Hey y’all! How are you? Whew. Despite being in a pandemic, it’s been quite the busy last month for me.
You know, just the usual stuff. Parenting, gardening, working, bought a hundred year old building, launching a new business.
Have I lost my mind? It was already gone, folks. This is just an extension of the insanity that was already there.
I know what you’re thinking. Seriously? In the middle of a pandemic?
When the ball started rolling on this, there was no pandemic. Let me tell you, we planned for many roadblocks, a pandemic wasn’t one of them.
I could start this story in a lot of places. I could start it from when we got the cops called on us by the town doctor because she thought we were trying to break into the crack house. I could start it amid countless conversations over drinks when this idea was planted and started blooming. Heck, I could start this story way back in the day when Jason and I were just high school kids and he was voted Mr. Sequatchie and I was most school spirit. He was an angel. I was a rebel.
Let’s just start with the basics today though, shall we? That building you saw above, 15652 Rankin Ave in my hometown of Dunlap, Tennessee, built in 1920 is the future home of Local Depot.
Jason and I are embarking on this adventure together. We go way back and have all the embarrassing stories on each other to prove it.
Local Depot is a collection of vendor spaces that include pickers, makers, artists, photographers, and other locally sourced goods. Eventually, we’ll also start rolling out DIY workshops and Make ‘N Take crafting events. We want it to be a place where folks can find the perfect gift, where creative souls can showcase their talents, and an inviting place where people come together to learn something new.
LD has been brewing in our heads for a couple of years now. We’ve constantly added to it, changed it up and polished it. We also sat on the idea for a while. The one thing we knew for certain was that we wanted to bring something good to our hometown that would benefit as many people in the community as possible.
At the beginning of 2020, we started thinking maybe it was time to jump. There are lots of great things going on and in the works in our hometown. It started to feel like a “now or never” type thing.
We started looking at properties – mind you to rent, purchasing a building wasn’t in the plan. We explored all sorts of places, even one we affectionally called the “Crack House” (as mentioned earlier) and yes, there were syringes strewn about on the floor there. Damn, that place had good bones though. Alas, too much work for us to take on.
We drove all over town. Nothing was panning out though. It was all either the wrong size, wrong layout, or wrong price.
We finally decided to take a look at 15652 Rankin. It was for sale, not rent, but it was in the heart of downtown right on the main strip and it didn’t hurt to look, right?
And I’ll be damned if it wasn’t kind of the perfect building for what we had in mind.
Now, it didn’t have the interior character we really wanted, but we had ideas for getting some character back into the space. One thing led to another and before you know it, we made an offer on it.
Alas, no deal could be made. The sellers weren’t budging much on price and my offer was maxed. And so we walked away and started the hunt again. I pestered the hound out of folks who I knew had potential properties for rent, but weren’t necessarily advertising them. After one Friday afternoon of more calls and hunting and no leads, I decided it was time to take a break.
And wouldn’t you know that the very next Sunday, I get a call from my realtor saying the sellers of 15652 Rankin wanted to reconsider my offer. The next day we had a signed agreement.
That was mid-February. By mid-March, we were going into a pandemic and I was going into panic attacks wondering what the hell had I gotten myself into. I can’t count how many times my husband pulled me up from the trenches in my mind or the pep talks my aunt gave me. Y’all, she even made me read The Magnolia Story and we all know I’m not a Magnolia fan, but I’ll be damned if that book wasn’t what I needed right then.
We closed on the building in mid-April.
Let me just tell you, we all know it takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village to raise a small business as well.
My husband has done anything we’ve asked of him and then some. My aunt, who has officially earned the title Sargent after all this, rallied the troops and tore into that ugly commercial carpet with a vengeance and led us down the path to restoring the building’s original tile floors.
The Circus has been nothing but amazing through all this. How this all would affect her and Grunt was one of my biggest worries going into this. The thought of possibly adversely affecting their lives because of a decision I made kept me up at night. However, they have both been incredibly excited and supportive.
That first day of demo, she was right there with us pulling up baseboard and carpet. She has also deemed herself the official security of Local Depot.
We truly couldn’t have done this without our amazing support system. Our families have been our biggest cheerleaders. Never once did they question us, they just kept telling us to go for it.
My dad is extending his title of Rain on a Tin Roof Middle TN Marketing Manager to encompass Local Depot as well. Apologies in advance to those he may pester. 😂
My uncle’s supervision during demo was of course, invaluable. How else would we have known we missed a spot? 😂
And even though their daughter-in-law is embarking on yet another crazy business idea, my mother and father-in-law have been nothing but supportive.
And Jason’s family has been just as crucial as mine has. They were right there with us scraping up carpet and painting. And Mama Judy has overseen demo and construction while my Uncle tended to other work. 😉
Along with our incredibly talented vendors, we’ll be painting the town colorfully while bringing back some small town charm to our beloved hometown. Kiddos will even get one of these paintbrushes when they stop by!
And this doesn’t mean I’m giving up blogging. No, no, no! I’ll still be around here. I hope to get back on a regular schedule once everything is up and running a little more. 🙂