As you know community is our word for the year and I have been asking God to continue to show me the ways we are expand our Shoppe 561 community.
The week started off with a visit from our local fire station. When I tell you they filled the shoppe they really filled the shoppe. Not that there were that many of them but my sense is when you get a group of men whose courage and bravery is off the chart it just fills the room. Thankfully the mission they set out on was accomplished.
When I found out the guys were from the station that watches over where I live and the shoppe, it was like a no brainer – the fire station is a part of "our" community. My love language is gifts (should have clicked in earlier another reason why I would own a gift shoppe) so of course it meant showing our appreciation would include some gifts. It was fun packing up goodies to take over to thank them for supporting us, letting them know they are appreciated and that we are glad they are a part of our community. I had to leave the boxes at the station, as they were not there when I dropped off. Later in the day as they were coming back from a call they drove by the shoppe and put their siren on for a second – the girls cheered and there were smiles all around in the shoppe - gifts received. We committed to pray for them and every time we hear the sirens and watch them go by we are reminded they are our community. We are thankful for their willingness to put their lives on the line for us each day.
The rest of the week was full of so much joy helping people find the perfect gifts and stocking stuffers. People finding the shoppe for the first time were so happy and excited to find us. Customers coming to the shoppe where they knew there would be a sense of calm amidst the flurry of shopping as they were over the stress created at many of the big box shops.
When I was making the schedule it is apparent I didn’t get the memo that Saturday night between 5 pm – 7 pm (which is always quiet) was going to be a big rush. All I can say is the customers were gracious and kind while they patiently waited to be checked out and have their items wrapped. I loved the moment I was capturing an email address that told me the person went to Syracuse University and I said “that’s where I am from” and the customer behind him started talking about how the basket ball team had faired during their game that day and then said her four kids had gone to school there as well. That moment was a perfect picture of community. Three people who seemingly had nothing in common other than the shoppe suddenly discovered we have common ground with SU. When the mom of the 4 SU grads got to the register she asked if I could wrap it up and bring it over to her at dinner as she had been gone from the dinner table for a while due to the wait. What a delight it was to wrap her gifts up and hand deliver next door. That is the beauty of being community, we see beyond the transaction and see the person.
At the end of the night a customer was using a pen to write on her gift tags and said she loved it so I said, “it’s yours”. We laughed and I told her it really was her pen now. She was so happy; her smile was priceless.
Remembering again the reason for this season isn’t about the gifts and creating the pinterest perfect Christmas; it really is about love and community and celebrating the fact that we have HOPE.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas on behalf of Brooke, Chloe and Sarah. We are delighted to be a part of your community.