Art work commissioned by Moss Hill for use in advertising, package labels, and brochures.

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We were almost ready for business and almost out of money.  The opening inventory would expend all of what little funds remained.  In my youthful naivetť I assumed that upon opening day I would arrive at the store to find a mob of people waiting for us to open up. 

The zeal and committed passion Scot and I had for Moss Hill was surpassed only by our ignorance of business.  For all the countless hours I occupied classrooms, I was clueless about even the most basic principals of business.  Perhaps I missed something in school.  God knows I missed a lot but I donít remember any course that covered balancing a checkbook or how to measure profit and loss.  No doubt had I thought to seek out such knowledge there would have been plenty of resources available.  Typical of my fiercely independent nature and strong will, I had more confidence in my ambition than I did in my knowledge. 

There are two ways to obtain wisdom.  One way is by instruction and the other is by experience.  Experience is a merciless teacher.  I chose the hard way.  After a few years of following a dream I began to appreciate the way of instruction and regretted not having paid more attention when I was in school. 

I learned many lessons along the way.  I spent every cent of my share of my fatherís life insurance policy to build the store and purchase inventory.  Expenses far exceeded sales the very first month.  The shelves were getting empty fast.  Scot presented me with a list of items we needed to order to replenish the inventory.  It cost way more than we had in the bank.  I needed more working capital and was cash poor.  I figured it was time to borrow some money and began to seek investors.  The first person I thought of was our family attorney, Lou Main and called him to set up an appointment to discuss my needs assuming he would eagerly write me a huge check and Iíd simply pay him back with interest in a short time.

Lou was a thoughtful guy with lots of practical advise.  He graciously listened to my appeal and understood my dilemma.  At the time I didnít like his advise.  He told me that when life pushes you up against a wall, I should look for a door.  That seemed a pat answer and wasnít what I wanted to hear.  In retrospect, his advise was priceless.  Life pushed me up against that wall countless times since then and without fail, there has always been a door.  It took many years before I realized this was how life works. 

Up against my first major wall I found the door to the next room by selling a collection of silver coins my father had diligently accumulated for me.  With that money, I quickly bought more inventory.  It became obvious that Moss Hill wasnít soon going to be able to support both Scot and me.  Scot had a wife and child.  I was living in my motherís home and didnít need to make that much money to get by.  Scot reluctantly sought work outside of Moss Hill within the first few months.  I felt awful and worried that my friendship with Scot had been strained by the financial hardship. 

I wanted Scot there with me but knew Moss Hill wasnít making enough money to provide him the salary he needed.  Scotís departure was one of the first of many heartbreakers Moss Hill would give me.  I carried on despite financial hardship and after two years was forced to close Moss Hill.  Though discouraged I was not defeated. 

 

I
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