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Rethinking the Store: Clodius & Co.: Month 12: Done. Almost

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It’s almost official: The construction project to roughly double the size of Clodius & Co. in Rockford, IL, is done, even if it may not be quite finished. Owners Mark and Monika Clodius have plumbed the depths of frustration since the expansion began early last year. The project was late, over budget and full of the travails common to any construction project. But at the same time, the Clodiuses faced even bigger challenges in their personal lives. On top of that, the store was open for business but never has it been business as usual with the construction crews on site. INSTORE has documented their progress along the way and will return to their store to show the final results in the next few months. 
 
POSTPONED: Hopes for a grand opening in September long ago dashed, Mark and Monika are looking to February or March for an official celebration of completion. We realized we were unable to hold a grand opening before the holidays, Mark says. (Casework, carpeting and glass delays were among the holdups.) So we had our annual open house scheduled for Dec. 7. 
 
UNEXPECTED GUESTS: On the eve of the open house, the store was cleaned up and decorated for the holidays, when who should appear? The cabinetmaker and glass installer, of course. While a welcome sight, the timing of their arrival was typical of the headaches Mark and Monika have endured over the months.  
 
MISALIGNED: Adding to the clatter, dust and commotion, the glass was too large in some cases and had to be ground to fit on site. We were just getting news that the glass doesn’t fit, Mark says, and then they’re telling us, Hey, these cases don’t line up!’ It took a bit of head scratching, but they determined a change from the plan of the main store window created a 30-inch difference in the cases. The contractor sent a dozen men, and the cases were all moved, leaving a 3-foot gap, which Monika filled temporarily with a potted bamboo plant. 
 
WITHOUT A HITCH: Perhaps as a sort of karmic reward for all their troubles, not only did their open house go over without a hitch, the Clodiuses set records for sales during a holiday season. The biggest things are that we had a good Christmas, that we got enough cases in to put out the new jewelry and that people are going to like it and buy it, Mark says. At the open house, people actually oohed and ahhed at the new space, Monika says. The space is large enough about 4,000 square feet that at times Monika thought business seemed slow, but then she realized her perception was a bit skewed and that customers were spread throughout the store. 
 
THE PAYOFF: Aside from having their best holiday season and making their largest single sale ever an 11.04-carat diamond Mark and Monika are beginning to feel a personal payoff. We’re in awe, Monika says. It’s slowly starting to filter in, everything that’s happened. People don’t see the flaws as we see them. They’re kind of in awe, and it all kind of sinks in and makes it worthwhile. The new store seems to be well launched even without a grand opening. That’s really what it was all about, just getting to this point.

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