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Seedlings Faith Filled Journey

I remember that cold January day back in 2017 when I first stood in front of 1909 S. 2nd St. looking through those glass windows and doors onto a huge empty shop floor. I saw my breath fog up the glass and I was stomping my feet on the concrete. In front of me stood 4 columns in the center of the shop and carpet covered the space from wall to wall. I remember thinking two things, “This space is too big for what I need (at the time) and I would have to build even if I got into the building.” These thoughts were daunting considering, I had just unexpectedly lost my location where I started by business in 2015 at 25yrs old and was looking for a new location fast to insure I didn’t lose too many parents that were already registered. At this point I hadn’t even seen the entire 7,000 sq. foot location, but in my gut I knew there was something special about it and the possibilities it offered my growing business.

I left that day and continued the search, but came up empty handed. By February of 2017 I had gotten a reception job and had begun to resign myself to the fact that I was meant to work a job for awhile and let go of all I had built. Until I got a phone call from my friend Pam Kopkowski. Now to understand the levity of her call I need to provide some background on Pam. Pam is more than a friend to me I actually fondly call her my “Italian Nana,. She is a person that talks a mile a minute, has ideas pouring out of her and you can spot her outpouring of love in whatever project she put her hands on. She is a woman that helped me start Allen Grange Educational Center. She talked me into having her offer everything from sewing, cooking and science to coming up with the brainchild of creating our own costumes for all the performances at the studio. To think I told her “yes” to creating costumes when I was not even a really accomplished sewer is crazy, but a true credit to how persuasive, full of faith and love that is Pam. Back in September 2016, Pam had unexpectedly experienced a massive stroke, but miraculously had made a come back and was 6 months into her recovery when she called me out of the blue.

On that day I was watching one of my cousins basketball games and my phone rang. I answered and Pam asked how my search for a new home was going, I told her I had come up empty handed and was going to give up the search. I let her know I was happy with my job and felt that was where I needed to be at the moment. Pam was never good at taking no for an answer. Of course she had a solution on the spot and let me know her friend Jan and her husband were looking to lease the 1909 S. 2nd location, but want a person that could sublease the back part of the building. Pam gave me her phone number and told me to call her. At this point, I was uncharacteristically weary of the idea of sharing another space and negative. I told her I was not even sure if I should restart the school and that it is a lot of work for one person. She continued to push me to call her and just find out the details. I let it lay and never called Jan, but fate had other plans. The next day Jan called me and asked if we could meet that day. I met with her and basically told her I was unsure if I want to restart my business, but Jan shared Pams ability to not take no for an answer and somehow within two weeks I had signed a 2 year lease and began remodeling our 900sq foot back room. Those seeds of faith came through during this first stage as the new Skagit Seedlings: Growing in the Arts.

Fast Forward to winter 2019
As we approached our 2 year anniversary in our location my gut was telling me we would need more space in the coming year in order to continue to grow and provide quality teaching. My mind was going wild with all the various ideas of how we could accomplish this change. I had small, medium and large ideas and I was pitching all of them to Teresa the owner of the Antique Mall because in order for me to grow she would have to let go of some space.

We came down to the smaller room we could connect to our existing space and I began to make plans to remodel it as she started emptying her stock from the room. But the project kept stalling and somewhere in July I approached Teresa with another idea that maybe we should rent the space Skagit Seedlings was in and my business should build out into the larger space if she was looking to downsize. She told me she was ready to downsize and we started the process. By August and throughout September we were in full swing of moving, painting, moving, and constructing Skagit Seedlings new home. Studs, drywall, paint, Insulation, leveling floors, sanding, and mural painting commenced. Now it is the end of October and we are down to the finishing touches of installing mirrors, taping down marley, hanging door trim, cutting carpet, more painting and moving out of our old back room. I thought starting my business was daunting , but now I know better. Change is inspiring, but it is also hard and the process of continuing to provide a service in the midst of a construction zone is incredibly difficult, but we are safely crossing the bridge.

Today, I think back to that day with my face in the window and realize those thoughts of doubts were washed away by the steady seed of belief and faith in the impossible being made possible. Two years ago, I put my head down and started to patiently work hard. I didn’t have a logo, a fancy website, a lot of public awareness or any merch. I was operating on a shoestring budget and seeing if I could make this thing grow, I was 27. Along this journey I have taught myself how to run all the working parts of my business and I continue to lead with the thought “how can I make this work better?” and “what do we need to implement to do this?” I am not perfect and my business isn’t either, but the faith that each day is a new day and I can always continue to learn how to better do things, to me = growth.

To all girls, teens, and women with that have big ideas being whispered by the seed of faith in your ears, please listen. There is always a way, it might not be there immediately but if that idea is supposed to grow into an enchanting garden it will if you do not give up on that seed of faith.

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