A Transition of Love
It's been a few days since my mom, the original owner of Gladheart Acres, announced that she had sold it to my husband and I. We had signed the papers that made it official back in July, but ownership transition took place on the first day of this new year. It didn't feel real until then either, even though we (my husband and I) had spent the last several months talking and planning and dreaming about owning the business that had raised me.
Growing up in Gladheart Acres wasn't always a fun adventure. As a child and teenager, sometimes it felt like too many late nights crafting products, and too many early mornings loading the trailer to go to yet another craft show. It had its moments of tedium and backaches, stress and overwhelm, and pizza in the living room because the dining table was covered with the products that would be sold to support all 10 of us in the family.
But those early mornings would transition into twinkling Christmas lights and cheerful customers at craft shows that became a favorite part of my childhood. Those times were magical - talking to people who had become friends, sharing the joy of a customer discovering their favorite scented product, and then packing up the little that would be left at the end of the days and knowing that we had been part of bringing joy to someone else's life.
Now that I've grown up, have a family of my own, and have learned more about the world, I've come to have a deeper appreciation for the many lessons that I learned by being part of a family business. I am convinced that some of these lessons - hard work, customer service, money skills, etc - wouldn't have been learned to the same degree through any other method. There's something about working together as a family, pulling equal weight with each other, that produces a bond and teaches things that really nothing else can.
"Gladheart Acres has always been a labor of love, it's always been part of our family identity, from our earliest days of making Alaska our home."
Now that my husband Christopher and I are the legal owners of Gladheart Acres, there's a sense of sentimentality that is not natural to who I am. Gladheart Acres has always been a labor of love, it's always been part of our family identity, from our earliest days of making Alaska our home. Somehow having ownership of this legacy makes me think of my dad more often - I'm remembering him laughing, him encouraging, him developing new product - and I'm missing him just a little bit more than I was (if that's even possible). I imagine him looking down from his now heavenly home and being pleased to see this thing, this family business, moving down to the next generation. I certainly hope he's pleased.
The weight of responsibility that now rests on my shoulders is not going unnoticed and many thoughts have kept me awake for more than one night so far this year. "Will we be able to continue to satisfy the customers who love Gladheart Acres products? Will they recognize the same love and care poured into each thing we create? Will this be something that will become part of the legacy that we can pass to our own children?" I hope and pray that the answers to all of these questions is a resounding "Yes!" We are committed, passionate, hopeful dreamers with a goal to take what is already a wonderful product line and brand and make it even better. The production method may change a little (I'm married to a man who may have missed his life's true calling as an efficiency expert!), but the quality, the care, the love - they'll always stay.
I think I've rambled long enough - in my next post on Growing Up Glad I'll introduce my family - my bustling, loud, sometimes crazy boys, and my husband who is my rock, my encourager, my soulmate.
From our gladheart to yours,