Four years ago today, Mike and I were up early and at the Mall of America.
Four years ago today, we were bleary eyed, and physically sick to our stomachs. This idea we had, of moving our store to the MOA, had become real. (this was during construction)
Due to construction delays, we had exactly TEN DAYS to intall miles of cable, haul in 8 simulators and get them up and running, equip the control tower with all of it's computers and monitors, put together our fixtures and get all of our merchandise out, and get a POS system up and running. Oh, and train new staff.
Our Grand Opening was scheduled for Veteran's Day. The mall had hired a Tom Cruise look-alike, TV stations were coming to film,
Red Tail veterans were coming to fly.
I have never felt more unprepared. Which is a problem for me, as I like things to be organized, and run smoothly, no matter what it takes. And it just wasn't possible, this time. So I had to reconcile myself that all we could do was our best.
It's like putting on a play, and one of the actors reallty screws up, but the show is so amazing that no one notices.
Because no one but us saw all the things we didn't have ready yet. And everyone who stopped in that day flew for free. Friends, and neighbors all stopped by to wish us luck, or bring us lunch, or just give a much needed hug. Mike's parents were here, watching Charlie for us. We could never have done this without the tremendous support of family and friends.
I still remember that horrible feeling in my stomach that day, but it all turned out okay anyway. And four years later, we have had literally tens of thousands of people fly with us: veterans of WWII with stories to tell, Make A Wish children wanting to fulfill a dream, sons and grandsons and fathers and grandfathers all flying together, nights where the girls try not to outfly their dates, bachelor parties, team building events, birthday parties. So it really was all worth it.
Four years later, our store is cosmetically different. We have had time to fine tune things, and present them the way we wanted them to look that first day. We have made mistakes, and learned from them. And the most common thing heard in our store after someone is done flying is "awesome!"
Kudos and love to my husband. This really was his "impossible dream", and he made it fly. And he continues to make it work, every day, with every new idea and project he comes up with. Yes, I occasionally think he is crazy, but somehow, it always works out in the end.