Well it's been quite a while since I wrote a blog post for my own site and that's in no small part down to the fact that I've been rather busy opening a bricks and mortar shop in Harrogate. When I first set Bobbins up in 2015 it was always with the intention of opening a shop, but it had to wait until we'd moved from Barnsley and got the kids settled in their new schools. Thankfully that did give me time to get to grips with all the nuances of running a website alongside some workshops!
We (as in team Bobbins aka myself and my long suffering hubby JK) found this shop on our searches about a year ago and ruled it out because the amount of building work that was needed to convert it into a shop. It'd been a bakery for around 30 years in one form or another and still sported an industrial kitchen and an impressive amount of grease to every surface that wasn't on public display. The shop area had been not been used in years so was dusty and full of cobwebs and the outside had peeling wood and a rusting, mouldy awning.
I was in negotiations with another property in town but all the time I couldn't get the curved windows of 148 Kings Road out of my thoughts. Every property we viewed was compared to the shop frontage and potential of this place. To make things worse, I was working an ad hoc teaching job that I absolutely adored and had just offered me regular hours to teach maths around the short courses that I already taught. After a lot of soul searching, a few good cries on the hubby about "what if it fails?" and approximately 1 billion hours of spreadsheets (or so it felt), I decided that if I didn't give it a go, I'd forever regret not trying. So 5 months after first viewing it, I put an offer in and after quite a bit of wrangling over the work and price the landlord accepted it! We got the keys in February, just in time for my 37th birthday and then the work really began.
Fortunately for me I have great family and friends who came to the rescue to help out. My parents took the kids for a couple of days while we deep cleaned, painted and repaired the shop frontage. The hubby spent weeks on end working a stressful day job and then spending evenings doing carpentry, ripping out a kitchen and putting in a new one. 2 of our friends spent 2 weekends with us painting, sugar soaping every surface and building a new shop area. And I spent the time during the school day covered in white paint and on one occasion, an entire 2 days hand scrubbing the floor with a scouring pad to remove the grime! We finally got the front of shop open on 12th March, just 3 weeks after work began.
The work continued even after the shop was opened as the workshop was still in dire need of a kitchen for all those thirsty sewists and a month after opening, it was completed just in time for Easter classes for kids. In a couple of weeks we're going to have a bit of an opening day (aka an excuse to eat cake and buy fabric) for those of you that live locally.
There's still a way to go until we'll be fully happy with it and I can't wait to have a loo that doesn't have an upside down handle and a back to front door, but I can't say that I regret my decision yet! It's been an adjustment for the kids who've always had me at home in the holidays and now have to come to work with me, but so far it's all been worth it. Now I just need to go back to my teaching roots and plan some adult workshops. I hope to see you here in Harrogate!