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Thanks for Inspiring our Holiday Unveiling, Debbie!

She will never read this blog post, but I would like to publicly thank Debbie Dusenberry for inspiring our annual holiday unveiling. From 2000 to 2010 Debbie owned The Curious Sofa, an incredible home goods and antique store in Kansas City, Missouri. Sadly, I never made it to her store, but I visited through her blog. Every November, Debbie would close her store for days, and then reopen them to a veritable winter wonderland. I had never seen anything so good. The level of detail and thoughtfulness that went into each display was incredible and enviable. A prop stylist by trade, Debbie knew how to curate and merchandise a store. Each vignette was masterfully styled to be as delightful and charming and inviting as possible. The whole thing was truly aspirational.

I wanted what Debbie had created so I set forth to make it happen. Let me be the first to tell you that it doesn’t happen overnight. Much to my chagrin. It has taken years and years to get our unveiling to where it is now, the UNofficial kick off to Old Town’s holiday season. It started out so small. Just as most of us (or maybe it was just me) worried about in our youth, I worried if anyone would come to my party. It was quite pitiful. The early years were very lean, and I would go home underwhelmed, even a little sad, and covered in glitter. But, as the years went by it got bigger, and bigger, and bigger until it is what is today. Patience, perseverance, and therapy paid off. I could not be prouder of what our team has accomplished over the years. 

Let me also say, pulling this off is never easy. (Debbie would construct structures in the middle of her store, which always amazed me). During prep, the store is littered with boxes, mangled balls of twinkle lights, various parts of fake Christmas trees, and mounds of product waiting to find a home. You can’t walk a straight line anywhere, you’re tripping over everything, and you have to eat your lunch on a spot on the floor if you can find one.     

I will never forget the year that I got the stomach flu from my son and missed the night entirely. I vomited at the store that afternoon and had to leave the team to finish up. Naturally, they did not disappoint and later reported we had our best event yet. Or, another favorite year was the one where we were 95% finished but still had product strewn about with only 30 minutes before opening the doors. It was a mad dash to the finish as we started throwing things in closets, cars, nooks and crannies just to get it out of sight.  

Actually, it’s always a mad dash to the finish. If we have an hour to spare before opening, we feel like we’ve won. Every year at least one person – and often times many people – wonders out loud how are we going to get it done. Every year, by hook or by crook we do. And, every year it’s just magical. So, thank you to Debbie Dusenberry for inspiring our holiday unveiling and giving me my favorite week of the year.

I hope you’ll join us at this year’s holiday unveiling November 3rd from 6pm to 9pm at Red Barn Mercantile. Just as you have come to enjoy, we will have pull-your-own discounts up to 30% off and our dear friend, Michele Hatty Fritz will be providing the party favors! And, because we love this new tradition so much we will be unveiling all our holiday goods online at Red Barn Mercantile as well. If you can’t make the party, then please join the fun online at Red Barn Mercantile AND Penny Post and pick your discount from 6pm to 9pm. It’s going to be our best Christmas ever, and we can’t wait to share it with you!