It’s Thursday night. Tomorrow morning the news will be out that Dredgers Union will be closing its doors (It’s really surreal to even type that!).
After a period of time exhausting all other possible options, and the ultimate realization that there were no other options, I am allowing myself to once and for all accept this reality.
I remember the process of opening my first store, Room Service, in 2007. Throwing myself into the unknown, giving up stability, a career which I was rising fast within, and a comfortable salary, I knew I had no choice but to ‘make this work’.
At that time a sort of anxious flame was ignited within me, a flame which fueled all the long days and late nights, all the tumultuous battles that accompany opening a business in general and opening a business in an unstable environment specifically, and the increasing passion and responsibility I felt for doing what I could for my community.
I am relieved now, in the midst of my toughest battle yet, to find that that flame is still very much lit and maybe even more raging than before.
It’s in my DNA, it’s who I may have always been but at the very least, who I’ve become.
I LOVE our brand, Dredgers Union. The brand which my partner Sean and I created is something that even now I believe wholeheartedly in. We knew we were doing something crazy. We knew exactly what the challenges were that prevented anyone else from considering doing what we did, but we did it anyway. And that still feels good.
We met so many wonderful people. So many passionate Clevelanders who were so proud of what we were doing and so supportive. And we met so many people from out of town who left with not only a piece of Cleveland via one of our private label garments, but with a positive experience and for that I am extraordinarily proud.
One of the hardest changes will be not getting to work along side this epic team that we have brought together here at DU. One of the most consistent bits of feedback I received continuously since the day we opened, was how amazing our staff is. I have been a part of many stores in my day and it is unheard of to find a team of people so utterly dedicated to the brand, to a degree that matched the owners’ own dedication. The most difficult part of closing a store has absolutely proven to be sharing the news with our beloved staff. I wish I could bring them all back to Room Service with me, but alas that mom and pop already has, well, 2 moms.
The entire experience of Dredgers Union, while wonderful, did always have a small cost to me, in that I could rarely tend to my other store as DU took so much attention. I am eternally grateful to Jennie Doran who has done more than just ‘hold the fort down’ at Room Service in my daily absence; she has lifted the brand up and maintained the integrity of that ‘mom & pop’ feel that is so important to me as a small business owner. I am looking forward to spending more time with her in my beloved Ohio City neighborhood and together taking that store to the next level.
Jennie and I are launching a new service-based business out of Room Service, offering our services to newly engaged couples as wedding planners. Planning my own wedding, not even a full month away now, has been the highlight of my year and combined with our previous event planning experience and our creative instincts we can’t wait to create unique and beautifully creative wedding experiences for future brides and grooms.
It is not without more than a little bit of sadness that I will have to say goodbye to a beloved store, and neighborhood and that is what makes the upcoming ROAR ALONG THE SHORE that much more important to me now. It will remain an annual event which I will produce at the end of each summer, but it will be the final party brought to you by Dredgers Union. Please stop into Room Service or DU while DU is still open or go online while DU is still open to purchase your tickets. You can’t fathom the party mode that I will be in come August 24th ! And DU wants one more party with you all!
I love and thank you all for your continued support of independent retail. It is not as simple as just getting the doors open. We have to support them to keep them around. In this spirit I hope to continue producing MOM & POP in the 216 events to continue drawing awareness of the amazing plethora of independent retailers Cleveland can still boast about.
Stop into DU for crazy sales as everything in the store, even our great fixtures will be 50% off. Thanks again for all of your support, you can’t possibly know how grateful I am.