What would you do if money wasn’t an issue? Or if you won the lottery? My answer was always that I would open a store. I love shopping. I don’t mean the little excitement when you take home something new, but the feeling of being in a retail store. I love to touch and feel everything. I love the clean smell and the bright lights and discovering the latest trends.
I guess that’s how I started to discover my passion. Now I just had to figure out how to “do what you love”. I already had a college degree in another field, so how could I ever justify taking out a loan for a career. You are supposed to bring home a paycheck not pay someone else to work.
I have always pestered my friends and family with statements like “when I have a store someday”. My ideas always seemed a little far fetched but I LOVED to daydream what my store would be like or what I would sell. When my husband nudged me to “go for it”, I definitely had cold feet. All the doubts and fears took over. I read every self-help book I could get my hands on and convinced myself that the only failures are the risks you don’t take. The next few months were full of research and writing a business plan.
When looking for the perfect location I had to choose between out by the busy highway or the quieter downtown square. I have lived in Clinton almost my entire life. I realized if a local girl isn’t going to invest in our downtown, who is?
Remodeling and choosing merchandise were the next steps and when it was finally time to open the door, I felt like I was ready to meet my dream. I personally picked every single item in The Bluebird Mercantile, I have tasted every food, candy, drink. Smelled every candle, lotion and touched every stuffed animal. I genuinely want everyone that walks through the front door to have a nice experience here. Whether a person buys something or not, I hope they are happy just being here.
When buying merchandise or working on displays I think a lot of my grandmothers, 2 amazing women whose legacies I hope to carry on. I even considered naming the store after Lois and Zola Mae. I know they are a part of me and guide my search for farmhouse décor (which they lived with) or kitchen gadgets like the ones they had. The time I spent with my grandmothers on theirs farms truly shaped me.
But, none of this would have happened without MY mother. Of course, we all need our mamas, but when you are 44 it isn’t as obvious. She is my biggest cheerleader and always pushes me to “go for it” and “be brave”. I tease that everyone should have to work with their mother once in their life. It isn’t always easy. Like when she calls me ”sweet baby” in front of a customer, or points out how to do something a better way in front of the other staff. But she has let me be in charge (for the most part) and trusts my instincts. We make a good team. I trust her instincts too and listen for advice. She is the most well-read person I know and always up to date and right on about trends and what sells.
So many people have asked me where the idea for the Mercantile came from and why focus on Missouri products. I have no other answer than its divine intervention. I don’t know why I came up with it, it just came to me. God answered my prayers to help me find a way to have a store.
I don’t know where this journey will go, but for now I get to walk into my store every morning and say “Good morning, Bluebird”. The Bluebird Mercantile feels like a child to me. Something I created and gave birth to. I have to nurture and feed it and I pray for guidance and stability. I hope it grows and provides me with satisfaction and income for a very long time. But either way, I feel like I won the lottery.