This is an incredibly difficult note to share and request to make. After speaking with many trusted friends and colleagues, we've been encouraged to share our current struggles and give our community the opportunity to support us the way we have supported them over the past 7 years. Asking for help is often the hardest thing one can do, but here we are.
The past 18 months have brought a multitude of changes for Hearthside Candles & Curios, many of which were outside of our control. In May of 2022 we moved into our current location. While this allowed for greater opportunity, this change was forced upon us by the sale of our previous building which was also becoming unsafe to continue to operate in. In order to stay within our beloved Ralston, our options were limited and we had to make the best strategic move available at the time.
With a larger and more modern space, this increased expenses about 8-10 times over. While increased visibility and traffic initially supported this, as with most things in the world, inflation and the continued effects of COVID took their toll and have shifted sales traffic, class/reading attendance, and severely limited our ability to do many of the nonprofit events that we had done over the years to support and build community engagement.
Additionally, there have been other recent changes and setbacks for Hearthside. For most of our existence, day to day operations had been handled by Alex and Chris. In May 2023, Chris made the decision to pursue his own passions and thus stepped away from Hearthside. This was the best decision for him. However, that left an impossibly large space to be filled. Being impossible to run the store and candle production solo, we had to bring in help and adjust our store hours to accomodate. While this milestone of hiring was significant and strategic overall, and our team has been a blessing beyond belief, this also added additional expenses during an already tough economic climate where costs are rising and everyone has less money to go around.
This has created the perfect storm in which we now find ourselves in. We do not want to have to limit our store hours even more, nor do we want to have to cancel our in-store events and guests that provide important services to our customers. But, operations cannot continue as they are without help and support from you, our precious community. So, we were sharing these struggles and letting go of any useless pride and asking our community to help us so that we may continue to help others for years to come. At this current point, we need an immediate influx of funds to get us into and through the Holiday Season.
Any funds raised will be used to cover store expenses, payroll costs, and will allow us to continue to bring in the highest quality items including Fair Trade and locally handmade products that helps support other small businesses. Anything raised that goes above and beyond these costs will be used to create more events and projects that highlight local nonprofits and other small businesses so that Hearthside may continue in its mission of putting the community first and doing whatever we can to support local causes.
So, dear community members, that is where we are. We truly do not like asking for donations, so we really are asking you to come visit and shop with us in-store at 5356 S. 72nd St., Ralston, NE 68127! If you are outside the Omaha area, shop with us online or contact the store we can help you shop remotely! While any generous donations are deeply appreciated, we would much rather be able to provide you with our award-winning goods and services. But whether you donate here or come shop with us, please know that your support means the world to us and we cannot say enough how much we value each and every one of you.
With love and gratitude,
The Hearthside Team