We get asked this all the time. Why do you call your business College Street Creations?
Pretty simple- that is where we started. In our basement on College Street. But we’ve grown and learned so much up to now. I can’t wait to see where the next 7 years takes us.
Let’s start at the beginning, in early 2015 I took a voluntary layoff for the winter from bartending at Poopy’s. That is where Kelly and I met while working together. Fast forward to today- we both work at our store full time.
But back then I was already selling the crafty and crochet things I made as a side hustle and setting up at craft shows. Kelly told me he knew how to read a tape measure and the rest is history. Our first product that we made besides my crocheted items and wreaths was a blanket ladder. Much like the 6 foot ones we make today- we would SPRAY PAINT them in our basement. Talk about live and learn.
So we are crafting and creating stuff in the basement of our house. On Mother’s Day 2015 someone came to our house looking for a last minute gift. I was home alone enjoying a nice quiet day alone. What mom doesn't want that on Mother’s day?
Later that day when Kelly got home from work (he worked overtime at his factory job that day), I told him about the customer stopping and we joked about getting a storefront because we had outgrown our basement. We were storing lumber outside our basement door and really needed more room.
As we began our search- we wanted to stay in Mount Carroll, obviously that is where we live, but couldn't find a place to rent and could afford. Most places wanted us to sign a long term lease. I considered us a new business and we still had a family to support.
Obviously we ended up at 407 Main St in Savanna. College Street Creations opened its doors for business June 5, 2015 during Savanna’s First Friday. Kelly and I still have the paperwork for our first lease among the little treasures we keep. It will forever remind us of the joke that we made when we signed the lease. “Well in 1 year when we fall on our face at least we can say we tried”. Almost 7 years later we are still in business.
The very first paint party we hosted was in August 2015 and was taught by Laura Readdy who owns Inspired Painting Parties with Laura. She taught quite a few parties for us while Kelly and I both worked our full time jobs.
October 17, 2015 Kelly and I got married at the Palisades State Park. Still one of my most favorite days ever.
Christmas 2015 I think was when it really started to sink in with us that actually had accomplished what we had set out to do, open a fun crafty store. I managed to go part-time bartending right around this time as well.
I started teaching our workshops in 2016. Workshops are my FAVORITE part of our business. Something about taking nothing and turning it into a pretty piece of decor or a gift. In 2016 farmhouse benches, noodle boards, plant stand holders and farmhouse furniture in general kept us busy. We learned quite a bit too. Buying local vs big box stores, even different kinds of paint and stains to use.
We kept working, growing, learning, painting, building and having fun through 2018. End of 2018 we found a building to rent in Mt. Carroll, 5 blocks from home. We closed our shop in Savanna on Dec 23, 2018 and reopened January 2, 2019 at 104 W Market st. Mt. Carroll. Kelly and I moved the shop in 7 days. That seems like a lifetime ago already. We were so excited about being closer to home and back in my hometown. We had a grand reopening on January 12. It ended up snowing several inches that day and we still had a line out the door of people coming to check out the “new” shop. The chamber came down and did a ribbon cutting. We made the front page of the local paper and have several copies of it framed. One hangs at home and one hangs at the shop.
2019- life before covid. Anyone else get emotional thinking about things that used to be normal- like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake or a Christmas concert? We also were introduced to Rethunk Junk paint and became an authorized reseller. George 1,2,3, and 4 also joined our crafty family. George Burns is the name of our Glowforge lasers that we have in our basement at home.
2020- March- Covid arrived. I remember shaking and crying when we locked the front door on the shop to start the 2 weeks to flatten the curve. We started offering contactless pickups, DIY kits, and trying to navigate all the other unknown and what if’s. One of the better things to come out of this year was our Etsy store. It really took off and in less than a year we had shipped to all 50 states. Now here we are in 2022, and excited to see where the next 7 years takes us. What other trends will come along and new friends we will meet? This year our goal is to learn to balance work and life a little bit better as well as take better care of ourselves.
7 years, in June it will be 7 years that we have been in business. Pinch me because I still can’t believe that this is what we get to do for a living. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for helping in the success of our family owned business, Thank you for putting food on our tables, and letting us be a part of your lives. Cheers to 7 years behind us and hopefully many more ahead of us.