From the desk of Lenae, VP of E-Commerce:
This has been, by all accounts (not that I asked, but if anyone disagrees, they’re going to have some ‘splainin to do), an EPIC year for us all here at Empire Chrome. We started the year off in the freezing cold, doors wide open in record lows, because we didn’t close a single day while our expansion was being finished. As uncomfortable as it was, most of our customers don’t have the luxury of being able to come see us anytime they like, so closing wasn’t fair to them. We subjected ourselves to sickening fumes while two different companies worked to get the floors done. It felt like it was going to go on forever. But here we are, just about 10 months later, and it’s hard to believe this store was ever any smaller.
We waited anxiously through the month of May, as the Mississippi rose to record highs along the levee located just a block away from our store. Customers from all around the world checked in on us – although we were not in much danger on this side of the river, it was still terrifying. Despite my paralyzing fear of heights, Dennis recruited me to go flying one afternoon so we could show everyone what the flooding looked like from above and how we were, in fact, not underwater and very much open for business.
Many of you know that we are a family business. Although there are a couple of employees who aren’t technically family, they might as well be. Working with your family, for us, is more rewarding than frustrating. It takes time, but when you find that balance between wanting to smack someone and realizing how brilliant they are, it’s the greatest. If someone had come up to Michael and me, anytime between the ages of 11 and 20, and told us that we’d be working on incredible projects together and enjoying it, we would have died laughing. Then punched each other in the face.
But here we are, almost 10 years after the store first opened in what is now a teeny tiny church on the east I-40/I-55 service road. Our latest incarnation has us covering the maximum amount of space allowed on this lot. I never dreamed, all those times when I heard my dad talk about opening a “chrome shop,” that such a thing could be possible.
So, what I want to say to all of you is THANK YOU for making what we do possible. As hard as we work, it wouldn’t make a difference if our customers didn’t notice and keep coming back. This has been a year full of growing pains, one that saw our shipping volume doubled while the number of people on staff stayed the same. Of course, this meant that we screwed up a few times. THANK YOU to those customers who gave us another chance after we made a human error. Every OOPS was turned into a lesson, and as a team we worked together to prevent it from happening again. Your support has made it possible for us to keep food in our bellies and turn the dreams in our heads into reality.
We have even more improvement planned for 2012. Dennis is constantly hunting for the newest, best, and most affordable products on the market. I’m working on making your online shopping experience as easy and as fast as possible. And everyone is relentlessly learning every detail of our over 8,000 items in order to serve you as best as we can.
Happy Holidays to you and yours,
VP, E-Commerce and Internet Marketing
On behalf of the Londagin family and Empire Chrome Shop