It has been a struggle and it has been a privilege.”
Those words will resonate with everyone who owns a small independent business.
And with those words (and others), Alair Gift Shop proprietor Shandon Armstrong announced this afternoon that as her shop marks its sixth anniversary tomorrow, that will be its last. She sent us the announcement she shared with customers in a heartfelt email – here it is in its entirety:
6 years on Dec 3.
6 years ago I got the keys to the original location. I started an LLC. I learned how to buy wholesale and how to love a community without holding back.
I am proud of Alair.
I am proud of how Alair has become as much mine as yours. I am proud of how this community handled a robbery. How we handled having our first landlord that was a cartoon version of a villain landlord. How we handled a pandemic.
I’m also proud of how we handled having a new landlord, that is the embodiment of everything good in the world. How we have been able to say thank you to this community that has given us so much.
We have won Emerging Business of the Year. I was a Top 40 Under 40 (back before I was 40). We won Business of the Year. We’ve been voted Best Gift Shop and Best Boutique in Readers Choice Awards for several local publications.
I have laughed harder than I’ve ever laughed.
I have cried harder than I’ve ever cried.
I have been lonelier than I’ve ever been, and I’ve also never felt less alone.
I’ve lost so many friends and I’ve gained more. It has been a struggle and it has been a PRIVILEGE.
It has been my pleasure. I love you. I appreciate you. I am so grateful.
It is also time for me to move on. It’s a different world now. The pandemic has changed so many things and is continuing to do so. I’m managing a website. I’m on a screen all day. I feel like I spend so much of every single day just sticking up for myself. I’m tired. The disappointment fatigue is real.
I sent y’all an email in September giving a state of the Alair union. One result of that was that someone reached out to me and offered me a new way to look at my future. Over the next 10 weeks, I figured out my path forward and what the future looks like. And last week, I accepted a full time position doing a job that I didn’t even know existed but is perfect for me. I don’t believe in soulmates and I don’t believe in one dream job. Alair has been my dream. Then, I was offered a position that is definitely my next dream.
So, right as we hit our 6 year anniversary, I am also announcing the end of an era.
Anything could still happen. Maybe one of you will want to swoop in and buy Alair. I’m still gunning hard to get Sam to take it over, because that lady loves this place as much as I do. Maybe someone will come in and buy all the insides and lease, but rebrand it and make it their own.
I hope so. The pandemic has taken a lot of small businesses.
The current plan is to operate as normal through the holidays. Then we will assess and see where we are and what needs to happen next. We have accumulated A LOT of stuff. I have no idea how to clear it all out in a responsible way. We will figure that out as soon as the holidays are over. I am aiming to have the doors closed by February 1st though.
And what I DO know that this is my last Alairiversary. And I’m so grateful for every single one.
Thank you. Thank you for letting me live my dream and also for helping me see a new one.
People are good.
My people are the best.
Alair originally opened in what had been a fitness studio, before moving a few doors down.