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About the Closing of the Store

(Originally posted on Bella Vista Neighbors on Facebook)

 

I want to take this opportunity to clear up some things about my business and store, Fox Petal Potions.

 

Firstly, I am extremely grateful for everyone who came into the store today (Saturday) and to my champions who answered the same questions over and over and defended me—I am honored and so thankful.

 

Neither the store, nor the business, failed; I am just beyond exhausted because I do everything myself and it still isn’t enough.  Business is not good enough for me to be able to hire a customer service representative or I would in a heartbeat.  The minuscule profits are not enough to counterbalance the stress, pressure, hassle, rudeness, invasive questions and customers who require the red carpet be unrolled for them.

 

I appreciate most of the advice I’ve received because I know some of you are just trying help, but let me assure you that there is not a single aspect of this business I have not thought about thoroughly, but you don’t know that, so allow me to tell you the story of Fox Petal Potions.

 

I started the business five years ago when 7 months of chemo robbed my body of performing massages without constant injury.  Since I had been wanting a store of my own for over 20 years, I thought it was the perfect time to pursue that because I could learn how to make everything while I recovered.  It took many, many tries to get the formulas just right, but I kept at it until the product, just soaps at first, were up to my standards.  I tested the market at a small Bella Vista craft fair and sold out of everything, so, I made more products and sold at more and more locations including Spanker Creek Craft Fair, the Bella Vista Farmers Market, It’s Fall Ya’ll & the Spring Craft Fairs, the Bentonville Farmers Market on Saturdays and Thursdays, and the indoor Farmers Market during the winter, and the (freezing cold) Winter Market on the Bentonville Square and had a website the entire time.  In five years I built this business from scratch to a brick-and-mortar store, so I may know what I’m doing.

 

I’m not some idiot soap maker who was walking around randomly, bumped into a building and said, “This will do.”  I didn’t want to open a store in Bella Vista because I knew how hard it would be.  After considering all the options, searching for a year and working with different agents and contractors, I chose Bentonville and tried to rent two different locations on Walton, but the landlords made it impossible to work with them.  I finally settled on Bella Vista and strategically chose this spot because it is easy to get to from the freeway and is in the same lot as the always busy Harps and Cafe USA.

 

Because I knew that the store would not do well in BV without another revenue source, I applied for and got a spot again at the Bentonville Farmers Market and planned to hire someone to work the booth.  A young lady came into the store asking for a job, I told her what I needed and she agreed enthusiastically.  During her training I constantly checked in with her to make sure she still wanted the position, I purchased displays and re-organized everything to make it as easy as possible for her.  She quit the day before the Farmers Market started.  I asked everyone I knew for help, including the FPP mailing list, and no one would help me.  Since I’m not a horrible person, I gave up my spot at the market so I wasn’t taking away an opportunity for someone else and leaving the organizers in a difficult position.  THAT is where the advertising was going to happen that I was counting on.

 

Speaking of advertising, I had a billboard, ads on FB, Instagram, and Nextdoor and have a sign on the back of my car and excellent word-of-mouth, so if you didn’t know about the store, that’s not my fault since the information has been out there for a while.

 

Why am I telling you all this?  Because I am sick of defending myself, my business and my store, nor will I be blamed for bad decisions leading to the closing of it.  I have made it as easy as possible for people to find my location, find my hours of operation, and see what I sell, and I simply can’t do anything more and cannot answer those questions again and again—you have to have some level of self-sufficiency because I’ve already done everything else for you.

 

Now, I want to respond to a couple of comments that made me so mad I barely got any sleep last night:

 

“You need a bigger sign because I didn’t see it.”  You mean the giant $6,000 lighted sign, constrained by the parameters of the landlord?  That sign?  The one you can’t miss if you just look up?  Yeah, I’ll get right on that.  For you.

 

“You should change the name of your business so I know what you sell and maybe I would shop there.”  The absolute audacity of this statement surpasses all reason and angers and insults me more than I can express in words.

 

You have no earthly idea how much work I have put into the store and my products to make sure there is no detriment to your health or to the earth.  The absolute least you can do is Google my business or visit the website to find out all the information you need instead of asking me over and over and over.

 

That’s the reason I am closing the store, not because I chose the wrong the location, or don’t advertise enough, or don’t have a big enough sign, but because I cannot give any more of myself and still get questions about why I can’t give more.  I’m exhausted.

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