Thursday, December 12, 2013

My New Chapter For 2014

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Anyone who cooks and shops knows this is the uniform of Williams Sonoma.
 The Christmas season is that one time of year when you just don't want any curve balls.  Many of us have so much on our plate that we tend to get through the parties, the shopping, the work schedules and the day to day with our head down.  Often, it seems, I look up, and the New Year is here.  This Christmas season, a curve ball came.  It hit me square in the chest.

My Williams Sonoma family and I were told that our store would be closing.  The close out sale starts next week.  Breathe.

This was not some job for me.  This is my second family.  We are a cast of characters that have been together for over 16 years, this is my 17th Christmas with WS.  Hopefully some of us will be placed at the local outlet.  For some, this will be the end.  That's when my chest hurts.  I don't want to leave. To put this in perspective: When I started, Christina was in Pre-School, today she is halfway through Junior year of COLLEGE.  See what I mean.  Breathe.

I made these for a corporate visit last year.
I have really only ever had 3 jobs since I graduated from college.  Proctor and Gamble, Bristol Meyers, and this.  My selling, stocking, display building, truck unloading, cooking class instructor, job.  It has defined me for so many years.  People stop me in the supermarket, in line to vote, and at other stores, "Aren't you the gal from Williams Sonoma?"  People ask me for dinner ideas, how to cook things and bridal registry tips.  I have had customers come in looking for Pernigotti Cocoa and Neilsen Massey vanilla because "the blog" said it would be the best for her cookies.  She was referring to my blog!  I have helped the same old gals with their Christmas shopping and their packages for years.  I have waited on Steve Harvey, Ginnifer Goodwin, Steven Segal, Loren Roberts and countless local chefs.  I remember when Justin Timberlake and then girlfriend Brittany Spears shopped our plaza, although they were obviously not into cooking (they skipped our store).  And of course I met the man, Chuck Williams, whose dream I worked in.

Grande Cuisine.  Most people don't know what this symbol means.

I don't know what will happen.  We go day to day.  But when I was all teary talking to Christina, she said, "Mom, look at it as a new chapter".  She's right.  (Hopefully not a whole new book!)  But it is a new chapter.  It's going to hurt long after the doors are locked and a new business opens there, but it also feels okay, sort of.  It feels great to know I have worked side by side with so many amazing people.  I have learned so much about business, cooking, retail, and people along the way.  I learned people will surprise you everyday if you open your heart.  I have been hurt too, that goes hand in hand.  The unhappy customers (one made me cry), the thief, the snotty brides (few and far between, but my land, mean!).  But when you hold a job, any job, heck, even a marriage for 16+ years, there is something you just can't walk away from.  And that is the imprint of all those years and all those people.  I am a better person because of every single day I worked there.  My new chapter is unnamed as of yet.  But it's mine, and I will do my best to make is as good as the last, long one.

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