On October 15, 2015, I unlocked the door at 280 School Street, unit D145 with 2-weeks to ready what I was told would be a holiday tee shirt pop-up store.
We would be here for 45-days pre-Christmas, fill an empty retail space and move on.
7.5 years later, we are finally doing that.
Last year, we shifted our production to a facility in Foxboro, 8 minutes down the road but it’s seemed miles away.
Defiantly, I stayed, the lone holdover, office-ing in the retail space. But as more and more of our business shifted online, reality was, we didn’t need a retail storefront.
It seems odd to have so many memories, but as the time closes on our retail store at Mansfield Crossing, I wanted to share a few.
I’m going to miss the gorgeous sunsets over LL Bean. Everyone I tell this to laughs at me, especially my kids; but when you’ve been in a spot for as long as this, you see things you otherwise wouldn’t see. LL Bean invested a lot in their facade and when the sun sets over top of it, it feels like you’re in Maine, just as you’re supposed to.
I smile thinking of those sunsets.
We’ve always allowed dogs in our store; My two beagles, Oliver and Arkie, were staples laying at the door, always finding a sliver of sun. Folks who walked in loved them, and they loved the attention. People always called them our greeters.
I smile thinking of our greeters.
Once we opened the location, we had to let people know we existed. The first gimmick we tried was an adult penguin costume. We named it Perry. Many folks took turns inside that costume, including my son, some junior associates and me, standing outside the store waiving people in. We weren’t afraid to try nonsense, and that surely qualified as such.
So did my playing a human mannequin for an hour, the time we held a ‘paint night’ with a live painter and of course, Santa Claus that attracted not 1 person.
And not to be forgotten, shoe boxes wrapped in headbands that I referred to as ‘the largest totem pole of headbands in the country’ to every customer who walked in.
I smile when I think of Perry and all the goofy, playful nonsense.
Through the years, we’ve had dozens of employees. As we moved, my most sentimental moment was reading the goodbye notes of those who left through the years. It's the people that make Ink'd special - especially our current team. Though, not all of them worked out, none less than “Dylan”. Famously in our world, he quit after an hour, stating: ‘I don’t do inventory.’
He walked out right after.
I smile when I think of all the people who’ve come before.
The foot traffic hasn’t been very busy since Covid, and most of our business has shifted to companies across the country that don’t care whether we have a store or not.
I’ve come to that reality months after my team.
But it doesn’t mean I won’t always think of the store and smile.