The last week has been a whirlwind. I returned home after almost six weeks abroad, and four hours after we got off the plane, my sister Alison gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. My newest niece arrived a week ahead of schedule, making our homecoming much more exciting than it would’ve been otherwise. In the midst of the family celebrations, Magic Beans also celebrated a milestone: Sunday was the ninth anniversary of our first store opening.
A new baby, a ninth year in business. The two may not seem to be connected, but they are.
On July 7, 2004, Alison and her husband Isaac were just starting out as a family. They’d been married for all of ten days. They were, in fact, still on their honeymoon. Late that afternoon, we quietly unlocked the doors and held our breath as friends, family and strangers streamed into the store for the first time. Alison and Isaac returned a week later and settled into their new apartment, coincidentally located right across the street from the store. They found me and Eli drowning, trying unsuccessfully to juggle the demands of a very busy store, a steep retail learning curve, and two young children.
Alison rolled up her sleeves and learned as much as she could about strollers, car seats, high chairs, and toys. She turned out to be an excellent salesperson. Isaac put his job search on hold and offered his financial know-how, his computer skills, and his creative problem-solving at a time when we desperately needed all three. They got us through those first crazy months. In the fall, Alison started her MFA program, and we asked Isaac to hold off on looking for another job and stay with us just a little longer. It was a no-brainer. Isaac completed us in every possible way.
We’ve managed to hang onto Isaac for nine years, out of the goodness of his heart (and his affection for Eli’s cooking). We’ve seen Isaac and Alison grow their family — this newest baby is their third child — and enjoyed having them live so close by. At the same time, Eli, Isaac, and I have also grown as a team. We’ve accomplished a lot together, and through all the challenges we’ve emerged as close friends. I am so happy for my sister and her family, so glad they are such an integral part of our lives, and I am profoundly grateful for Isaac and all his many talents and contributions to Magic Beans. Someday he’ll follow his own dreams, and we will support him every step of the way. But in the meantime, we’re all in this together, and it’s nice to have so many reasons to celebrate together. Happy birthday to Magic Beans and to Eloise Grace!