Wow! What a whirlwind…
When you’ve had an idea in your head since 2005 that you can see in your mind’s eye, and then you find yourself standing in front of it to take a picture right after the sign is installed on the front of the building… it feels more than a little surreal. After all, it’s the sign that makes it real, right?
It’s funny how things feel when something that didn’t exist 2 months ago all the sudden exists. Not that it’s really all of a sudden; years of thought and two solid months of 14-hour days is what it took to launch the first Unguentarii store.
We had a great soft opening on Saturday, February 3, 2018, and it was very nice to meet so many new people from the local community.
But, this post is really about giving recognition and thanking all of the people who helped make this project, and our opening day, a success.
First of all, many thanks are owed to Tim McCarthy and the Business of Good, and Eric Diamond, David Miller, and David Hickey of the NEO Fund, along with their underwriter, advisors and board members. Without their tireless community effort, support and help, this project would not have had the funding at the time and manner in which it did, and I’d likely not be writing this post right now.
A special thanks is owed to Tony Cantagallo for being supportive of my vision for the UNGUENTARII brand and store in the downtown area, and for making me the perfect offer that I never had to ask for.
A thanks to Suzy Kist for making my introduction to the NEO Fund and to Tommy Norman, of Tradesworthy & Noble Inc. in Geneva, for helping me with some of the interior work that needed to be done.
Larry Fargo, of Fargo Machine, fabricated and installed the lettering for the storefront. He did an amazing job and I am very grateful for all of his help. In fact, it is due to Larry’s help that the store was able to open 3 months ahead of schedule. I did not want to open until the brand name was on the storefront, and it was too cold to paint directly on the marquis… So Larry fabricated the lettering template and the bas relief letters. He’s like Ashtabula’s MacGyver. Larry can make just about anything.
With the way everything accelerated, by the time we knew when we could actually get the store finished, we really only had a week to get the word out about the opening itself. That was an entire community effort, and many thanks are due for that as well as to those who helped on opening day.
- The ADDA (Ashtabula Downtown Development Association), Larry Fargo (yes, same Larry), and others in the ADDA were instrumental in spreading awareness of the opening online through Facebook and their association members.
- Lori Johnston and Wendy DuBey of the Greater Ashtabula Chamber of Commerce helped get the word out through the chamber’s newsletter at very short notice.
- Eric Diamond of the NEO Fund did Facebook posts and sent out email broadcasts to all those involved with the NEO Fund organization and classes.
- Others I know put out strongly supportive posts on their business and personal Facebook pages, namely Jane Haines of Ultimate Appearance Salon and Amber Thompson of AmbryaNell Studio. If there are others I am not aware of, please accept my apologies for the omission.
- Jo Misener, acting President of the ADDA, contributed sandwiches, yummy snacks, and all manner of Valentine’s Day treats.
- Luanne Serpico graciously contributed very tasty punch and the use of the most beautiful punchbowl.
- My father, Dave Thompson, who made many, MANY trips to local stores to get me all manner of things I needed so I didn’t have to stop working, and was a very good sport about it.
- My cousin Amber Thompson who painted all of the hearts used in the Valentine’s display that Larry Fargo cut out for the holiday theme windows.
I took an evening photo so that the mixed media hearts that Amber painted could be seen more clearly, though it is still hard to see the detail and texture of the work in the photo.
Amber is quite talented and teaches classes. If you are local she’s a great art teacher.
Plus, she’s a good sport because Larry is working on laser cutting a large number of shamrocks that need to be painted for the St. Patrick’s Day windows!
…and after that there are eggs… and maybe bunnies. 🙂
So… if you are in the local area, please stop by the UNGUENTARII store in downtown Ashtabula. You will find a wide array of all-natural and organic fine aromatic products including organic soaps, bath bombs, bodywash, shampoos, conditioners, organic massage oils, salt scrubs, sugar scrubs, facial cleanser, unscented organic products, and more to come!