Thursday, August 17, 2017

What happened to Persnickety's?

I have written and rewritten this post about seventy times over the past four months.
But the words swirled around, crashing and mashing themselves up against a huge wall of work and upheaval. If the words somehow made it past the wall, Feelings and Avoidance Mountain (elevation 149,000 ft) made sure not one word would pass. I buried my head in 16 hour days and put it off one more time.
I didn't know what to say. So I'll start from the beginning.

I opened Persnickety's in 2012 with 2000 bucks after the death of my grandparents while working a shit job and losing my home all in the course of a few months. I felt I had nothing left to lose. Let's turn this all around, I thought.  Build something that would take care of my parents when they got old, unlike the 17 years I had spent in an industry that couldn't even allow me to keep my house.
The store sat between a tattoo parlor and a smoke shop on an industrial street.  My family came together and we worked day and night to make it to the next day and night. Granted, they thought I was nuts...but they were right there. Always.
And soon, super talented, amazing people popped into our lives and wanted to be a part of the shop. 
And then somehow, thanks to so many of you amazing people and all of those talented folks, we made it work. We hustled to find old things with promise, and fixed them up. And you bought them! 
Man, seeing those things find their way home to your beautiful homes was an honor that filled me with the kind of gratitude I still lack the ability to fully explain. Each and every time it meant the most.
And then we made it to Main Street. And then we were named Best of Western Washington two years in a row. The struggle was always real. It was always hard work. A struggle for every dollar. But it was fun, man. 25 hours a day obsessed (watch out for this) fun. Constant work. And I loved it. I loved working beside my mom every day. Had never been happier.

And then I opened Finder's Market.

And at first it was good. Later, there were 10 million reasons why it wasn't.  
Last September, there was an electrical short at Finders Market which shut us down for days. And 10 million other things happened at the same time. Because, life. So even though little Persnickety's was all mine and what I loved most in the whole world (this is also something to avoid, just so you know), I had to move my little store into the big store and took on a full time load of side work to keep things going.
And as they say (dramatically with a resigned sigh while gazing through a rain-streaked window), things were never the same. 

What I did not know then is how glad I would be for that. Here's the thing about being on the other side of things never being the same...they can be better.

And family got me through all of own and my work family: My best friend/brother from another mother and that other mother. 
Matt and Janice from Antique Liquidators Seattle have been the best in the business since 1970. After the loss of Matt's father and Janice's husband Carl last year, their business was at a turning point as well. 
So in April we became a team. We moved 20000 sq ft of furniture out of their old warehouse and created the most beautiful store in the most amazing building in Sodo. We find the most ridiculously good stuff that gets shipped to buyers around the country and around the world. Big things are happening here and more big things to come. It's so nice to do the things I love again. Finding and creating. Driving big trucks of awesomeness and lifting heavy stuff. Making a store pretty. I am so grateful to be here. And they are grateful I'm here. And that's pretty much the best. It's a hard go alone, but we are making it together.

Without Matt and Janice and my family, Persnickety's and Finder's would have died before there was a chance for another breath. And to be very honest, I may have too. I will be forever grateful. No one really understands what kinds of hard work, pressure, and the kind of goal driven ridiculousness that comes with brick and mortar shop ownership like another shop owner. It's really hard to go at it alone. And together we are better. We all bring something to the table. The Persnickety's chapter has ended for now but it is not the end of the story.

Follow us here to see what we are up to while we bring the best of the best to Seattle and beyond. Come to the store. We ship globally and deliver locally. You can also find us in our satellite location in La Conner at Nasty Jack's.

And soon, south enders, you can find Persnickety's and Antique Liquidators in Tacoma at Ruston Mercantile, the new home of our talented friends from Smithbuilt. Troy and Lacy are opening a darling shop that is sure to be right up your alley. They are soft opening in September but you should follow them here (insert links) for all the updates and to see the goods they are making and bringing in. We are very excited to get in there and see your faces.
I'm also going to get the Persnickety's Purge page back up and running because oh holy Moses there are a lot of things you should buy that are currently taking up space in every available space. Garage sale? Would you come over for that? Come buy my stuff. I have bills, people. 

