companies. Everyone has been great. I continued through my long list of lovely, companies with beautiful yarn, fiber and fabric. And then, there is always the reminder, that I have a budget. Damn! There's the reality again poking its nose!

Our list of yarns so far include:

A Verb for Keeping Warm
Annie Blatt
Bodega Pastures (grown locally)
Bouton d'Or
Classic Elite
Fibre Co.
Madeline Tosh
Pigeonroof Studios
Sanguine Gryphon
Sweet Georgia
Shaggy Bear Farm (grown in OR)

I have worked to round out the shop so that we will have each gauge covered. We will have everything from lace to super bulky. Given time, we will continue to build or selection. Also, we will be happy to order yarns for you from any of the above companies. If there are any companies you are dying to see yarn from, please let us know. Most of the above yarns can be found in our shop currently, I invite you to come by!

I am very excited to be offering fabric. Right now, being that this post is epic, I am going to do a full, new post all about fabric in the next week or so.

I am so excited to share the new store with you. I can not wait to see all of the planning that we have done come to life. I will continue to post the new products received. Soon I will have more information on when we will open and when our grand opening party will take place.



Marisol said...

Oh I am so very happy for you and Adrienne! This is all so wonderful:)

Fairytales they come true... it can happen to you:) If youre young at heart:)

Erin C-B said...

You forgot the Jamiesons and the Isager! Oh boy oh boy the new shop is gonna be AWEsome!

Angela said...

So wonderful! I will have to schedule a trip sometime after you're open!

IrishGirlieKnits said...

So exciting Kristine! Can't wait to see the new space! Congratulations!

Unknown said...

Such a big step.. it will all be worth it. Build it and they will come. Can't wait to see the space in person sometime ;-)))

Urban Fiber said...

I can't wait for my next trip to SF and seeing the new shop!! Congrats you two!!!!

Steph said...

Congrats! that ceiling is gorgeous -- and once that space is filled with yarn and fiber.....yum!

Sharon Jue said...

OMG, OMG, OMG!! I cannot contain my excitement. Fiber and Fabric and Yarn, oh my! I can totally see why you fell in love with the beamed ceiling. Love it! The new store is going to be amazing.

WonderMike said...


Such a rocking post. Thanks for sharing your dream with us. I can't wait to play in there....

tapmouse said...

So exciting to read all the details of the 'coming to be' of the new location!!! I'm living your pain and excitement vicariously-though the pain part, I am sure I can't measure anywheres near what you have had to go through! But hey-I'm hear to listen!

westknits said...

This news is so exciting! I'll have to plan a trip sometime in the near future! :)

the Lady said...

OMFG dude - I totally have not been reading e-mails or checking Rav, which means I missed all the Verbivores lately... CONGRATUFUCKINGLATIONS to you all!!!

Anonymous said...

OMG! What an awesome location! I have been wanting to try Actual Cafe, love the name, now with a cafe and yarn next door I might have to just move in! Can't wait for you to open!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful spot. Can't wait to see it as it changes into your vision.

Tink's Stuff said...

when i go to visit my sister I hope to be able to go to your shop when it's done. this is great