Sunday, September 20, 2009

We're Back!

Thank you Matt and Cat (Catherine) for being such an incredible bright spot for 2009! Your wedding was fantastic – everything a mom could ever dream of and you planned the entire event by yourselves! Who needs a wedding planner? I am so very proud of you both. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Proud moms, Beth (Cat's) and Patty (Matt's)

What a tumultuous year – and we’re not quite three-quarters of the way through it yet. I really don’t like to whine… but things can only get better! We started the New Year with a terrible flood. It devastated all seven of the businesses in our little complex. Sure, it had been raining and there was snow melt, but really no warning that we would flood. A fallen tree obstructed the flow of Issaquah Creek into Lake Sammamish. This created a surge of water back up the creek which, in turn, flooded our center around 2:00 a.m. January 8th.

We arrived at 8:00 in the morning to find the parking lot several feet under water. It took almost five hours for the water to recede enough for us to “wade” in to assess the damages. Once we could get closer to our doors, we found 12 inches of standing water throughout the shop.

Six months later, after dealing with soggy carpets we had to remove ourselves, a cracked and chipped concrete floor underneath, black mold growing inside the walls, faulty electrical outlets, a broken heating system, no running water or operational toilets, a v-e-r-y slow insurance company, no help from FEMA or the SBA, and thousands of dollars in lost and damaged inventory, SISTERS moved a few doors down – right next to the antique mall.

We took over a space that used to be a hair/nail salon. We just about completely gutted the inside, removing all of the walls that once formed several “rooms”. The next step was painting the walls and beams, and then glazing the walls. We had to scrub the floor several times (on our hands and knees!) to get them clean and we’ve added several area rugs to soften the look. The hardest part was deciding where all the shop fixtures were to be placed. After 14 years in one location, we had to start all over… layer upon layer upon layer. But this was the fun part and we couldn’t wait! At least that’s what we kept telling ourselves.

I did this all by myself!

One month later, during a routine physical and mammogram, I learned that somehow I had the big “C”. Me? Impossible! I eat well, work hard, have a great attitude, and I’m as healthy as can be. Another mammogram, a few ultrasounds, and an MRI confirmed it. I kept the news from my family until after my son’s wedding. Two weeks before my scheduled surgery, I told family and friends and assured them that all would be fine.

On September 15th, I had a lumpectomy (partial mastectomy). Part of the procedure also involved removal of three lymph nodes under my right arm. Thanks to a great surgeon and wonderful team at Virginia Mason Seattle, I came through with flying colors! In less than an hour after my surgery, I was out of the hospital and on my way home. I am thrilled that other than being a little more tired than usual, I have not had any pain or any problems whatsoever. I haven’t even taken a Tylenol! Doctor’s orders are to take it easy for a week… I’m trying, but still need to take care of things. It’s hard to sit on the couch looking at laundry that needs folding and wondering when the last time was that I dusted the furniture and washed the windows. (I returned to the shop Saturday afternoon and it was wonderful to be back!)

And now back to SISTERS… It’s a wonderful location! The shop is bright and cheery with lots of windows and a huge covered area outside. We’ve had great fun filling the patio with plants and birdhouses, vintage iron tables and chairs, bird baths and Adirondack chairs, lawn furniture and ladders, benches and old swings.

We have lots of new (old) things and as usual… we never stop buying! The inside of the shop is filled with sunshine and we often don’t even turn on the lights! We’ve “divided” SISTERS into sections reminiscent of the old shop. The cottage area is on the east side – again, lots of windows and all the things that make a cottage a home (or is it, make a home a cottage?). We have lots of things that are “lodgey” or camp style, as well as the more refined treasures including sterling and crystal, books, china and ironstone, American pottery, art and mirrors, vintage clothing and linens, and tons of jewelry! We are still passionate about chandeliers and lamps as well as vintage iron furniture.

Remember… We have everything you never knew you always wanted!

One of the sweetest vintage iron sets we've had!

Just being silly...

How many of you remember these things?

WOW! One of the prettiest Italian tole chandeliers;
professionally rewired and ready to hang!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just a quick update...

We spent all day packing stuff up and moving it into a RUBY'S rental truck (U-Haul in Issaquah) to transport it to a recently vacated space just on the east side of Graybeard's Gilman Antique Gallery. Thanks to our wonderful property manager, Bryan Briscoe, for allowing us to utilize this space for our "stuff" while we wait for the clean-up crew to rip up the soaked carpet and cut out at least two feet of drywall!

What a challenge! We had been planning a major overhaul in the shop -- remerchandising, repricing, refurbishing, all those "re" words -- but we had hoped it would be at our pace and not mandatory!

Please -- we all need your support now more than ever! Lombardi's Italian Restaurant will be closed for at least 10 days. Leathers is just about back to normal as is West Coast Armory. Casual Dining (Lee) is working so hard to get things back to normal, and is still open. Noel, the owner of Graybeard's Gilman Antique Gallery has worked non-stop since Wednesday and is open for business, despite all the work that is going on. And Sisters... you might have to climb over hoses and cords and deal with squishy floors -- but we are open as well! Again -- please shop us! We need you!

Sorry, no photos tonight. I just couldn't do it! We will be back tomorrow, hopefully early, moving and packing and more moving! Thank you for all of your support!


Just in case you haven’t heard yet…

We spent Wednesday afternoon and early evening bagging sand, laying heavy plastic down on the ground and up the walls/doors/windows about 4 feet. We layered 2-3 sandbags along the base to keep the plastic up so we wouldn’t flood if Issaquah Creek went over its banks. Most of us have been through these flood threats before and didn’t think we would actually flood. I kept checking the flood hotline for updates on the creek and it seemed to be okay. It wasn’t until my last call around 6:00 a.m. Thursday that I learned 7th Avenue, (the street behind the shop just to the west) had been closed. We came down an hour or so later to check things out. When we arrived at the entrance of Gilman Square, the parking lot was totally flooded and water was pouring out onto Gilman Blvd. A truck parked in front of Lombardi’s was up to its windows with water. From the street, we couldn’t tell if water had actually risen above the plastic and sandbags in front of our stores or not.

I think it was some time after 1:00 in the afternoon that I was finally able to get to the shop without water going over my knee-high boots. I looked through the window to find nearly a foot of water throughout the shop. Once I pulled back the plastic and moved sandbags I was able to open the front door. This unleashed a virtual river of water. As I stood there in disbelief, I grabbed a small suitcase, bowls with shells, a tray with butter pats, and Christmas ornaments as they floated by. Once the water was through flowing we were left with about 3 inches of standing water. We spent the afternoon using Shop Vacs to suck up all the water and started dragging out rugs and other items we could salvage.

The landlord brought in a company late Thursday afternoon that “cleans up” after disasters like this and assesses the damage to the building. They placed two huge dehumidifiers in the shop that pull the moisture out. It was about 6:00 or so when we had to quit for the day and let the machines start doing their jobs. As necessary, they will use professional equipment to pull out water as well. We do know that all carpeting has to be pulled up and replaced. If the drywall is badly damaged, they will cut it out and replace that as well. The company came back Friday morning to start work again.

We aren’t exactly “Business As Usual” but we are determined and have already started this major restoration project. There's more work than you can ever imagine!

SISTERS is having a flood sale -- everything in the shop is 25% - 75% off.