On May 16th 2005 we embarked on what was to be an unbelievable journey to a place that few will ever have the good fortune to experience, MudPie Home Boutique. It was a beautiful place filled with furnishings, accessories, lavish florals and personal items that made you feel like you were walking in a land of make believe. Never mind the pressures of life. They did not exist while strolling through this wonderland. Isn’t that what all those feel good signs told us? But how did this happen? We soon found out that this place was not this perfect just by accident! It was crafted by a staff of people that had design skills and an eye for detail that was only surpassed by their love, passion and take ownership attitude for this fairytale land and the kindness and care they gave everyone that came through the door. There was no better team anywhere to be found and we fell in love with and respected them. It was an ever changing place too! That’s why so many people liked to keep coming back. They loved to see what they had not seen before, visit with these visual magicians, get ideas and take home things “they just could not live without”. Yes, it was a busy, happy place. But, there was one special time in a year that everyone that knew this place just could not wait for and that was ” holiday”. How it happened in the blink of an eye is their secret, but we were fortunate to watch as every year this place transformed into a Christmas extravaganza that was beyond imagination and always different than before. People came from far away to see this annual spectacle and to leave awed while carrying bags stuffed with unique gifts and things that made their house a home for the holidays and the recipients giddy especially during gift exchanges. It truly was a special time for wide eyed moms and kids (yeah, a few dads) that exemplified the real meaning of Christmas and giving, and MudPie did it better than any place else. It was good and happy in MudPie land.
Then, in the distance, we saw some clouds that seemed to be heading our way. But we chose to think that it would not rain. The clouds got closer and the smiles and bright eyes that we came to know and see were replaced by eyes of sadness and fear. The people were not coming and we did not know why, but soon figured it out. The land had changed and confidence had waned. The clouds soon covered all of us and survival became the priority for everyone. Life as we all knew it got tough. Some help was needed to make sure our land remained. Creativity became of utmost importance to keep this a place of solace, finds and happy faces, and yes, we at MudPie met the challenge by offering incentives that had never been done before. Not only with putting these great things on sale which was unheard of in years past and a known taboo, but we pledged personal dollar subsidies in total that would make anyone cringe because we loved this place and would do anything for it. We were going to survive! We thought we would generate some renewed interest in our customer base by only wanting to break even on our sales. They still did not come. They lost jobs, homes, retirement, portfolios and thus home décor from MudPie land was just out of the question. We understood, we are consumers and customers too! Soon our store friends started asking “how are you doing?”, “are you going to make it during these difficult times?” and “I hope you can make it?” while asking about sale items and how much we can take off our already firm and fair prices. It made all of us sad. Did they really get it? Soon the clouds became even darker over the land and it became clear that a turnaround in the world, much less the land we loved and would do and did anything for, was not going to happen. Decisions had to be made and they were hard ones. But, finally after much angst it was decided to abandon MudPie land. We cried while hoping for a miracle but it did not come. Good homes were found for most of the treasures and the rest were sadly left and we cried. We parted ways with the most wonderful staff and friends that we had the good fortune to meet and work for and knew and that we would never again see most of the visitors that we had the privilege to know. Now we can only wish Godspeed to all. Know that decisions were made around this choice that did not embody the honesty and integrity that we embrace but survival was important as the consequences are serious. We offer sincere apologies to all that were affected in many different ways by this sad event. And, tearfully as we closed the door for the last time all walked away, I heard them say, “We tried, we really tried.” AND THEY DID!!
Pictures to follow