Admittedly, the print shop needed a little TLC when I took over managing the office earlier this summer. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do for a place, though.
I had other ideas, too. I took down the broken blind on the left window. The one that had been cut out around the neon OPEN sign at some point in the distant past. I wish I had taken a more direct picture of it before I took it down. It was… weird. It just was.
Rebecca and I cleaned the window (yes, we do windows!) and I set up a credenza with a shelf on it inside the window to make an attractive seasonal display.
Down on the other end…
…we set up a little bistro table with a couple of chairs and added pots of blooming flowers. And we planted some fast-growing sunflowers at the end of the porch to add a little leafy shade. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s the perfect spot to sit and watch the traffic on Main Street and the trains go by.
I cleaned up the front office, too. I took down raggedy, 10-year-old posters and hung framed art on the walls. I set up vintage-style gumball and candy machines on the front counter and a Keurig with coffee and tea by the front door.
I have no idea whether it will help business or not, but it surely can’t hurt, and I enjoyed fixing it up to be inviting and pleasant. It’s been interesting to hear the comments from long-time customers. They love it. One lady went out and sat on the porch while I made her copies. Another one always takes a nickel from the little cup provided and gets a nickel’s worth of Jelly Bellys.
I don’t get a lot of customers here at this little out-of-the-way print shop, but the ones I do get are sure interesting. I think the most interesting experience I’ve had so far wasn’t actually a customer at all.
I noticed, one morning, an older man had come up on the porch and was sitting at the table reading a paper. He hadn’t been in the shop, so I was curious to know what brought him there. He was perfectly welcome to be there, but it was a little unusual.
I keep the front door propped open in the summertime to circulate fresh air through the shop, as the chemical smell from the printing press can be quite strong. In this part of the country we don’t use air-conditioning much, and so I leave the door open. After 15 or 20 minutes my visitor poked his head inside the door and looked around.
“Is this a waste basket?” he asked, looking under the table with the Keurig.
“Sure,” I told him. “Can I help you with something?”
“Oh, no,” he said. “I’m having my car worked on across the street and just came over to sit and read my mail.”
“Well, you’re welcome to do that,” I replied. “Would you like a cup of coffee?”
“No, thank you,” he said. “They called that my car is done. This is a nice location you have here. I like this old part of town.”
“Yes. Me, too,” I said. “It has an old-timey feel.”
“Such an interesting building,” he continued. “A person with a little imagination could really do something with it.”
Maybe he needed to see it before to appreciate the “little imagination” that I have.