Expansion and Adversity

When Lloyd says, “We can’t move in the warehouse!” or “There’s no room to put new inventory at the shop!”, I tell him we need to sell the things that have been around for a while to make room.

Lloyd has other ideas. He would rather buy another warehouse, in addition to the existing space, to make more room for inventory. While our customers may collect jukeboxes, video games or advertising, I think Lloyd wants to collect buildings. In the past year, he has started a small collection, and I think he’s picking up steam.

It has been an adventure and an education. I am his partner, although a cautious, and sometimes reluctant, one. I wasn’t thrilled about the purchase of 339 West Antietam Street. It had been vacant for years and needed a lot of work, although it was immediately usable. It needed so much done and was not very attractive, even a little creepy, in the beginning. Still, the cost per foot was so much less than the warehouse space that we were renting in Gaithersburg at the time that the move made sense. I thought then that it would take years to fill that place up. It only took months.

The first time Lloyd walked me through it, it was dusk. The electricity was not on and it was dark. There were puddles on the floor here and there from leaks in the roof and a snake skin hanging from a water pipe. There are stone walls on the underground level from the days when the building was a bakery at the turn of the the last century.

Before we purchased 339 W. Antietam St., the Colbys had been running a pirate themed store in the building until Mr. Colby became ill. Before that it was R.D. McKee Hardware. Before that it was Castle Bakery, all the way back to the days of horses and carriages. The old place has history.

At this point, it has been improved considerably but is hardly finished. After a new roof, new front porch and railing, repaved driveway, many new windows, new lights, security, wiring, fencing, carpet, and concrete for structural concerns, it is like a new place, almost.

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We rolled on some red paint to see how we liked the color before hiring professional painters to point the masonry and prime the building properly before painting.

We tested our the red paint on the yellow brick before hiring professional painters to do the job right.

The painters are in the process of priming the building for a final red coat of paint here.

Here is 339 West Antietam Street after the painting was finished in September of 2013.

Still, Antietam Street is bursting at the seams with inventory. Last year, Lloyd had his eye on a vacant warehouse on Franklin Street. He loved that it was about 37,000 square feet, on one level, still in Hagerstown and not too far from the shop on Antietam. Our warehouse on Antietam is three stories with stairs, ramps and a freight elevator. Each level is chopped up into many rooms. Lloyd wishes for more ease in moving inventory in and out than Antietam offers. He also wanted to get all of our valuable inventory out of the lower level of Antietam Street and have more parking for trailers and trucks.

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Front Royal to Hagerstown

Ten years ago, Lloyd and I met on Match.com and were engaged, unofficially, 3 weeks later. I wasn’t sure that he was proposing when he asked, “Are you going to marry me?”, which implied that I could if I wanted to, but my answer was a certain, “Yes,” anyway.
This wasn’t the easiest of romantic situations to find ourselves in.With 4 kids from his first marriage, between the ages of 15 and 20, and one daughter, age 15 from my first marriage, we had 5 young people between us who would need to adjust to our relationship. Continue reading