A Best of Philly Award, at any time, is a tremendous honor. But it is especially meaningful this year when we made many big changes to our business. It was necessary for us to cease operations at our other store, but it wasn’t a decision that came free of doubt and fear that it was the wrong way to go. The only way to bring all the inventory over from the other store was to close up the Parenting Center and that was a really emotional thing to do. For 11 years the Parenting Center was the cornerstone of what we did, it’s how we first set out to serve people in our community.
The changes took place pretty much the second the Holiday rush came to an end, and that was a really stressful time for our family. Nat did the construction needed to re-vamp the space, and I will never forget the day that he demolished the wall between the Parenting Center and the store. In some really big ways the changes made sense; my baby is now 9 years old and I felt like it was time for other people to serve new parents. Still, as I watched that wall come down I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to center the store and find new focus.
The past 7 months have blown us away, the reception from the community has been absolutely validating. Sales are strong, and people have been so unbelievably kind in their verbal support of the new look and that has meant the world to us. This nod from Philadelphia Magazine is also a huge sign of approval for our new direction where we have focused on our one store that really, truly, strives to have something for everybody.
This is a really important time to thank the people who work for us, they are the people who allow me to be with the kids but also to maintain the store that we love so very much. We absolutely could not have done this without our staff. We are so happy for the year’s strong and steady business, but so much more has been asked of staffers on top of what they already do to make the store run. Any working parent knows the pull between work and home, but when your work is also your personal reputation, as I consider Ali’s Wagon to be, your staff is everything.
And what really keeps us running are our customers. Our customers have been so generous in their steadfast support of us over the past decade and especially in this past year. When folks who have moved away from Fairmount still come back to shop with us I about bust a gut - it’s such a compliment!
So thank you to our friends, our family, our staffers, and Philly Mag--this award means so very much and we are so grateful.
xoxo Jessie Menken, Owner