"Slow down you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be before your time
Although it's so romantic on the borderline tonight . . .
On the day that we took down my beautiful shop on 12th Avenue, the song Vienna, by Billy Joel, seemed to speak to me that day.
It is said that this song is about growing old, and making the most of this thing called life.
The Universe Listens.
That day as we disassembled my vision, Tom Peterson of Cheap Trick came by for a visit, reminding me that there were good times too.
The last time he had been at my shop was August 2019 for Shake the Lake. It was a Saturday at about 3 pm when a man walked in my door. it was strange for men to come to my shoppe, unless they were shopping for their wives or girlfriends, but he didn't have that "lost" look. In fact, he was very uptown in his style, kind of a casual world traveller kind of way. He wore a satchel across his body, and a hat. I recognized his Fluevog shoes before I knew who he was.
The first thing he said to me was "why are you here? What is this place? It doesn't look like Regina to me . . . at least what I have seen."
I thanked him and said that was the point - "An out of Regina experience". And then I said, "you're not from here, are you?"
He said, no, he was from Nashville. I asked why he was in Regina (I asked everyone why they would come to Regina); he said he was playing a gig that night somewhere.
"Oh cool," I said. "What band is it?"
"Oh, you probably haven't heard of it - Cheap Trick-"
Before he could enunciate the "k" I became a teenager in that moment -
"OMG Cheap Trick! I want you to want me, Surrender, Dream Police . . . Now I have to play it".
"That's ok" he smiled. "I've heard it."
"No I want to hear it again!"
For the next 2 hours we talked about our children, life and its many directions and lessons. He said that ZÖE belonged in a place like Soho, or anywhere else. He asked me what many visitors have - are there enough people here who can support and appreciate this?"
And so as I closed my shop on 12th Avenue, seeing Tom again reminded me of what made my downtown business so great - that it had been a place to be. Not just a shoe store. But a place that a traveller would come and rest for while. I gave Tom my new address, and invited him back to my new place on his next visit.
Here we ZÖE Again
Many people asked me why I didn't just close the business during the pandemic. There were lots of reasons, one being I didin't want to be a COVID business casulty, and I kept thinking, if I give up now, how will I know what's on the other side of COVID? I also rationalized that it is just as much work and emotional energy to close a business as it is to keep it open and adjust for reality.
As a business planner by profession, I learned that plans had to be iterative, because the environment was changing without my ability to control it. All I could do was try and manage within it. And I had to be honest about the situation. I knew that a recovery was a long way off. And that there would not be enough business to support the lease payment. Cutting overhead was the only way to survive in this limited environment. But it would important to maintain the luxury quality that ZÖE is known for.
Another business owner / friend had given up her beautiful yoga studio during the pandemic and the space was available, although it was half the size of my shoppe on 12th.
Shifting to a smaller more intimate space would work for the new business environment where people predominantly shop online. it would allow me a space to work, and offer shopping by appointment. I closed my beautiful shop on 12th Avenue and started again . . . with brand reinvention number 3.
. . . March 2021, ZÖE Concept opened on 2120 Broad Street, offering an out of Regina experience to local and far away guests.