Monthly Archives: September 2010

10 Little, 9 Little…Mice?

Ah, nothing like a line up of mice. As we prepare for the 3rd Annual Witches’ Tea I was opening boxes and discovered this year’s bevy of beautiful….mice. The mice had their own little Halloween Ditty for you:
1 little, 2 little, 3 little furry mice…4 little, 5 little, 6 little funny mice…7 little, 8 little, 9 little sparkly mice…10 little Halloween mice (for your decor)!

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Halloween Goodies – Yes! Embalming – No!!

Yep, It's An Original!

[/captions As we prepare for our 3rd Annual Witches’ Tea, it is time once again to tell the story of Jim. Long ago, this was the Untermeyer Building. Downstairs has gone from a general store, to a bar, to a plumbing supply and hardware to an antique store and now The Silver Barn. But, upstairs was the home to the Untermeyer funeral home. There is still a hand crank elevator where the bodies and the coffins were carried up. There is still a wooden frame where the cloth was draped over the casket so you couldn’t tell if they had shoes, or even pants on for that matter. The bodies were carried down the narrow wooden stairs and out into the street where families and friends would gather to take their loved one to their final resting place.

There was however, one pour soul who didn’t appear to have a home. He was found dead on the railroad tracks. Obviously on the losing end of a drunken assumption he could outdo the oncoming train. But for his belt with the branded “Jim” no one knew his name. He lay in state upstairs in our little building for several weeks as family after family would come to try to identify and claim this poor soul. Children would hold their daddies hand tightly as they were led up the stairs to view the stranger. Today those children, now in their 80’s still remember Jim.

As the years went by, Jim was all but forgotten. Folks who owned this building recounted stories of strange and bizarre happenings. The photographer upstairs for 16 years said she had all kinds of interesting things, but never could identify. When we prepared to open the store, things would shift, sometimes falling to the floor right in front of us. Some days we would find our cash drawer over by a dollar or two…sometimes under by the same. That might seem normal for a store to have that happen, but when you received no cash that day, it becomes harder to explain.

Then one day a woman remembered who she thought our ghost was. “It must by that Jim,” she decided. “I remember the whole town trying to figure out who the fellow was.” We elected our ghost to be Jim. We called him by name. We told him to watch over us. We asked him to stop making the cow sounds we’d hear from time to time. Jim has become somewhat quiet of late. We suspect it is because he has been remembered and even though his earthly figure is buried in an unmarked grave, he lives here with us for eternity. This month, if tradition follows suit, he’ll start being more active. He must love the holidays! He’ll spin the twirling ghosts a bit more, he’ll blow out the jack-o-lanterns when there is no breeze at all, he’ll roll the eyeball soaps around the floor – this year to the delight of Lenox, the store kitty.

We like Jim. We respect that this is his home and we are merely one of his visitors. We look forward to many years with Jim and hope he doesn’t tire of us. I’m not too sure I want to get on his bad side! Have a happy Halloween season and remember the ghouls around you!!

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Filed under Country Living, Gift shop, Gifts, holiday decorating, home decor, Items

And, They’re OFF!

There I was, unpacking loads of new goodies for the kids, box cutter in hand, paper on the floor all around….and then, a sound. It was “aah-hem” sort of thing. I turned and noticed all the little animals and their suitcases staring back at me. I was not alone. “Cow” was trying to talk to “Horse.” “Kitty” was smiling and waving at me. “Ballerina Bear” was trying to slip out of her straps to take to the floor, and everyone else was giggling…when I wasn’t watching.

No, I’m not insane. Yes, I’m probably considered more left brained than right. Yes, I hear conversations with all animals…living or stuffed. So, what is wrong with that? No, I have considered the fact I probably spend way too much time at the store!!

This is why I love what I do. I get to play with all the toys. Enjoy all the china. Relax with all the candles. What a life. Now, if you don’t mind, I have to get back to the kids. They are preparing a midnight race around the store and they need a checkered flag!

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When An Event Is More Than An Event

I love this time of year. In some parts of the country there is actually a crispness in the air…that would be in other places, not here. But, I do think this is a great time of year.

Part of why I love this time of year is how we kick off the season – starting with our 3rd Annual Witches’ Tea next Saturday. Our Witches’ Tea is more than a way to launch all our ghoulishly fun products, it is a memory in the making. It is creating a time when kids remember coming to their local store, decked out in their Halloween finest, decorating some sort of holiday project, and spending time with friends. A store like ours is the sort of place they will always remember, and wish their kids could experience.

