10 years of Custard (part 2)

Posted by Tara Kirkland on

(New Digits and New Street Address)
So, where we were when I last left you was our first location at 108 West Taylor Street and the cliff hanger of the building going into foreclosure. It was a stressful time because I had just spent so much of my savings on opening the store and was worried that the move would confuse people, lose customers and be expensive to redo everything I just did, but it didn't matter. It had to be done. I got to work trying to find a location that was close by.  I have always been the biggest fan of the Downtown Design District and I was hoping to stay close enough to have people who went looking down Taylor Street find me somewhere they could walk to. I got a huge break when a neighbor of mine moved to Liberty Street and 414 Whitaker Street was available.  I remember our friends Amanda and Matt coming over and helping Bo and myself roll rolling racks, haul tables and dress forms across busy Whitaker and Taylor traffic! It was a sight!
(Bare bones- we ripped up the grossest carpet ever!)
(An actual camera selfie.  We have our own "Custard" wall color and believe it or not, I used to have all brown hair.)
(My dad is off in the far left of this photo- I told you, he has come down and helped me stripe every single Custard!)
414 Whitaker brought a lot of changes for Custard.  We started opening 7 days a week, and we we able to hire a few part time employees. In fact, years later, one of our employees opened her own boutique in this space, and she wasn't the only former Custard employee to open her own shop! I am actually incredibly proud of this! One of the coolest things about working in small businesses is getting a real feel for how they run. I learned so much about what to do and what not to do from working for other indie places. I have always felt like you get what you put in, and for me, working for some of the coolest people was the same as an apprenticeship. I really hope that I and Custard continues to inspire people to pursue their dreams and goals the way those people and stores in my past did for me.
(Finished product- this purple wall color continues to haunt the shop owner in the location now, and is one of my favorite mistakes. When we moved to the location after this one, we ditched the purple because it reminded our friend Matt, and then me, after he said something about it, of Mardi Gras.)
(Inside View)
(My dad's finished paint work)
(Look at all that green! St. Patrick's has always been my favorite holiday, so Savannah is a perfect place to celebrate! We are always closed on St. Pat's so we can be one with the celebration)
I wanted to tell this part of my story to show that just because you start somewhere, it doesn't mean that's where you will end up.  It is hard starting at the bottom but sometimes that's just the way it is. I believe it takes hard work and determination to own your own destiny and I don't want to shy away from the fact that I didn't start in the place I am today and that I worked hard to get Custard to this place!
I got my first real start in small business from a man named Gary. When I was in college I was working my way through school, I had a morning job (at the Grove Park Inn) and a night job (at Wal-Mart).  The short story is local Asheville small business owner, Gary, came though my check out during a busy time at Wal-Mart and after he left the line, he came back in and asked me to leave my job there and come work for him. It sounds kind of like a movie to me, and still, almost 2 decades later, I can see the scene perfectly in my mind. Of course, I left Wal-Mart and started the day after Thanksgiving working in an indie toy store for kids called Enviro Depot. Without meaning to I started learning so much about having a small store, and I also tapped in to skills and ideas I didn't realize I had, and I found there were things I loved doing- like helping people pick the perfect gifts, and building displays and connecting with customers, and learning the value a small business provides to a community. I am forever grateful for that time in my life and there's no way Custard would exist without that. Plain and simple.
(The new location also came with a new addition to our family, Julius- on the right)
(Yes, there was a mustache on Bo, Julius looks way happier about it than I ever was)
Custard spent two happy years in this location, but when the corner store on the opposite side of the street came open, I just couldn't resist! More on that later!
(View from outside)
Until next time!
Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting!
If you feel inspired to write something nice about your Custard shopping experience past or present- please do- we would love to hear from you!

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