And as for Finder's Market, it lives. One of the most amazing chicks on the planet (that loved Finder's way more than I did) took over in April. She and her awesome husband carry the torch now. If you have not yet met Song and Dave, please meet them immediately and check out all the goodness they have in store. I am only sorry I didn't tell you about them sooner. They deserve all the goodness and success in the world. 
As does my Anna, who opened next door at the Rustic Farmhouse. Go see her and her darling shop. She carries the torch now.

Persnickety's FB will be back in full swing with some changes. Hopefully you'll stick around.

I'm learning a lot on this journey of starting over. And the starting over thing is happening from A to Z in this life of mine. And while there are days that I don't recognize myself or the life I used to live, there are many more days that I am glad I don't. I've made myself healthier and stronger to face these changes. And that has been made possible by the people who have touched my life and carried me through. I have been given a lot of grace by people that know that starting over, while necessary, is messy. I am so thankful for them. For my family. And for you.
I've got more wins in me. Trust me, so do you. And I've learned you recognize the shining lights a lot more through tears, you guys. So if there is one thing I can impart while sharing this wall of text with you, it's the power of both. Gratitude for what was and what will be, even when things are super scary. Finding the light in the dark. Losing one thing and gaining another. With a lot of help from our friends.

Oh, life. It's hard. It's all the bad and all the good. It's both. Join me and let's do both together. 

I'm so thankful for the time we spent in Sumner, come visit us in Seattle. We can't wait to see you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Picking with Persnickety's: Secrets of Sequim


It's a question we get asked a LOT here at the shop, and the answer (while truthful) is generally pretty vague.
The answer? 
All over. It's a full time job.

And that is true. I don't do much online anymore, no craigslist, very very few online garage sale groups.
 Too many folks doing that and I don't want the stuff everyone else has seen, ya know?
There are a few go to places in Oregon I have told you about but other than that, it's a get in the car and go kind of gamble and a girl has to have some secrets.
But I am ready to spill on another secret and share the latest trip, because it was awesome.

 I brought Mama P along and we hopped into the car on a rainy day.
We drove west from Sumner across the Narrows bridge.

And then we continued over the Hood Canal Bridge. 

On our way to the treasure that is Sequim (say it like "skwim").

Sequim is less than two hours from home on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and is located in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains, which means it averages about the same rainfall as Los Angeles on a good year.
For example, it was pouring at home, but cloudy with bits of sun the whole time we were on our trip.

It was there that we found a treasure trove of good junk in a gorgeous little town (on the water) AND we stayed in the most gorgeous converted barn, where we were served gourmet food.

I have to tell you about it.
You have got to get to Sequim.
More importantly, you have got to get to here:

Please forgive me while I gush about it and share with you the glory of this magical place.

So, say you had dreams your whole life of living in a place that is just like this...on the water:

 with your own private beach access and the perfect place to watch a sunset

but along with that... is green, lush, and rural

full of history and cool old stuff to see

AND your house was AN OLD CONVERTED BARN surrounded by lavender fields!
I mean! Come on!!!!
These Sequimians have got it made!

 Inside that place? Warmth and light, the most lovely folks, and laughter

Mama P and Clare, innkeeper extraordinaire

So many beautiful things to see inside

and crazy gorgeous views from every single window (I checked)

where even the vegetable and herb gardens are eyecandy

and the grounds look like something out of a storybook

and the FOOD is everything. And prepared with all locally sourced natural ingredients.

And the company could not have been better.

And just because nothing would be perfect without the world's cutest dog, they have him too:

This is Fee, and I love him.

So you find this magical place, and you meet the magical people that run this place and you fall head over heels in love with their place and with them, and they are into antiques and junk too, and it is just this perfect meeting of kismet proportions. 

