October 16, 2020
We have some news that it is time to share: We have closed our shop at Krog Street Market. It was a stressful and costly decision and one that was not made lightly. I spent many sleepless nights in deliberation and looped through many different brainstorms on how to get back open and keep it going. But at the end of the day, there was no good scenario for us reopening that didn’t involve immense struggle, which was simply too much on top of the struggle that 2020 has already been. Plus, our lease is up soon and without a crystal ball, signing a new one wasn’t on the table for us. Years ago, I received my single most helpful piece of business advice that I’ve referred back to when I’m at a crossroads many times over the years: Do the next right thing.** Sadly, this was the next right thing for us at this time.
I’m so grateful for our years at Krog. Our shop opened with the market in November of 2014 and it quickly exceeded my expectations, which is very rare. KSM was the first food hall to open in Atlanta, just as the much anticipated Beltline was getting its legs and all of the original tenants enjoyed the energy of being part of something new and super cool. My husband and I designed and built almost every piece of furniture in that store, truly infusing our handmade ethos into every nook and cranny of the shop's 400 square feet. (You can now find most of that furniture at Feather nail salon down the street from our retail store in Avondale :) Mama grew by leaps and bounds in those first couple of years in ways I had never expected and it was absolutely thrilling. It also legitimized us as an Atlanta brand (by way of California) and perhaps most importantly, introduced me to other small business owners who became friends and business confidantes, which every entrepreneur will tell you is invaluable. Krog also came with a lot of challenges and this year brought all of these challenges to a head. Trying to successfully operate a retail business in a food hall during a pandemic was the proverbial straw the broke the camel’s back.
The craziest thing about all of this is that 2020 started off with a bang. Business was the best it has been and we were in the process of negotiating a lease for our 3rd store on the Westside, with plans to open right around now. I had been trying to get a 3rd store off the ground for 3+ years, with many delays and setbacks in the process. The stars had finally aligned and all of the exciting ideas for our new space that I had been dreaming up were finally going to see the light of day. But now, quite unexpectedly, we’re down to one store and all of our growth plans are on pause indefinitely. Our story is one like so many others who have been set on a completely different path by this challenging year. It definitely was not the journey I had planned for but I do accept that this is the journey we are on and I have made peace with it.
Truth be told, my spirit knew it was time to close the Krog shop before my ego did. But I was so worried. What will this say about me, about my business? Will people think the business is in trouble, that I failed? But then I ruminated on some concepts that have been repeating themselves in my herbal studies over the past few years that have really shifted my perspective on a lot of things I once held true. Our current culture doesn’t encourage us to take a beat or stop for a breath because bigger is better and faster is best. As a result, in my mind, my brand could only be perceived as legitimate and successful if we keep growing, keep proving. I’ve been on that thought train for years. But I decided to shift gears and take a pause to examine the lessons this messy year has offered. I’m taking that beat and a lot of deep breaths and I’m trying to go with the flow. So we are taking a step back and we plan to stay here for a bit. That feels right for the business right now and especially right for me.
In March, when everything shut down, I decided not to take out a loan to keep my business afloat. I have been at this for almost 20 years in some form or another. I have infused so so so much blood, sweat, tears and money into getting the business where it is (with the help of many dedicated and amazing women along the way as well as my supportive and patient husband; being the spouse of an entrepreneur is not a steady ride) and I decided that for where I am in my life, it didn’t make sense to go into debt and have to climb that ladder all over again. I came to the realization that if the community wanted us to be here, needed us to be here, they would show up for us and help us stay afloat. I am so happy to report that we are afloat and going strong because of our community. Our Avondale shop and online store continue to thrive because you have showed up for us again and again and again.
There is no rest for the weary and we are busily gearing up for the holidays (Christmas is in 71 days! Yikes.) We will be in touch soon with our Awesome Holiday Ordering Plan™ to help gift giving flow smoothly despite all of the supply chain and shipping challenges this year continues to bring. And I think we all can agree that we each deserve something wonderful if we make it though Election Day. We have also just signed on with a delivery service that is about to launch, so soon you’ll be able to get our products delivered the same day all over Atlanta if you don’t feel like leaving your house. I’ll be in touch with more about that when it is up and running!
I hope you are all staying safe and well!
With love and immense gratitude,
**This was long before Frozen 2, but I'm glad today's kiddos are getting the same good advice!