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Rethinking The Store: Clodius & Co. Month 5: Turbulence

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Since the beginning of the year, INSTORE has been following the trials of Mark and Monika Clodius during the expansion of their Rockford, IL, store Clodius & Co. Delays in architectural drawings, wrangles with building permits, a bathroom catastrophe on the homefront and the daily business of running the store have amounted to a stressful situation and may postpone their September completion goal. Mark and Monika took time away from their trip to the JCK show in Las Vegas to sit down and discuss what fresh hell the month of May hath wrought.

WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS: If you were adding on to your store, wouldn’t you think foremost in your mind would be? How large should that window be? You likely wouldn’t be thinking, ?Where’s the sidewalk end? A sort of metaphor for the project with no end yet in sight, the city is telling Mark and Monika Clodius they must extend a sidewalk on their property, and across their neighbor’s property, so it joins with the city’s sidewalk system as a whole … otherwise, they won’t get permits to double the size of their store.It strikes us as something that doesn’t seem fair, Mark said. He’s not sure what the neighbor has to say about getting a sidewalk, because so far no one has been able to contact the corporation listed as owner.$5,000 to $8,000 (to build the store property’s sidewalk) is turning into $20,000 or $40,000, Monika said. 

DEVILISH DETAILS: Final permits wouldn’t have come even if it weren’t for the sidewalk issue, it seems. The parking stripes on the architect’s drawings were backwards: They zigged when they should have zagged, apparently. It’s the little tiny stuff, Mark said, shaking his head. 

BUDGET BALLON: But it’s not only the tiny little stuff. The sidewalk may bump their $500,000 budget by 8 percent, but how about that latest quote from the contractor? Oh! Mark said, We didn’t mention that? Turns out the addition’s going to cost $200,000 more than they’d originally expected. Unflappable, Monika had this to say: Mentally, we had a different type of number in mind …. Despite the leap, Mark is optimistic and determined: Sales are up 44 percent for the year, another local retailer went out of business, they can afford the higher loan payments, and the bank is behind them.That’s a very good feeling, he said. It makes me feel secure in this turbulent time. 

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DISTRACTION: Adding to their sense of well-being The Home Depot called, and their bathtub came in. Remember the disaster at home? In April, a pipe burst, necessitating a total re-do of their downstairs bathroom. That project’s on schedule, at least.  

TO-DO LIST FOR JUNE: Mark will look into carpeting and lighting; Monika the rest of the interior colors and materials. Temporary storage units awaited their return from Las Vegas, whereupon they would clean out their offices in preparation for commencement of construction. Still, no groundbreaking date has been set. 

IN SUM: Going ahead with the project even with the 40 percent budget increase, we won’t be in a position two years from now saying we wish we would have done it this way or that way, Mark said, to which Monika added: I’d much rather go through this process just once.

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