This does not happen to me. Like, ever. I stay away from bed and breakfasts. I like my privacy. I like to sleep in. I don't want to talk to people in the morning. I need a TV. And Wi-Fi.
They have TV's in the rooms. Free Wi-Fi. You can choose when you are served breakfast. Plenty of privacy.
And the people?
I would talk to them all day, every day! 
There are two suites and we got to experience them both, as well as two additional cozy rooms. 
The beds are the most comfortable in life and I am not even kidding you right now.
You can rent out the entire inn for family stuff and retreats. 
I intend to do both, because I am hooked.

Ok let me shake out of my Dungeness Barn House Bed and Breakfast daydreamy haze to talk to you now about the junking in this town.

In the center of town and really packed to the gills inside and out with AMAZING finds and super amazing prices. 
I would move here just to see what they brought in every day. It's real good. This one is in Sequim and there is one in Port Angeles as well. We definitely recommend the one in Sequim. I love this place extra because they are a local charity that actually helps those in their community of Clallam County with tangible goods and services. A Goodwill moved in across the street and we checked that out too but, junkers, Serenity is where it is at.

Another favorite though, was this place. Around Again. It is right outside of town and they believe, like we do, that waste can be a huge resource. Don't be fooled by all of the old exercise equipment out front and make sure to find all of the nooks and crannies inside the store and in the sizable back area. The stuff we can't seem to find anywhere? It is here. And the prices are, again, rad. They are a not-for-profit as well, and support their community in a lot of amazing ways. 
They also have employed the BEST dude in all the land:
This bearded fellow, along with his blurry (sorry about that) coworker, defied all normal logic and saw the potential for fitting a 80 jillion pound, giant farm scale in an already filled rig.

Mama P looked this when I was like: IT'LL FIT, I KNOW IT

The bearded fellow above agreed and measured and made. it. happen.
Bearded fellow, you are my hero!
Not to be missed: Re-Creations, which is right on the same property as Around Again. There is also a drive up coffee joint on the property. Which basically means you can just live there forever.

Also in town, a bevy of infrequently open antiques stores and lots of sweet lavender farms and home decor stores and garden shops of all kinds. 
Great food too, although this one wanted to go to one place and one place only:

And I have to agree, it had moments of greatness.
Dungeness crab grilled cheese sandwich? Uh yeah.
Homemade Mississippi Mud Pie? Totally.
And they have the good ice.
You know what I mean by " the good ice", right?
The ice all drinks should be cooled by:

Now, for the rest of your picking and junking adventure in the Sequim area you first will need coffee.

Then hit all of the goodness up the road about 20 minutes in Port Angeles.
We hit Habitat for Humanity, Serenity Thrift, Brocante , and the place next door (um, don't know the name. It's big, but way out of my price range). 
Brocante won for coolest and best prices but for as big as Port Angeles is, we found a ton more in Sequim in just a few key places.

It has been two years since Mama P and I took a trip just the two of us. 
We see each other at least three days a week at the shop but neither of us could remember the last time we had done something just us. 
I love that we love so many of the same things and let me tell you that long drives are great for conversation for those of us that don't do a lot of deep talking. Ahem, cough. Mom.

I sure do love that Mom. She and Dad found the secret of Sequim, I give them all the credit for that and for finding the Dungeness Barn House. 

Clare and Sue, the innkeepers, are part of the family now too, and I already miss them.
It's almost odd, really, when you meet people and instantly adore them. You can feel the true essence of their goodness exude in every thing they touch and everything they do. 
And definitely everything they cook in that kitchen! Dang!

Thank you Clare and Sue (and Fee) for making our trip so amazing. 
Sure we found a truckload of good stuff in Sequim to bring home but thanks to ya'll and the beauty of the barn house we found a whole lot more than that.

Thanks, ladies, for the reminder.



all content and photos property of Persnickety's/Mandi Smith 6/9/15