2017 was year that I decided to refocus on myself, my family and really look at the store’s possibilities. The last few years have been quite the roller coaster ride. I was stretched too thin. Doing too much on my own while trying to bring the store back to something that it just wasn’t anymore. My thoughts and actions just didn’t match my visions. 2017 started with the purpose of streamlining the process and really focusing on the brands and products that were carried in the store. I also wanted to do some fun stuff, not just for me, but for the community too. Classes and other events were added to the store schedule. I wasn’t sure how it would go over, but I had to do see if it would work. We changed the layout of the property to make things easier to find. As part of that change, we didn’t open the two greenhouses in the back.  They were missed by some, but a lot of people liked the outdoors better. It was A LOT more comfortable to shop in, that’s for sure. There was a substantial change in the products we started to carry too. There is more of a focus on what is trending, unique items, and broadening categories (like our vegetable department). Overall the changes made were very well received. So much so that Sunshine was featured in Voyage Chicago Magazine in November. The Pop-Up Shop program was tweaked and a Markers’ Mart was added as well. I even jumped into creating an online store (that’s still a work in progress).
In an attempt to bring in more unique items that are made by other small businesses, I became an Etsy Wholesaler. This was a shift that I had been working towards for awhile but could never seem to make happen. Around that same time I had a very large order of imported items fall through. The week it was supposed to ship I found out that it had been deleted from the suppliers database and therefore wasn’t being filled. So if that wasn’t a sign that it was time to make the shift to Etsy, I don’t know what was. I reached out to some local businesses to help me fill my empty store and started ordering some Etsy items. When fall came around it was like a completely different store had taken our place. I am still trying to find the new normal for the New Sunshine by creating a local gift and garden boutique that is open year round.
 Photo Credit: James Vincent Photography.
So what does that have to do with 2018?
I have made monumental strides in healing myself and making the property more manageable for me to handle with Olivia. The concept of ordering more of our items from other local and independent businesses and ordering less imported items is evolving. This shift will guarantee that you find the best variety of the most unique gift and garden items that I can find; while helping other small businesses or causes in the process. This will also allow for more specialty orders. This year we will have more fun too. I am scheduling more events into the schedule throughout the whole year.  Kid classes (all age groups) will be expanded as well as family events. Don’t forget the all the different events that help build other small businesses. I have recently been accepted to host a nationally recognized children’s business fair.
In addition to the changes at the store, I am going to start building a blog page and YouTube channel. These two outlets will allow more How-To videos, Q&A’s, better updates on what’s going on here, and maybe a laugh or two.
Going forward, when you shop here you will be apart of something bigger than yourself.  You see, when you shop here and choose to spend your money with me, you start a ripple. Your purchase helps me support my family. That same purchase allows me to continue to buy local for my store. Those purchases then help a parent stay home with their child or pay for dance class or living expenses and supports a dream. They in turn spend their money at other local businesses. This ripple benefits everyone in our community. For every dollar that is spent at a small independent business, $0.80 stays in our community vs. a chain store that only puts $0.40 back in.
This year is shaping up to be fresh and exciting. Don’t forget to like and follow our Facebook page or sign up for our emails to stay up to date on the progress. See you soon!