This past weekend was a blur of activity for our Modern Studio soft opening — between 25 chairs being delivered, ADT and Comcast being installed, fear of low attendance to Saturday’s show, plus a myriad of other small issues, our team was hustling. Everyone was scrambling to get things done while trying to temper our nerves for our opening, fingers and toes crossed that our first event would be a success.
In the midst of all the commotion, I received the following message through our Facebook page:
“My granddaddy was the owner of Colonial Cleaners in Happy Hollar for 60+ years. He passed away 2 years ago, only retired the business 3 years ago. We are thrilled you all are making this venue come alive! His wife is still living and would love to see what you’ve done. […] He was considered the mayor of Happy Holler, and took care of the guys at Golden Gloves that trained nearby, many of whom couldn’t read or write. The counter became their ministry. My grandparents had a dream that life would return to Happy Holler.”
When you start a business, anything and everything can go wrong, and most likely will. When I received that message from Wendy, there were still places on the walls that needed to be repainted, we’d only sold 15 tickets for the show, and we were all in a frenetic tizzy. But the instant I read her note I knew that what we were doing would, in that particular space, bring joy to the community — that the universe was smiling on our project.
I invited Wendy and her family to attend our show that night to see for themselves all the work that had been done on the space. She met our realtor, Joe Fox, and it was during this visit that I learned they have a daughter with a disability. She had read about my other project, Work Matters, and knew we needed to meet.
As it turns out, we had close to 100 people come out on Saturday for our first live music show. We ran out of seats within 30 minutes, could barely keep track of the traffic in and out of the building, and continued to sell tickets well into the evening. In small business terms, we rocked it. For a soft opening, things went as well as they could have and we were all thrilled, and a bit shocked, at how successful the night turned out.
As their family was leaving, Wendy gave me the biggest hug I’ve ever had in my entire life, and told me that everything would be a great success. We agreed to chat soon about helping them navigate the disability employment maze, and their entire family gave their blessing on Modern Studio. To a small business owner, embarking on admittedly the largest projects of her life, this moment suddenly tied our mission into good work of the past. I knew, in that moment, that we were on to something.