For two weeks, I have known where Once Upon a Storybook will live but haven't been able to tell anyone. Two weeks is a long time for someone who talks a lot, and, well, can we say has a little problem with impulse control. God has been generous to give me grace these past two weeks.
Now, let me tell you how this has all worked out.
This was my Facebook post from June 26: I got some "bad" news today, but I am NOT discouraged! My A location for Once Upon a Storybook is Enderle Center, 55 fwy and 17th St in Tustin. The property manager called me today, and we had a great talk! There is nothing available there and likely wont be for the next few months. BUT I am more persuaded than ever that this is where I want to be! The ONLY way this can work out is if God orchestrates it. If it works out, to God be the glory. If it doesn't, God has other plans, and to God be the glory. I wonder where Once Upon a Storybook is going to live . . .
This was a very odd day. It is natural to be discouraged after a phone conversation where someone says, "I'm sorry, but we just don't have anything for you here, and I don't anticipate any openings." But I wasn't. Truly. I felt energized and excited! I told the property manager on the phone, "Well, I am going to pray that something opens up because your center is really the perfect location for my store." She laughed and said, "Ok! Good luck!"
Five days later, at 6:28 a.m., I got a text: "Guess what? God may have answered ur prayer; call me asap."
That morning I met with the property manager at Enderle Center. After a few pleasantries, she explained what had happened. A boutique had moved a few units down to expand (because that's what people do at this center--they never leave; if they move, it's because they are expanding). That left a spot open, which had originally received 6 bids. This was a few months ago--I had actually gone in and spoken to the store manager about the property and she explained how it was snatched up so quickly. The person who was chosen was a former shop owner from Enderle who had left years ago for personal reasons and wanted to reopen her store.
This woman got some exciting but disappointing news at the end of June. Her husband was being transferred to another part of the country. She was disappointed that her dream of reopening her store was being thwarted, but she was also worried that the property manager would be in a difficult spot. She said, "Don't worry! I think God has already worked it out!" That's when I got the text.
Until this woman had a chance to tell her family that she was going to be moving across the country, I was asked to keep this to myself.
Norm came by the center that night, and we looked at the property. What can I tell you? The unit I will be leasing is 1400 sqft, about 1000 of that is the bookfloor. It is absolutely beautiful--crown molding, gorgeous cashwrap, perfect bookstore lighting already built in. Did I mention this was previously a Brighton store??? So, you know, it oozes boutiquey class. Upstairs, the craft and party room is already built. And the windows of the room open up so you can call down to people below--that was something I had actually wanted! Yes, I will have to modify the space somewhat, but I can't believe what I am starting with.
And the rent. I can't believe how fair it is. It is less than any other spot I had looked at in Tustin. Thank you, God.
If you've never been to Enderle Center, let me give you a few details. It is a high-end center with boutique and specialty shops, anchored by some great restaurants: Zov's (the original), El Torito, Zito's Bar & Grill, and The Crab Cooker. There is TONS of parking to accommodate our events!!! Also, Enderle does the best job in the county of promoting their center. They have monthly classic car shows, summer concerts, and Dickens carolers who sing at their annual holiday open house and gala. There is a plaque on the clock tower that states that when Mr. Enderle opened his center in the 1970s, he dedicated it to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Once Upon a Storybook is going to feel right at home at this beautiful Tustin center filled with independent business owners. To God be the glory!