A Big Announcement, Part One
I’m Sandy Gillis, the owner of Harlow Crestwood. In the next three weeks, I will be sending three very personal newsletters. Each newsletter is going to take you on a journey towards an exciting announcement. I call this trilogy “Harlow, A Love Story” and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.
That was then...
Part I: A Harlow History
In the spring of 2000, Crestwood Centre was rebuilt and modernized. One of the original tenants was a store named Lyndale Cottage. At that same time, I was looking for a career change. I had a vision of owning my own small business and I loved the idea of a lifestyle gift store. The notion of working with people yet for myself, choosing products, and having the flexibility of working around the schedule of our 3 small children appealed to me.
I started a dialogue with the owner of Lyndale Cottage, seeking some insight into her world, the world of a small business owner. As we talked, we came to a pleasant discovery. Her husband had just been transferred to a new city and she was looking for someone to takeover the business. The timing was perfect for both of us. I purchased Lyndale Cottage within 2 months and began my life as a store owner.
I was very passionate about my business right from the beginning. I’m conscientious and hardworking, and was willing to do whatever it took to make my business successful. It was a big learning curve, but I enjoyed it immensely.
I sought out new products through catalogues, retail magazines, gift shows and by creating relationships with local and national sales reps. I started attending American Gift Shows, including those in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. This expanded our product lines and brought in items that glowed with originality.
My family has always been a part of the store. My husband does the repairs, improvements and is there for moral support. All five of us participated in store events and tasks. As my kids got older they began working alongside me in the store. My daughter Lauren still works with me today. She’s my right-hand person who can do any role in the store. I always feel very proud and so fortunate to have her by my side and part of the business.
The world of retail has changed a lot since we opened in 2000, and so has Harlow. We’ve moved from a different bay within Crestwood Centre to the home we have now with its beautiful natural light. We changed the name from Lyndale Cottage to Lyndale Accents to keep current with the times, and then changed it again to become Harlow Crestwood when we amalgamated our two stores in 2016. In 2018, we joined the world of cyber-shopping with the launch of our online store. I can’t wait to see where Harlow will grow from here. I feel very proud of how far Harlow Crestwood has come in 19 years and I am very honoured to be part of the Crestwood community.
I have learned so much about people, business and the world through my store. The best part of my job is working for myself, loving the people I work with and the community of customers around us. Customers have become friends who visit us regularly, making us part of their celebrations, their stories and their lives. I’m so grateful for your support of my store.
...this is now
Stay tuned for Part Two of the Harlow trilogy!
With warmth and kindness,