Confused? Me too!! What does this mean, you ask?! Well, It’s not a quick answer to a fly-by question. In the early fall of 2019 my husband, Jason’s job had him traveling to upstate NY. He quickly spent more of his time there than in NC! The COVID pandemic halted much travel and for only 4 to 5 weeks our kitchen table became his desk. Considered essential personnel, approval letter for travel from the governor, 30+ COVID test later, he continues to travel weekly. With not a shadow of a doubt we know that he loves his job, his job supports our family and he takes pride in knowing that his company is changing our future in many different ways. Where does that put us? Who in the HELL knows! The see-saw of uncertainty has been a part of our lives now for almost 2 years…y’all, it. has. sucked! All of it! The weeble wobble, the endless nights of an empty seat at the dinner table, the zoom calls because I can’t figure out 4th-grade common core math! It’s easy to complain, right. We’re blessed beyond measure! Jason has held down a job when many jobs were lost during this time. Well, the fork in the road has stopped us in our tracks. Jason is now full-time in NY again, (still not sure my southern bones can handle the cold), the kids are out of school in June, and we are starting over. (Pun intended per Chris Stapleton)
June 9, 2011, the doors to my first brick and mortar opened. Jason said, let’s hope it makes it 6 months! 5 years amazing years later in downtown Cary, business began to decline from the revitalization of what some saw as a sleepy town. The store rebranded as Monroe 26 and moved to Raleigh, our beautiful home for just shy of 3 years. We don’t need to dig up bad memories of why that location closed…We do need to shine a light on the Ashworth’s! The heart of Cary, the open arms we needed. We had a chance to come home!!!! Third time’s a charm, we were home in Cary…happy, excited, refueled and business was great! Then BAM!! Let’s throw in a world pandemic! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, being a small business owner is not for the faint of heart. Time to pivot AGAIN! We’re getting used to the pivoting thing. We made it!! The air is getting warmer, days are longer and we see the light at the end of the tunnel. We survived a pandemic!! Unfortunately, this lady is wearing too many hats. With the realization that I have dug my heels in the sand long enough, it’s time to take one for the team. Our family needs to be together, in the same state at the same time.
It’s time to shed the title of “store owner”, or as my Dad would say, “turn the page”…it’s time to embrace being a Mom and a Wife. It’s time for us to move. This has by far been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. My heart is broken. I feel like my identity has been stolen and until I lock that door I will continue to second guess this decision, but being a family that is together is more important. I wouldn’t exactly call Jason my biggest business cheerleader! However, He has always supported my crazy ideas and let me chase my dreams! It’s time for us to support him.
Being born and raised within 45 minutes of where we live now, I’m excited about our little journey. I know it won’t be for long and knowing NC will be home again in a few shorts years, I’m willing to trade in the flops for snow boots. (Something I NEVER thought I would do). So, where does that put M26…I have no idea. All I can say is, you are more than welcome to follow my journey.
No good-byes, lots of unknown answers, and one nervous girl!! I’m jumping and my wings will take us and M26 to where we all belong. I can finally say, the past 10 (TEN!!!!!) years have been an amazing roller coaster and I would not change one second of it. This little business adventure has soared, fallen, pivoted, and has been turned upside down and I am proud of it! I have had hands down the absolute best employees a girl could have in the past ten years. They are a part of my family and mean the world to me!! Many of our customers have become some of our best of friends. I have an amazing support group of business owners that I know are only a phone call away. Employees, Customers, Family, and Friends, All I can say is, THANK YOU I am forever grateful for each one of you and your support. I may “own” M26 but each of you made a dream a reality!
With the power of social media, You will be able to follow every step my family takes, and what M26 will potentially morph into. I’m not done, yet. Our physical storefront might be closing, but “WE” are just getting started.
LOVE y’all big!
MUST READ: Store Closing notes!!
-ALL sales are FINAL
-ALL Gift Certificates and Store Credits must be used by 6/30/21. Gift Certificates and Store Credits may not be redeemed for cash.
-ALL display/large items must be picked up by 6/30/21