Monday, June 28, 2010

Field Trip

First, a funny field trip story. My husband, Jim, grew up in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. We are the same age so, when we were dating, we would talk about similar things we experienced growing up. One day, he was nonchalantly talking about his class field trips to the different Smithsonian Museums. This earned a hard stare from me. (Truthfully, it was a jealous stare). When he paused and then asked me about my field trip experiences growing up in a small town in West Virginia, I muttered "Well, we went to the fire station and the county health clinic." So, whenever the subject of a field trip comes up, we both get a good laugh.

Today's field trip probably doesn't fit into either of the above categories but belongs in a new one! I think I can classify it as Zoe's first field trip! This morning, I drove to Richmond, VA to visit a Fixtures and Forms store named Store Fixture Supercenter.

And there it is! In all it's glory! Now, let me say that the Supercenter is a very impressive warehouse with all sorts of things a boutique owner needs for a store. Larry, who manages the warehouse, is also my new best friend. (Seriously). But getting there - let's just say this is one dumpy neighborhood. Fine during the day but I don't think I'd want to be hanging around after dark. (Some first field trip for Zoe, eh?)

Larry welcomed me to the center and let me browse to my heart's content and make copious notes. It was so helpful for me to get a feel for the prices of various items, like bulk hangers, wall standards, countertops, tagging guns, steamers, shelving, acrylic signs/frames, gridwall and slatwall accessories (this is something I may have to consider as part of my buildout of the space). We also talked about delivery - he told me that they could deliver to Northern Virginia but that I might find it less expensive to come down, pick out what I want on one day. Let them get it packaged up and then come down another day with a truck to get it. Sounds like I need to put Jim on the payroll!

After I finished up in Richmond, I drove back up to Alexandria to visit Affordable Signs and Banners for a price quote. They are also located in an industrial area of Alexandria (Zoe is really starting to think the WV field trips sound pretty good at this point) but have beautiful offices and are very helpful. I had done research on their website so I was able to describe what I wanted and they were able to give me budgetary quotes for an oval sign, a scroll (to hang it on), installation of the sign and acrylic lettering for the building itself. While we were talking through the requirements, the admin team also pulled some good business development contacts for me for the City of Alexandria. Talk about getting more than I'd even hoped for!

Tomorrow: How to sort through advice....


  1. Sounds like you are making some great connections!

  2. I feel so fortunate. I had a good core group of people that I've known for a long time (attorney, graphic designer) and then have made many new friends along the way!