(My race report for the PCT 50 is almost done and it's coming soon.. I promise!)
Sunday night was the final day my record store was open, and over the past month since we announced that we were closing we have been overwhelmed by the amount of love our customers/friends have for us. The store has been constantly busy and everyone has stopped by to tell us how much we meant to them. It's been very gratifying to hear that we will be missed and how much we figured into peoples lives. I wasn't sure how the last day was going to go, but I was certain that I was going to be a crying, sobbing mess. We planned a private party after we closed for some of our customers that truly kept us in business over the 6 years we were open... the type of customers that were in weekly and spent half their paychecks with us. My friend Cat even came up from Texas for the last day... she had been there for the very first day so she decided that she had to be around for the last also. We invited some of the kids who had grown up in the store.. they went from riding their bikes over to browse the racks to being able to drink with us in the time we were open. I was looking forward to drinking some beer with some really good people to end things on a happy note.
The official store closing time was 6pm, and then the party was scheduled to start at 6:30, but sometimes the universe takes the best laid plans and turns them upside down. At 5:30 we still had a good 30 people in the store, grabbing the last minute deals. At 5:50, there was a huge explosion and all the power went out... a second later the lights flickered and went back on for a split second and then another huge explosion and power was back off again. People were screaming and hitting the floor.... it was a bit unnerving to look outside and see huge showers of sparks raining from all the power poles up and down the street. It was apparent after a few minutes that it was going to be awhile until things went back on... unfortunately, no power meant no computer, no lights, no a/c, and most importantly for us.. no credit card machine! We could do paper receipts and use cell phone calculators but the no credit card thing was NOT good.
Everyone was awesome and just said they'd run to the closest ATM... but since a couple mile radius was affected by the outage, the closest ATM was a good 4 miles away. We swung into action hand writing receipts and Cat was the cell phone calculator wizard... it was pretty damn stressful and with no a/c it was getting pretty darn hot too! Meanwhile, because it was taking so long for everyone to find ATM's and us to write up sales, our party folks were arriving and adding to the confusion. We explained the situation to a few people and asked them to keep the party folks outside until we could get the "regular" customers taken care of and out the door. As soon as the last customer was out the door, the beer cooler came out of the back room and I broke into one.... we all needed it! The original plan was to order pizzas from next door and luckily for us, the ovens are gas and they agreed to make us up a bunch of 'za by flashlight before they closed.... they couldn't even ring us up!
Thankfully everyone took the problem in stride and had a great time hanging out, drinking much beer and shopping by flashlight.... a few of our emergency battery backup lights were on for a few hours but soon even they went out. It was great to spend some time thanking some wonderful people for all they did for us over the years. And because of the chaos and stress of the evening, I didn't even cry as much as I thought I would!! We kept trying to bribe the guys fixing the power by offering beer and pizza, but they were having some major problems. By the end of the evening there was 4 trucks of guys working on the power and they were yelling and fighting amongst themselves. Yikes! When it got fully dark, the party broke up and most everyone took off.. a few of us hung out and talked by candlelight until 11:30 but finally it was time to go. Thankfully the wonderful husband was driving because as soon as I got into the car, I started crying and didn't stop until we got home 20 minutes later. The store had a great run and I'm not sorry we're choosing to close it, but I will truly miss seeing some wonderful people on a weekly/daily basis. It was time to go.. and the universe helped us "burn out" instead of fading away on Sunday.