Being in business with a building has been an interesting experience.

Opening the shop on weekends for the past 6 months has been eye-opening.

It’s been my arts studio, a place for me to think, a place for me to un-think, a place for locals to get a cup of coffee, a counseling center, a fabulous place for the birds to find food, a place to wash my car, a place to be creative, a place to meet new people, a place to study human behavior, a place to listen to music….it’s been all these things for the last 6 months.  It has not however been a place that is self-sufficient financially.  I think I could stay here another 10 years and  no matter what I was “selling” it would not make much money.  Why?  Because it’s hard for me to figure out how retail stores make ANY real money. There is not enough margin in purchased stuff, and who wants stuff anyways?  Then for created stuff, as an artist I’ve learned over the years that no one is going to pay you as much money as a piece took you to make.  So, you have to be willing to part with it for less than it’s worth to you. So the best I think stores are doing is breaking even. There is SO much overhead cost and red-tape and taxes and on and on and on and on with a business with a building. It has definitely given me a new-found respect for those retail operations that actually make it….although retail stores are closing left and right.

So onto the real thing…the real mission…the real reason I am back in my hometown… it is to help other people get their ideas, businesses, art, crafts,  books, music OFF THE GROUND.  To do that I have to expand.  I have to find a way to open the other side of this building.  The other side is where my dad ran his barbershop for years. I want to bring back that “community  barbershop” experience for people.  I personally remember how thrilling it was to come to the barbershop and see members of the community inside talking, laughing and getting a needed service. I want this building to be the place to be on Saturdays in Hampton,VA.  I want it to be one of those places that you hear about and it’s on your list to visit.

My VISION  for The Richardson’s:

  • We are the place in Hampton VA for creatives to gather, make money, start a business, and grow a business.
  • People who are currently walking by the shop will find their creative centers and set up a pop-up shop to make needed money.
  • Locals will be featured in national publications about getting their start at The Richardson’s.
  • The Richardson’s will create and cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in Phoebus VA.

As I sit here typing this, while at the shop, a couple just stopped their car  in the middle of Mercury Blvd  (a 45 mile per hr street) so the woman could take a picture of my chairs painted with the word LOVE.  Just a reminder to myself of what happened today.

So now…after almost 6 months being here I am finally ready to do a business plan.  I feel I now have enough of a feel for the place, the community, and the city.  Stay tuned…