From the beginning...

Where do I even start? How about back in 2013?

I was working as a Licensing Officer for the Provincial Government. It was an enforcement role, required lots of travel and was a solitary existence.

I had been dreaming about owning my own business. I yearned to mentor and lead my very own team of spirited individuals. Mike and I had talked endlessly about it and were looking at properties throughout Wainwright to open a clothing boutique.

One day, I was driving down main street after dropping the boys off to meet the bus for school (they were still in before & after school care at the time – feels like ages ago). As I came down main street, I had to stop for local real estate agent, Val Moroz, to take a photo of the outside of the building. I smiled and waited as she snapped a few photos.

Not long after, the business A’s Unique Boutique was listed for sale. It’s owner, Allison, and her husband were anticipating a military posting to Ontario.  

I let that chance encounter with Val in the middle of the street simmer for awhile. My plans for a clothing boutique had already included sketches, layouts, and change room designs.  Most important of all, I wanted one of those tufted round benches in the center of the store for moms and best friends to relax on while their loved ones tried on various outfits. This bench was to be crushed velvet; big and bold. I envisioned launch parties with ladies lounged on that bench sipping champagne and the floor littered with branded shopping bags around their feet. In hindsight, maybe I was watching too much Sex in the City at the time.

Was I ready to give up on that dream? It seemed so well thought out. But A’s was established. It had a customer base and there were less home décor stores in town than clothing stores. Maybe it was more needed?

I had always been a homebody and loved little more than spending a day baking for my boys in my kitchen. I loved my home, took pride in decorating it and had, in fact, designed the layout myself on a piece of graph paper before taking it to be engineered. My mom was an acrylic painter and my dad, a local carpenter – highly respected for his attention to detail. Both my parents could be deemed perfectionists; both stubborn and determined. Seems like the recipe for a successful small boutique owner indeed.

So, we set out to make an offer. Looking back, I still can’t believe that Mike supported me in leaving my secure job, my pension, and basically all the stability and security I could hope to offer. Boy does he love me! I am the luckiest woman in the whole world.

Then, guess what? We were too late. There was already a pending offer. Once I had made up my mind, there was no turning back. I hounded the realtor mercilessly while that other offer was in the works. Circumstances changed for that other prospective buyer (I like to think it all worked out best for all of us!) and on Halloween 2014 we signed the offer. Ironically, Halloween has always been my least favourite day of the year...but not that year.

Possession was February 4, 2014 and we kept it top secret from November to February. It was unbearable! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.

When February 4th finally arrived, we again dropped the boys off for school and headed to the shop for our first day. We did some painting and got acquainted. At the end of the school day, Mike went and got the boys and drove them up to the front door. He told them to go knock and I threw the door open from the other side! Kayden had a sense of what was happening when they pulled up. Breckyn was confused!

About a week later, a couple days before officially opening, I received this message via Facebook:          

“Hi Dana,
Wanted to share this story with you. Last week - Thurs or Fri - my daughter and I were outside of the dental office waiting for my son. We saw a little kid and a mom come out of the old A's - then another young one. They all looked up at the sign out front and then ran shivering inside. My daughter and I both looked at each other and were so excited for that family and their new adventure!!
I was telling this story to some coworkers today and someone told me that you had bought it.......... so congrats. I have a little movie of you and your boys running out to check the sign playing in my head and I love it! Good luck and I can't wait to come visit and shop!!!”

If I said that from the moment I signed the papers to the day that we opened I was entirely sure of myself, I would be lying. But this kind message sure bolstered my confidence.  

We opened the doors to Daines & Daubney on February 18, 2014. At 9:46 am I sold two bars of No Sugar Roger’s Chocolate for a total of $9.45.