*Sappy long 3-part 2020 post. This is part 1: THE MOVE OUT.*
WE'VE MOVED 😮 Actually, we moved way back in April. No, we didn't move because of COVID. And, I'm super excited to catch you up on the last 8 months that we have otherwise been very quiet about.
So, what did 2020 bring for me? The hardest working, most stressful year of my life that all turned out pretty great in the end. Lets take you back in the timeline of Ish to explain...
We changed our business model completely (maybe twice?), had a key employee move out of state, moved 400 guitars in 4 days flat, renovated a 5500sqft building ourselves, raised $50,000 needed to close on the building in 2 weeks to fill the gap a lender promised but couldn't provide due to COVID, oh yeah and BATTLED A PANDEMIC 🦠
Our new 5500sqft facility is a massive upgrade from our maybe 2000sqft in downtown Syracuse of pieced-together showroom, warehouse, and office areas (with plenty of hallways and staircases in between). It was a beautiful location, but wasn't terribly functional.
At the end of 2019 I had this intuition that we needed to close the showroom to the public, go appointment only, and focus more on internet sales. We quietly went appointment only a couple days a week in Jan 2020 as a test - at that time I had no idea the massive importance of that intuition and the retail shopping shift that was about to occur on our planet.
The offer was accepted on our new building mid-Feburary. Remember, this is when COVID was just a spec of news blipping across your iPhone screen that you didn't really pay much attention to.
We closed on the building April 3rd. Because of a million stressful reasons, we needed to move into the new building ASAP. Moving was a literal nightmare: About $1,000,000 of delicate guitars, an entire woodworking shop, 5 years accumulation of office equipment, etc. We were completely moved out of our old space, floor swept and better-than-when-we-came by April 8th, which was a miracle in itself. We worked SO hard, most days from 8am until 1am (no exaggerating here).
Part 2: THE RENOVATION.
Oddly enough, we didn't get a single order while we were moving - the only time I have been grateful for not getting any orders because we TOTALLY would have forgotten to ship your stuff 😂 The first day we were fully moved in we got our first order, slapped our computers on top of makeshift cardboard box desks, and went to work.
We didn't miss a single freakin' beat - and I'm so incredibly proud of my team for it. These guys could have ditched me and made MORE money on unemployment (NY state unemployment was paying out huge) but they stayed and helped lift heavy boxes for some crazy reason. Maybe because they believe in Ish Guitars? Or maybe because they were just flat out bored since the world was shut down? Either way, I have no idea why I am blessed with such incredible humans around me.
Now we were in our building - great - but that was about it. It looked like a blah-grey dentist office from the 1970's (sorry Dentist friends). So of course we did the logical thing and immediately ripped out all of the ugly ceilings, walls, and floors (enjoy the progress pics). This was sometime in May.
Also, at this time we started installing electrical and fixing the cracked floors of our new garage. Yes, I said garage. Like car garage. Like garage = car showroom = we are going to start selling cars. This is a whole other story you will hear about more soon, but for now enjoy a teaser pic in the next post until we have more info for you. Coming Spring 2021.
Renovations completed in October. Yep, it took that long. My Mom and Dad were instrumental here doing drywall, painting, cutting new baseboards, the whole enchilada. We did almost everything ourselves. Actually the renovations aren't even 100% done but its close enough and we are all exhausted 🤷♀️ This was a lot of 12 hour days, working 10am-6ish on guitar stuff and then 6-10pm-ish on renovations with my parents. I absolutely could not have done it without a bunch of very important people we will get to in the next post. ➡️
Part 3: OUR NEW HOME.
So, why has it taken so long to tell you about this? We've had a lot going on, to say the least. Guitar factories shut down during COVID, giving us no supply of inventory. People were buying (yay!) but not selling (😭 for a guitar store that needs new inventory). We had our best month ever in July (woo!) followed by our worst month ever in August (😭😭😭). We have been blessed to still be in business through this COVID shenanigans, but it hasn't been a cake walk, thats for sure.
I'm incredibly proud to say that we never missed a day of payroll - had not a single pay cut - and everyone even got a Christmas bonus (Clark Griswold would be proud). 🎄
I'm not a fan of wearing my faith on my sleeve, but I just gotta say: This year was a lesson in God's timing, God's grace, and God's blessing over my life. Thank you Lord for your protection and direction on this business ever since I started at 16 years old. Its incredible how the existence of this business has positively influenced so many peoples lives.
So, without further ado, and after totally crying at least twice while writing this, I want to thank all the people that made this year happen. Quite literally if it wasn't for you, Ish Guitars would probably be out of business right now: My parents, Dan and Ann Wilson. My brother Tim. My dedicated team Amar Anthony, Tom McCormick, Scott Warner, Jay Lock, Anthony Saturno, and Joelynn Avery. And a fist full of mentors, close friends, and supporters who have uplifted me along the way - you know who you are.
Lastly, Mr/Mrs customer who is reading this: THANK. YOU. When you buy stuff from us, it goes to a small team of 20-somethings who are trying to run the best guitar store in the world, live a life with an enjoyable career, start families, and find some way to pay off that no-actual-career-exists-in-this-major student debt that we were encouraged to get by our highschool guidance counselors.
To all those listed above: Ish Guitars is now in the best home of its existence, thanks to you.
From the deepest part of my emotional heart, thank you ❤️