The Bushkill Township shop that accomplished the puzzle for patrons lacking that “little something” is closing for good.
At the very least, the brick-and-mortar website is closing for superior.
Missing Piece, a fixture since November 2006 at 462 Bushkill Centre Road, designs to close its doors for superior on Sept. 22. Owner Karen Sampson cited dwindling sales all through the March 2020 shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic and on the web big-box retailer competitiveness in making the shift. She owns the keep with her partner, Rick.
“The determination to shut my small business was not an straightforward 1,” Sampson told lehighvalleylive.com this week. “This was my aspiration and I was performing all the things I ever wished and extra. On the other hand, throughout the decades it has gotten more challenging and harder to be a trendsetter considering that we are a destination reward store.”
Sampson is hoping to transition to an on the web only location shop.
15 many years in the generating
For the earlier 15 decades, the indicator on the doorway to “Missing Piece” has read, “Enter as strangers, go away as mates.”
Sampson of Forks Township seems to be back on these years and could not agree a lot more. She checks in frequently with some consumers and previous workforce who have moved on to other states.
“I’ve been blessed,” she explained. “It’s really the truth of the matter and I lived by the saying.”
The enterprise started when Sampson discovered herself wanting to satisfy a childhood enthusiasm.
Immediately after ending Allentown Business enterprise University with an associate’s diploma in company, she put in additional than a decade working at other reward shops. She worked at the Crayola organization gift store and later managed lots of present stores for the Lehigh Valley Wellness Community.
Sampson usually envisioned opening a store termed, “Missing Piece.” Men and women continually called on her creativeness when inquiring for that “little something missing” to put with each other a gift. Sampson envisioned a shop with a combination of gift products, purses, jewelry and house decor. It would be a a single-stop shop for these who desired to “complete the puzzle,” she claimed.
Sampson stumbled on her keep place in the early 2000s when a friend mistakenly told her it was for sale. At the time it was County Interiors, a home decor and home furnishings shop. The house owners explained to Sampson they weren’t prepared to sell just however, Sampson stated.
In 2006 Sampson was supporting a mate adorn her dwelling room and she went back to County Interiors. She questioned operator Sally Paybins if she remembered her. Paybins did. She explained she was now ready to promote the setting up, Sampson explained.
“The emotion I experienced inside of me was a little something I never ever felt just before. I could never place into terms the exhilaration and anticipation I had,” Sampson recalled. “All I could believe was, ‘This was it. This was my aspiration.’ It was everything I experienced ever wanted down to the reproduction of the making I envisioned. We did not pick Bushkill Township. It picked us.”
Paybins just had a single request of Sampson upon handing above the keys to the front doorway.
“I promised I would continue on to provide holistic dog food items,” Sampson recalled. She reported Paybins had a subsequent of typical patrons who arrived to the store especially for those elements.
Sampson fulfilled the assure. Lots of of those people faithful patrons inevitably turned her buddies. Her specialized niche, however, did not remain in canine food product sales.
By 2008, Lacking Piece was acknowledged for advertising Vera Bradley baggage and handbags. Sampson was the only space company proprietor with the ideal to offer Vera Bradley goods inside of about a 10-mile radius. The cotton bag merchandise traces, which in the beginning had been motivated by French Provençal region fabrics, finally expanded into florals and paisleys and grew to also incorporate manner, property components and gifts.
Other brand names followed, like Chamilia, regarded for its sterling silver and Swarovski jewellery and Brighton, regarded for its jewellery, purses, charms, footwear, and items. Sampson took delight in promoting these models, which grew to become the store’s “bread and butter.” Sampson finally joined the advisory board at Chamilia.
Sampson stuffed two rooms of retail house with what she describes as “unexpected treasures,” such as jewelry, women’s fashions and handbags, as nicely as dwelling and seasonal décor. It was not unheard of for a patron to pop in for a scented soap, personal fragrance, candle, vacation tote, or overall body care item. She experienced towels that reported, “Without You, There is No Us.” There had been significant and compact items of furniture, dishes, image frames, trinkets, and clocks.
Sampson gained awards from area publications and charitable organizations for her creative show do the job, which shifted dependent on seasons, holidays, or acceptance of products. She also held up on the latest vogue and jewelry trends, sparking a bi-annual pink carpet-style trend display through which workers would model Sampson’s most recent tendencies.
Sampson threw parties during important vacations and patrons flocked to other pleasurable events. Fundraisers benefitted Angel 34 Basis, which supplies expert services and guidance for children battling most cancers. She hosted other fundraisers for Nazareth place sporting activities teams, church buildings and crisis assistance units.
Throughout the Xmas time, Sampson had virtually 20 lit holiday trees and a take a look at from Santa Claus. At Halloween, the retail outlet experienced a cemetery and haunted forest.
Sampson hosted such stay functions, as “ladies evening,” psychic readings, “pajama night” and wine glass painting. Her favourite was a “customer appreciation get together,” throughout which personnel handed out food and swag bags as patrons browsed the sale racks. The functions, Sampson stated, usually gathered 60 attendees and stored her dollars sign up ringing even when instances had been turbulent and online competition turned intense.
“We read so quite a few instances, my store seemed like a thing out of magazine,” she recalled. “Our customers truly liked shopping listed here not only for the exciting and artistic concepts, but also since my team cared deeply for each individual and each individual 1 of them. It was an knowledge, not just a store.”
A few of Lacking Piece’s employees remained for 10 of the 15 several years and Paybins, the owner of County Interiors, frequently returned to help Sampson all through active moments.
Sampson originally began a transition to on-line product sales in 2017. The organization now ships to all 50 states and just lately grew to a subsequent of more than 6,000 patrons.
As the coronavirus pandemic began to ravage compact enterprises, Sampson turned to Facebook Stay to offer her products with a schtick: She would journey on “Charlie,” a stick pony as she described the merchandise she was promoting.
Once doors close on the brick-and-mortar web page, Sampson designs to develop her on the internet presence. “Charlie” now has a girlfriend, who will make cameo appearances. She is arranging journeys to scope out the newest finds in countrywide trade demonstrates.
Patrons will be ready to obtain the exact favorites the store is recognized for, as nicely as some new solutions, Sampson mentioned.
Right up until then, the retailer is marketing almost everything at 30% off and 50% off Xmas and Halloween things. Fixtures and jewellery circumstances also are for sale. Sampson plans deeper bargains as closing day strategies.
Sampson marketed the building last thirty day period in just five times. A Nazareth area small business proprietor, whom Sampson declined to expose, strategies to shift into the room but it’s unclear if the existing store will move or the owner is planning a next locale.
“I have combined inner thoughts about closing the business enterprise. It is psychological,” Sampson explained. “This is my desire and I have achieved so quite a few mates all over the yrs, but it is the suitable time. When it is the ideal time, each company owner will know, and this is my time to find a new chapter in my existence.”
You can store on the web at the Missing Piece web-site.
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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be arrived at at [email protected].