Friday, June 5, 2009

How we got from There to Here.. the conclusion.

Hello folks, it's Tim. Once again, I need to apologize for taking so long to write this posting. If you've been following Patti's recent postings though, you know that I've been a bit busy making bird houses for customer orders. In my last posting I told you how Patti and I finally took notice to the Summer Kitchen on our property and 'discovered' our Craft Shop. I also told you how we realized that it was going to take a lot of work to renovate the Summer Kitchen in order to transform it into the Brickhouse Craft Shop but that we had the most important tools we would need to get the job done: the Passion for making crafts and our Vision of the Craft Shop experience.

Yes, we had the Passion and Vision but so what? Many people have that same Passion and Vision but for one reason or another can't realize their dreams. Before I finish explaining how we got from There to Here, I want to talk a little bit about how we were able to realize our dream of having our own Craft Shop. As I've been telling you about our experiences and the places we've been throughout the years and now as I'm telling you how we got from There to Here, please understand that we're not bragging or showing off. In fact, Patti and I know that we've truly been blessed. First, we were blessed that this property came up for sale at the same time we were looking to move back to Pennsylvania and that we were able to buy it. It was a blessing that the Summer Kitchen was not destroyed. It was a blessing that the former owners put on a new roof and the porch to help protect the building. It was a blessing to find out that this property is zoned as Commercial, which allows us to legally sell items from crafters all over the United States. If it had been zoned Residential, we would have been limited to only selling crafts that Patti and I made on the property. When we decided we wanted to renovate the Summer Kitchen, it was a blessing to be able to find so many local professionals willing to work with us both on the renovation itself and the financing so that we didn't need to take out any long term loans.

So what exactly is our Vision that makes up the Brickhouse Craft Shop experience? This is where all those past postings (and a few other facts) come into play.

The first thing you might notice when you visit us is the building itself. We wanted the Craft Shop to look like some of the old buildings we enjoyed seeing and visiting over the years. I took the old siding off and knew I wanted to replace it with something similar. The old siding was Dutch Lap. This is not the easiest pattern to find in actual wood siding but after an extensive search I was able to find a supplier of Incense Cedar Dutch Lap Siding. Incense Cedar is the same wood used to make the old #2 pencils. It's quite aromatic and you may notice it as you walk into the shop. When you walk into the shop, one of the first things you might notice is the aroma inside the shop. This isn't really anything unique - most craft shops Patti and I visited had some sort of aroma when you first walked in. I would always say to Patti, 'there's that aroma!'. It may have been different in every shop but it was always calming and relaxing. As is the case in most shops, this aroma is a mixture of candles, soaps and other crafts - and now we have our own!

The next thing you might notice is the music. On any given visit, you will likely hear some music that Patti or I discovered over the years that we always thought would be perfect for a craft shop. Remember that music (Deep Breakfast by Ray Lynch) I told you about that we heard in a craft shop in New York? Or the Celtic music (several CD's by Jeomy Wilson) I discovered when we lived in Texas? Or the music (Ten Year Night by Lucy Kaplansky) Patti discovered in New York? This is just a sampling of some of the music you will hear and we feel that it, like the aroma, is calming and relaxing.

If it's a cold day outside, you may notice the gas heater in the one corner. It looks like an old stove and keeps the shop nice and toasty.
If Patti or I are already in the shop, we will greet you. If we're not there yet, just browse a bit and we'll eventually come out and greet you.

Feel free to look around but do take time to look at the wall at the front of the building where you came in. You will notice several old calendars, old receipts and other memorabilia from Masser's Store. And on the center of the wall you will see an old black and white photograph. The man in the center of the photograph is my great grandfather, S.R. Masser. He started Masser's Store and eventually my grandfather, Paul Masser took it over. It then went to my parents. I spent many years working there until I left Pennsylvania to go to a trade school. My grandfather taught me a lot about working in a store and how to treat a customer. Masser's Store was a General Store and was one of those stores where you could catch up with old friends and chat for awhile. You could buy just about anything there too, from washing machines to shoes and any groceries you could think of. I remember getting molasses from a barrel for customers who would bring their own containers. I also used to work in the 'deli' area where we sold meats and cheeses. I will never forget how my grandfather taught me to wait on the customers there. He told me, when you give the customer the meat they ordered, always say '...and what else can I get you?' - never say 'is that it?' - that sounds like you don't want to wait on them and you want them to leave. Patti and I have met so many nice customers, some were friends we already knew and some we met for the first time. We love talking to them and it has been amazing how much time people will spend just chatting. We have a sign outside by the door that says 'Come as customers, Leave as friends' and that is usually what happens. You may also notice that you will not find a clock in the craft shop - the amount of time you spend isn't important - how you spend it is.

Finally, you will notice all the crafts we have in this little shop. Much of this is due to Patti and her networking with crafters from all over the USA. Some of you follow our blog and to you we say THANK YOU! Brickhouse Craft Shop would not exist if the only crafts Patti and I were selling were the crafts we make. Our favorite shops were the ones that had a lot of different crafts that were handmade.

So that pretty much connects the dots for how we got from There to Here. All those mental notes we took over the years, the Passion for making crafts and our Vision of the Craft Shop experience. And to think Patti and I didn't know we would both end up here - we did have a vision I guess, but it needed to grow and develop into what Brickhouse Craft Shop is today. I have often told Patti, 'what we are selling is the experience, what the customer is buying is the craft.' We hope our customers enjoy the experience, whether it be the music, the crafts, or the time they spent chatting with us. We hope that they will do like Patti and I did and take if from Here to There...



Anonymous said...

I just want you to know how much I enjoy reading your website. I found it for the first time a few days ago. I started reading from the beginning and have now read your complete website. I love what you both have shared and I look forward to your next post! Thank you again for sharing your heartwarming story! I wish that I lived closeby and could come for a visit and do a little shopping!

Simple blessings!

The Brickhouse said...

Teri, Thank you so much for reading our blog. We wished you lived closer, too! Please stop by our blog again and stay in touch..would love to get to know you! Have a great weekend.

OldeAnnie said...

I really enjoyed reading this post!! And now I wish I lived in PA so I could come and enjoy the experience. I wish you BOTH the best of luck with your shop! I can smell the aroma now....!


Linda / Behind My Red Door said...

Reading this history just made the shop come alive! Wionderful post!!

Kate said...

Great website! I'll definetly have to come vist. Next time I'm at the Hometown Farmer's Market I'll have to jump on I-81 and take a trip down.

Ginny said...

Patti & Tim, I love the latest post, Les & I need directons to the store, when time allows we are always looking for a road trip


Tim and Patti...I loved reading your story from There to Here - my journey was quite different as I was lucky enough to start my store right in my home many years ago - I couldn't wait to go out into the "real" world and nothing would make me happier now than to find a wonderful home and be able to have my store and house on the same property again. You are truly blessed....Fondly, Judy

Holly Hills Primitives said...

Oh yes, great journey! How interesting to hear it in your own words. Sure do wish I could come visit one of these days! Great job, Dawn

TeresaM said...

Hi Tim and Patti!!! I've been blessed in meeting you two! Great story of how Brickhouse Crafts came to be. Keep up the good work!

Paul Masser said...

Best wishes from another Paul Masser who stumbled across you via Mr Google.