Closing our brick-and-mortar shop during a global pandemic generates a new found perspective.
None of us could have imagined our current predicament. Merely a month ago, we were carrying on with business as usual - the same organized chaos we had become accustomed to. Deliveries arriving daily, spring displays being worked in throughout the shop, new designs being thought up and jotted down, and a sense of purpose as we excitedly headed into our busy season once again.
After Christmas, things tend to get pretty quiet in the shop and downtown in general, but when temps hit the upper 40s to 50s in March, we all get that familiar spring itch that is undeniable to any Wisconsinite who has endured the most recent winter. We were prepping the shops with the usual spring fever until everything came to a sudden, unexpected halt as it did for everyone else around the globe.
From that point, well, you know the story and have your own version as well. We have had our doors closed for a little over a month now, and sometimes that feels like longer, while other times it feels like just yesterday we were hesitantly taping a sign on our front door explaining the closure. The current ordered Safer-At-Home time seems to pass at an ironic crawling rate that goes by in the blink of an eye.
We head into the shop several times a week, just to check in on things, as we manage the small businesses surrounding Drift as well. The block is typically quiet. Of course there's plenty of street parking which is unheard of to anyone in an ordinarily bustling downtown. We leave the lights off as we walk through the space. There's no music playing or distant chatter to be heard. We got pretty used to always having people in the shop, including our staff of amazing young ladies that all feel like one of the sisters. I always get this kind of eerie feeling without anyone else in there. I now realize how spoiled we were to have people passing through on the daily and the small interactions that didn't seem like much at the moment!
Taking this time to reflect on how things were, really highlights how much of a privilege it is to curate and work in an environment with items we love and feel tell a story relatable to La Crosse & Wisconsin & the Midwest, all while listening to music we like to sing along to. Even just the ability to display creativity on a daily basis is something that gets overlooked as time goes on. Drift is kind of like the physical manifestation of the sense of pride we feel living in La Crosse - nestled between bluffs, valleys, trails, and rivers, while also being surrounded by a wonderful community. We are truly lucky to live in a place like La Crosse.
The current state can feel stressful at times - anxious, uneasy, difficult and fearful. Because as humans, we tend to fear what we don't know and right now there are a lot of unknowns. However, there are a lot of things to be grateful for and eventually things will return to the way they once were. Maybe not exactly, but that's not always a bad thing either. Hopefully after having experienced all of this, we will have a shifted perspective on our everyday life and on how precious life is in general. Hopefully you’ve been able to use some of this time to breathe a little more slowly, to explore nature in a way you couldn’t before, and to stay connected with your family and friends (even at a distance). We have a ways to go yet, but there’s still a silver lining of where we are - the Robins are back and frolicking around the neighborhood yards, the buds on the trees are getting a little bigger and a lot greener each day and the sun is setting a touch later into the evenings. We hope you’re all happy, healthy and safe and can’t wait to see you in the future.
We just always have to remember...