Great news! Construction is underway at the new west end main shop.
1. What is the exact address of the main shop? Yet to be disclosed. Please sit tight! Perhaps read a good book? Or enjoy a tasty meal at an Italian restaurant? or, specifically, a little Italy-an restaurant?? Hmm???
2. Why the secrecy? We are nervous people! Lots can/could/already has gone wrong. We don’t want anyone catching us with our metaphorical pants down. I don’t think anyone wants that. There’s a lot that goes into making a sausage.
3. When are you opening? Unknown – first week-ish of May. We’re out of our Leslieville shop by the end of April, and we’re hoping to take the first few days or week to set up and get ready to go. We are tentatively hoping to have our grand opening Saturday, May 5th, but stay caught up with us for a soft opening earlier that week for a sneak peek and maybe a few deals.
4. When is your last day in Leslieville? Saturday, April 28th.
5. Are you going to be having any sales? We may! Who knows! Stay tuned. More announcements and details on our celebrations of three wonderful, beautiful years here.
6. What’s going on with the east end studio? WHO KNOWS. We continue onward in our slog through permits and zoning. At this point, your guess is as good as mine. Mine is approximately mid-summer, and that’s based on absolutely zero actual knowledge.
7. What’s the difference between the west end main shop and the east end studio shop? You mean, other than the fact that one has an actual timeline to open? The west end main shop will be everything you already know (and love?) about our Leslieville shop. With our warehouse in the back, it will have the bulk of our stock and receive most shipments. You’ll be able to browse our full lines of ink and pens and try out nibs and attend calligraphy classes and more. In our new east end studio shop, with extremely limited space, we’ll only have a curated selection of pens and inks and supplies. In our east end studio shop, we may have occasional new products or lines that we’re testing, photographing or getting feedback on.
6. Where will Chicken be? Chicken will be at the east end studio shop.
So we’re off! Walls are coming down! Water-damaged plaster is being scraped off! Lights and wiring are hanging down somewhat dangerously!
When Jon first looked at the space, and then brought me to take a look, it was difficult to envision how the space was going to look. The space had been split up into different units and rooms, connected to other spaces in the building, and drop ceilings had been put in, covering different things and lowering the ceiling significantly.
There’s still a lot to be done over the next few weeks, on the outside facade, plumbing and electrical, installing lights, paint, flooring, cleaning it all up, and that’s all before we even begin to consider the move, with the big metal shelving and packing tables, and all of the shop furniture and stock. Jon and sometimes I have been traversing the city to pick up lighting or supplies or to meet with someone. A friend of ours recommended getting in some commercial painters to do the painting for us, it’s a great idea but we’ll see how we get on! Someone is currently using the front of our new shop to store their barrels of used cooking oil, so some lucky Joe (or Jon) is going to have to take care of that, too.
Jon and his contractor/therapist/life coach.
My favourite thing about this space is that although the ceilings are actually fairly high at the front of the shop, it really opens up as you walk towards the back, because there’s this huge skylight. The skylight had originally been covered with this frosted plastic sheeting that you couldn’t see through, so opening it up was nerve-wracking: what would be unveiled? broken glass? garbage? dead animals??
Of the many surprises we’ve had since undertaking the renovations of the two shops, the tented framing of this massive skylight has been absolutely one of the most delightful. Things may truly work out for us. On one side of the skylight, our contractor opened up part of the ceiling and discovered an area over which he’s going he’s going to build a ledge, which is perfect for plants. Can you just imagine a few vines snaking over the grate?
One of the very few advantages (advantage? is that really the right word here?) of having an extremely limited budget in this very expensive city of skyrocketing rents is that you’re forced to look at unconventional places, and use a little bit of your imagination. It’s hard to picture exactly how things are going to go when walls are up, and ceilings are so low that you have to stoop through tunneled areas to get to other walled off rooms with water damage coming from the ceiling. But then you take down some walls, take off some dusty, cobwebbed plastic sheeting from the ceiling, and look at what you find.