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Save Merry's World Bazaar

$2,300 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 30 people in 2 months
My name is Merry, and I'm writing this on my 75th birthday.

For nearly 13 years, I have been the owner and operator of Merry's, my own little store in Long Beach, California. This store has been my dream since I was eight years old, and is the culmination of my life's work: my backgrounds in fashion, retail, and humanitarianism have come together in this boutique, where I offer "fashion with passion from faraway lands", handmade by indigenous artisans from around the world, presented in an immersive environment styled as a multicultural bazaar. It is my heartfelt belief that cultural understanding is a first step toward world peace; and that by seeing, touching, and learning about something made by someone on the other side of the world, the world seems a little smaller, a little more personal, and we remember our shared humanity. The clothing, accessories, and home accents in my store come directly from the artisans who create them, as it is my wish to support them by paying them fairly and creating a market for their handwork. When my store was doing well, I also held fundraisers for people in need around the world-- from hosting a Japanese dance demonstration to support survivors of the tsunami in Japan, to showcasing West African dance to raise funds to stem the Ebola epidemic.
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Times have been difficult recently for my store, as they have been for all brick-and-mortar retail stores, but I had still been blessed with just enough business to keep my doors open. That changed in early October, when the City of Long Beach decided they had to tear up and replace the sidewalks, curbs, and gutters for several miles along the road where my store sits. From then until just before Thanksgiving, everything outside my store was torn up, at times making my doorway inaccessible. The road was closed, there was nowhere to park, and attempting to walk to and from my store involved navigating mounds of dirt and open trenches where the sidewalks used to be. I lost all of my business during the Halloween season, which is normally a busy time for my store. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday both came and went with no business. The Christmas rush of previous years never arrived. The period from October to New Year's Day is critical for retailers: we do a large percentage of our yearly business in those few months, as we must, to survive the notoriously slow period from January through March.
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Now, as of late January, the construction signs are going up again. The City has returned to do more street and sidewalk work, including repaving the street itself. This is scheduled to last until early April.

It saddens me terribly to know that my store cannot survive this. My last hope is that someone will find it in their heart to help. I am two months behind in my rent, and while my landlords want me to stay and have been wonderfully supportive, they have a business to run, too. There are artisans I must pay, and if I am able to keep my store, I will also need a new sign, as sun damage has made the current one almost illegible. My store needs to be more aggressively marketed, and for its selection of offerings to be refreshed, neither of which I have been able to afford. Money is so tight for me that I am running out even of basics like hangers, bags, and business cards.
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If I could somehow be supported through the next few months, until the construction is over and business hopefully picks up in the spring and summer, I feel that my store can survive. This store is everything I love and believe in, and I would be deeply grateful for your help, so that I may continue doing my small part in making the world a smaller, kinder-- dare I say, merrier-- place. I don't want to give up on my dream yet.
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Well, Dallas and I arrived at Merry's this morning only to be greeted by a sea of orange cones, accompanied by the deafening sound of jackhammers. All of this disruption has been occurring intermittently since October 6, with no advance notice to businesses or residents. When oh when will it end?! I am told that it will be sometime in April-- weather permitting. I pray that it will not also be the end of Merry's-- weather permitting!

Thanks to your generosity, we are still here. If we can get through April we should be more stable. We still have to pay April rent. It is very difficult for me to ask for help, as it is, and has always been, the mission of Merry's to assist people in need around the world. So, I will take a deep breath and ask again for your help, your prayers, and to please spread the word. The bright light in this darker time for us has been learning how much you love Merry's. Thank you from us, and from the indigenous artisans around the world, whose lives have changed as a part of your generosity throughout these past 13 years.

Peace, love, rock'n'roll,

Merry
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This is what Broadway looks like in front of our store this week. This will be taking place somewhere on Broadway until at least the middle of April. Thanks to you all, we have made it through March, but we're really scared about April. Any way you can help would be greatly appreciated, even if it's just to share this or tell a friend.

Love you all so much, and thank you again and again for your support.

Merry
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During a visit to urgent care yesterday, what I thought was the flu was diagnosed as either bronchitis or pneumonia (we are awaiting the results of the x-rays). They said that in only three days, what began as a cold or flu developed into something much worse. More than likely, this is a result of the stress I have been under in trying to keep the store afloat during this time of construction on Broadway. And now, I am losing precious daily income as the store is closed during my recuperation. Dallas can't hold the store open either, as he is now showing symptoms of the same illness. Tomorrow we are both going back to the doctor. Thank you for all your kind thoughts. We'll see what happens.

Love you all,

Merry
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Thanks to your caring generosity, we are halfway to being able to pay our March rent. The construction, which is continuing to hurt our business, was originally scheduled to end in April, though the rain has caused several delays. Because of your support, we are inching our way along, but we still have a ways to go until we can exhale. I am so touched by the love I have received from each and every one of you. Please keep spreading the word.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Merry
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$2,300 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 30 people in 2 months
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MG
$50
Meredith Green
2 days ago
FM
$25
Friend of Merry's
9 days ago (Offline Donation)
TR
$75
Terry Rayborne
26 days ago
$500
Allen Atwood
1 month ago
TR
$75
Terry Rayborne
1 month ago
$25
Tina Beychok
1 month ago
MS
$50
Moises Sandoval
1 month ago
NC
$40
Nancy Correa
1 month ago
$50
Anonymous
1 month ago
JP
$10
Julie Pujalte
2 months ago
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