Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
And so it begins........closing another chapter on the book of my life. I have spent the last 9 ½ years of my life working at the Dixieline location in Poway, California. It's so hard to believe that my store is no longer there and I am not going to be laughing and seeing all of my co-workers each morning. After working together for so long you aren't just co-workers anymore, you become more like family, dysfunctional at best, but family none the less.
The dedicated and loyal customers become an integral part of your lives as well. You share the ups and downs, triumphs and failures of life. You watch as they get married, have children and grandchildren, face health issues, get divorced, or lose loved ones. We were saddened when customers lost their homes in the fires of the recent past, not once, but twice for a few.
We shared with them the triumph of seeing their homes rebuilt, better and stronger than before. They wished to share all these moments with us, because we were more than salespeople to them. They thought of us as friends.
The news came down just after Thanksgiving and we went from shock to acceptance, as we all rode the rollercoaster of emotions.
We were unfortunately another casualty, as our business location fell victim to our nation’s current economic strife. We were all asked repeatedly by customers where we would be relocated and sadly responded….nowhere.
It was posted that our last day of business would be December the 19th. However, we closed our doors forever one week earlier. Customer after customer would give all of us hugs and well wishes, repeatedly stating how much they would miss us all.
Customers wrote their feelings on a board posted on a store front pillar and I felt honored to have been given special notes of farewell. I have been very privileged to have had a customer base that has followed me for the last twenty-five years. Yet now, I can’t tell them where I’ll be. I was asked repeatedly, but could only say….”I don’t know.”
Secretly in our heart of hearts we were all praying for a miracle. Would they somehow find homes for all of us? The answer was no. Out of twenty-three employees, thankfully a small handful have been saved, getting the proverbial get out of jail free card. If only it could have been more.
Some had been there since the store opened its doors back in 1996. Like Venus rising, building the store from the ground up. Participating in the ribbon cutting, which consisted of a red 2 x 4, cut with a chain saw and was proudly hung at the front of the store for all to see.
Now help was enlisted by the very people who helped to build her up, to gently take her down. We were all a testament of what it meant to work together as a team. Managers came to help, who I had previously had the pleasure of working for.
There were tears in our eyes as we looked around from person to person. These were people who had previously been our co-workers or managers. We came together, working as a unit as always, doing our jobs to the best of our abilities to the end.
Choking back tears as farewells were said and hugs were given. I can only hope and pray for enough economic recovery, so myself and my friends have a better 2011.