All of those of us who are independent retailers it is our job to making shopping fun, like we remember when we were a kid. It is also part of what makes having a store so much fun. Helping create memories!

See you at the Witches’ Tea….bring your costume…we’ve got the punch and cookies!

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Supporting The Community…Any Way You Can!

Columbus Cardinal Booster Ornament

I have lived in all sorts of cities…Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Antonio. Now, I reside in the rural community of Columbus, Texas. Population 4,000 and change…Ya-Hoo. When some ask if I miss the big city environment, I say they are all pretty much the same. You claim your neighborhood and that is what you get to know. So actually, in Columbus I’m supporting a bigger neighborhood. The entire town! I am lucky enough to have opened The Silver Barn in a place where I get to know the folks. Get to see the babies turn into toddlers. Get to hug those who need a hug…sometimes that hug is needed by me. I get to help older customers try to find the right bridal gift – and in this town they get invited to hundreds of weddings a year it seems. Finding just the right gift can become a challenge. But, that is half the fun.

I also see my store as a great way to give back to our community. So, in 2009 we developed a holiday ornament that benefited an outstanding organization or group. It wouldn’t be a huge donation, but it would be a donation from a new source. Last year benefited the Columbus Christian Women’s Organization. An outstanding group that helps so many wonderful people in our area. They will get a check this November for $540. Shh, don’t tell them. They don’t know yet! For 2010, I’m proud to unveil our new ornament designed again by Kitty Keller Designs of Seguin, Texas…The Columbus Cardinal ornament benefiting the Columbus Booster Club.

It is a small thing to do for the community. But I’m sure every retailer out there agrees. Giving to the community is so rewarding in so many ways. We are all lucky to have great customers who love what we offer. I think I am lucky to be able to give a little something back every once in awhile.

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Thanks for Supporting The Silver Barn…love, Cyn & Lenox!!

Lenox at work

After Labor Day it seems the days become a blur as we race to Halloween, decorate for Fall, present Thanksgiving, unleash Christmas…and then, it is all over. Time to look forward to the next Labor Day and get ready to ride the roller coaster all over again. So, before it becomes all a distant memory, Lenox and I wanted to take a moment to say thanks. Thanks to our Twitter friends who support and encourage us every day. Thanks to our customers who come in, say hello, take Lenox for a walking tour of the store, and enjoy all our fun new finds. Thanks to our brides. Boy, did you make our first bridal year a year to remember. We love being a part of your home. Thanks to Denise, our UPS super star. Without you, package delivery just isn’t as much fun. Thanks to The Flower Garden, Calico Hens & Home Design Studio…our other local retailers. Retail is so much more fun with friendly competition and encouragement. Thanks to my husband, Bill. Anyone who ever visits our store knows how much he is there to support and make this all come together. Thanks to my daughter Cydney for opening her Velvet Frog apparel store in our store and adding to our success. Thanks to some of our favorite reps – Peg, Peggy, David, Jennifer & Pam. You guys are wonderful.

Retail is a wonderful thing, it is also a lonely endeavor at times – especially when you are balancing those bank statements and searching for the old MC deposit! But, when a customer comes in or calls and says we have the perfect item, I feel like I’m surrounded by thousands of great folks.

As for Lenox? I think she is just happy to be adored, have someone to play fetch with, have a spot in the front window and a willingness to try to keep our books balanced!

Tomorrow we start with all the new products we have in our store. Thanks for stopping, shopping and supporting daily. We’ll leave a light on for ya’!

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Ready for Fall? Yes, Indeed-y!

Texas’ interpretation of fall, is a quick gust of wind where all the leaves fall off the trees…this takes about an hour! In otherwords, fall is short here, and it doesn’t really arrive until Halloween, no matter what any weather-type says. Therefore, when we start to get the store ready for fall, it is more of a transition from summer colors to soothing fall colors. You note, I do NOT say warm colors of fall, that is hot upon hot around here. To welcome a season I much prefer, I made a little change at the front of the store to say…ah, welcome the-5-minute-seasonal change! A day below 100 is almost sweater weather!

Enjoy your fall whether it is 50 or 95! I plan to – although, I would enjoy it if my Chicago friends would send a little of that crisp, fall air to me FedEx so I could enjoy it a little longer.

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