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A Big Announcement, Part Two

I’m Sandy Gillis, the owner of Harlow Crestwood. Welcome to Part Two of our trilogy, "Harlow, A Love Story". If you haven't yet read Part One, please visit it here. Each newsletter is going to take you on a journey towards an exciting announcement. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.

When Harlow (formerly Lyndale Accents) started in the year 2000, Will & Grace was a huge hit TV show, Russell Crowe was a Gladiator, Tom Hanks was a Castaway and “Smooth” by Santana was playing on all the radios.

lyndale_cottage

Lyndale Cottage, 2000.

gillis family early years

The early years.

Part II: A Family Journey

At that time I was a new business owner. I was in my 30’s and I had a lot of novel and exciting ideas to fill my 1000 square foot space on the west side of Crestwood Center. I had a skeleton crew at first, with just a part-timer and a couple of students pitching in to help. The store ran with an old-fashioned cash register those first years. As we opened in the fall, my children were starting Grades 1, 3, and 5. Christmas 2000 came quickly and our family celebrated Christmas with our new family of customers at our first Christmas Open House.

Experimentation was a big part of my first years. I experimented with different gift and home décor lines.  I added a small amount of jewellery, eventually adding a new, unknown brand called Pandora Jewellery to our offerings. We were the first Pandora retailer in Edmonton. I watched as this brand went from an obscure new kid on the block to the most recognizable brand of affordable jewellery in the world with almost 8000 international locations. In 2010, we expanded Pandora to a Shop ‘n’ Shop store, to carry the full Pandora line. With this decision, we reached the highest level, Platinum Status, making us one of top Pandora retailers in Canada.

lyndale accents expansion

Expanding into Lyndale Accents.

open for business

Open for business.

pandora shop n shop

Pandora Shop 'n' Shop.

One thing that I have always felt when running the store was that I was supported. My family supported me, the staff provided support, and the support of the community was always a blessing. In addition, there was a fine network of support workers like bookkeepers and deliverymen who did their parts excellently. Because of this, I have been able to keep my eye on the target, which is to keep visioning for my store. I understood that it was my job to keep Harlow evolving, growing and offering items that were innovative, beautiful and of value. This support team left me free to refine the store, and I keep refining it to this day, making it the epitome of itself – a store that offers high quality and quiet, comfortable elegance.

a family affair

A family affair, 2014.

harlow staff family

Our Harlow family, 2019.

These days, refining Harlow is second nature to me. I slip into Harlow mode in the same way I slip on my glasses and a favourite necklace – with familiarity and a sense of anticipation for the day ahead. I see what needs a refining tweak, and what needs a giant overhaul. And I gladly attend to getting things to where they need to be.

Though, some days I do miss that ole cash register!  ;)

Stay tuned for Part Three of the Harlow trilogy, our BIG announcement and the Grand Finale of our Love Story.

With love,

Sandy


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