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Rethinking The Store: Clodius & Co. Month 10: Ups, Downs

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Well, it was a case of over-optimism. In September, the end was in sight, and in October, Mark and Monika Clodius were knocking on wood that the yearlong expansion of their Rockford, IL, store would be complete within weeks of their target date. Despite all that wood-knocking ? and hammering, sawing and painting ? the vision of an end has blurred a bit. Since the beginning of the year, the couple has weathered personal strife, business headaches, bureaucratic nightmares, contractor miscommunication you name it. Can the end they thought was once in sight really be that far off?

THE DANCE FLOOR: Instead of a grand-opening celebration to mark the newly doubled sales floor during the first week of December, Mark and Monika were preparing for an open house, for customers to admire their, um, dancefloor? At our party, we’ve got enough room to dance, says Mark, squinting for a silver lining. The cases that are to fill this great new space? They’ll all be ready by January, their cabinetmaker assures them. Not a moment later. Certainly, the Clodiuses don’t have to tell you what that means to their holiday season business plans. On one hand, they saved as much as $100,000 by going with a local cabinetmaker. And on the other hand, they’ll never know exactly how much in lost sales the delay will cost them. 

INVENTORY: The upside: We have all this beautiful new jewelry that’s filling up the new safe, Mark says. The downside: We don’t have any place to put it.  

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FLOOR TILE: The upside: Tile went down in the entrance one evening so that it didn’t interrupt business or construction. The downside: It was laid unevenly, and the tile guy has to return to redo it. 

LANDSCAPING: The upside: Most of it is done, and it gives color and softens the geometric black-and-white façade. The downside: The crew had almost all the boulders in place before Monika arrived to let them know they were the wrong shape. 

PAINTING: The upside: Eleven colors now adorn the walls of the addition, from greens to burgundy and mustard yellow to purple. It sounds overwhelming, Monika says, ?but when you see it all, the areas are all visually connected. The downside: The fumes from the paint made Monika so ill, she had to go home. I was joking with the contractors that they’re trying to poison me. 

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THE SIDEWALK: The upside: Mark saw someone walking on the $20,000 sidewalk the city made the Clodiuses pour in front of the store. The downside: It’s a $20,000 sidewalk. 

OVERALL: The upside: We are going to have a grand opening, Monika says, determined. The downside: What are we going to talk about when this is over and done with?

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