I know what you're thinking- what an unusual name for a retail store, right?
Our name, Amidst the Alders, was chosen with great care and consideration. In fact, it took us several months to come up with the name. We knew we wanted something symbolic and as unique as our business model and the items we would carry.
I haven't lived an easy life. In fact, it's been rather opposite. I grew up loving poetry, writing and reading as my escape from daily turmoils. I'd often hide under the bed with a flashlight and a book to get away from it all. I was a quiet, extremely introverted kid because of my circumstances growing up, but in my head was an explosion of narrative. I'd imagine the music playing softly and each day would begin a new chapter in my mind. When I needed to imagine being anywhere but my current situation, my mind would go back to processing my life in a book format, and I'd feel somewhat safe again.
I was in fourth grade when a poem was introduced to me that changed the way I thought about all future decisions. I remember where I was sitting when I read that last line, imprinting its profound realization on even my young mind.
It was "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost.
Amidst the Alders is a reference to the symbolism in the very first line of that poem. "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..." There is a strong belief Frost was referring to alder trees, and for great reason.
Alders trees are the first to grow back after the devastation of a forest. Not only that, but the nutrients their roots create in the soil also lend way for other plants to regrow. They symbolize strength and determination. I had been through devastation in my personal life in many ways, so the name we chose was already fitting...
But we had no way of knowing what was to come only a few months later.
My husband Matt and I were 29 years old when we invested every cent of our savings into opening our dream, a whimsical little retail shop in our coastal town. We signed the lease in November 2019, and worked every single day to perform all the renovations of turning a former real estate office into the shop you see today. Our Thanksgiving was spent on the floor, eating cold leftover Chinese takeout because we didn't yet have electricity. Our Christmas was spent nearly the same (with the addition of power.) We knew all along our plan was to open the second week of March 2020, and so we did.
We opened March 12th, 2020, and closed down just 5 days later.
We fought tooth and nail to keep our brand new retail store afloat during the pandemic. Somehow, with the grace of our community, social media and some news coverage I incessantly begged (also see: annoyed) the local stations for, we made it through to the other side.
"Growth through devastation." That's what we always said our name meant.
2020 proved that to be a literal translation.