"What's with all of the changes at Ridge?" It's a question we have answered several times per day lately. On one hand, I feel so grateful for each and every encounter of a person that cares about us and cares to be a customer at our business. On the other hand, I realize we have shocked some people, and I'm ok with that.
In a world that is constantly evolving, we need to do the same. Most importantly: We’re not going anywhere.
The thing is, this store was never ours to begin with; it has always been God's store, and it always will be. I know, I know, maybe you're not "religious," but the last sentence is true. Hear me out. In 2014, I originally said "no" to this opportunity so graciously afforded to us by someone I respect very much. I said "no" because I was terrified and felt unqualified, if we're honest. Sure, my husband and I have both grown up in business-owning families and we have four year degrees. We actually already owned another brick-and-mortar business when this opportunity was offered, too (we still have it).
The thing no one tells you as a kid, is that adults don't always know what they're doing. Everyone starts somewhere. After I said “no", I cried. (Yes, I am being an over-sharer, but it's ok if it helps someone else.) On the third day after “no”, I put in my headphones, played the Christian Music station on Pandora, and walked Lee University’s campus (at the time, I was a student).
The jist of the first song that came on was basically “Lord, have your way, not mine.” The second song was Plumb’s “Lord, I’m Ready Now.”
The lyrics say,
“Oh Lord I'm ready now, All the walls are down, Time is running out, And I wanna make this count, I ran away from you, And did what I wanted to, But I don't wanna let you down… I was so caught up, In who I'm not…”
In that moment, I knew without a doubt that God was telling me I had to do it. He knew what He was doing. In the past five years, I’ve laughed and smiled, grown, built amazing relationships with people I would have never met otherwise, talked to people about Jesus, and all through brands, activities, and products I love! It’s incredible! And we’re not stopping anytime soon.
Five years later, we have learned a lot and have done more in sales than I ever could have imagined. I realize that people could shop anywhere, and it makes me that much more grateful that they choose to shop with us.
I have started giving advice to those new to business. I will always have more to learn, but I feel like we can firmly say, “we’re getting the hang of this” and “things are going well!” We feel so blessed.
Life is short. If you’re on the fence about trying something new: DO IT (prayerfully, of course). Stepping out of my comfort zone five years ago has changed my life dramatically and I am so grateful.
The decision to focus solely on our Athens location was a strategic one with a few reasons, but mostly because Athens has been that good to us! We’ve had an incredible first year in the Friendly City! In management meetings, our goals this year (I won’t tell you more than just this) include opening a running specialty store in Athens this Fall. We can’t wait! Read about why we chose a running specialty store in my next blog.