My fascination with empty storefronts is no doubt informed by the demise (for now) of my own business. Although I never had a physical store, my online eco yoga mat store was a pretty magnificent entity in its own humble right. Started shortly after the birth of my daughter, my goal was to make a few extra thousand dollars that year to support my freelance writing career and allow me the flexibility to stay home with my baby. All I had to do was import a modest amount of kid-sized eco-friendly yoga mats (they didn’t exist on the market at the time), with cute matching carry straps. That’s all. Nothing big.
Three years later the business has/had grown exponentially (564% in one year, if you must know), and I had caved in to customer demand for adult-sized yoga mats, opening up the market substantially. Last year, I was covered by the Wall Street Journal, Fitness Magazine, and Body+Soul. My SEO work and social media addiction was paying off.
But at the height of some really cool, high-flying shit, the business is now shuttered due to lack of inventory. Buyers for the company are in the wings, but at the moment nothing is definite. A job loss in the family (need some truly fabulous finish carpentry, anyone?) and general slowdown in the freelance writing work that has sustained me for the past 5 years made it impossible for me to order the next shipment of mats. Just tonight I took most of the website offline.
But a funny thing – I’m not sad at all. Not really. Seeing something you love and have worked so hard for end is never easy. Someone once called my company my second child, and they weren’t that far off. But I can’t help but think that the love and energy that brought my little company through its lifecycle is still out there in the universe and will come back in a different, totally unexpected form sometime. And maybe some of the business owners who have spent years and maybe even decades building their dreams along Mass Ave (or anyone else) feel that they worked to create something beautiful and memorable in its own small way.
UPDATE! Miracles of miracles, I am going to be able to keep my little business running. And I got a job. On route 128.