December 29, 2020
Here we are in the final days of December and the year 2020 is slipping away from us. I imagine many people find comfort in this, hoping for better times in the year to come. 2020 has no doubt been a turbulent year for us all, with seemingly no end to the difficult and depressing news. It has been a stressful year for us at the Stagecoach as well. As the pandemic gained strength and shutdowns commenced, we got to see fewer and fewer of our customer’s smiling faces. Those faces that we did see became covered with masks, further eclipsing the smiles that we crave. There were a few months in the spring which felt very strange. While our doors remained open, very few people walked through. As with everyone, this was a difficult time in which it was tough keeping our heads up.
As spring progressed into summer, we started to see signs of life. Each month that went by grew better and better. We saw travelers who elected to road trip instead of flying. Some decided to retire and travel instead of dealing with this year’s difficulties. Things were certainly not ‘normal’ but better than we expected. Looking back, I think “better than expected” is a good theme for us in 2020. All three of our major seasons were better than we thought they might be. I had doubts throughout the entire year but was continuously surprised. We are all very thankful for this while knowing that many other small businesses have not been so fortunate.
Despite being a tough year, there were many wonderful things that happened in 2020 at Stagecoach. The situation forced us to think outside of the box a bit and I believe it helped us find new ways of doing certain things. If nothing else, 2020 was a major change of pace that forced us to analyze and think more. We tried some new things; some worked and some did not. We learned a lot along the way and, overall, had a good, albeit stressful, time. Now I am going to countdown the top three things that happened this year at Stagecoach. All three of these were at the very least inspired somewhat by the pandemic and may not have taken place otherwise. I am reminded of the old saying, “from the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success.”
The pandemic created supply chain nightmares for businesses around the world. We definitely felt and continue to feel some of these issues ourselves. Orders take longer to receive, substantially more items are unavailable, and shipping takes longer. Every company that we get merchandise from has a different slate of problems for us to navigate. The most detrimental for us is the effect on the Native American population. Sadly, many of the areas have been hit far more drastically than we have in Nebraska. They also their own governing body which can add their additional restrictions on top of the state and local communities. Thus, we struggled to get new Native American jewelry this year. Fortunately, we had good luck with David Rosales. He and his team were closed for a while in the spring but did a great job once they were able to reopen. We had difficulty with our other Native American jewelry suppliers and were unable to get much of anything new.
This turquoise pendant has beautiful colors with a bold sterling silver design. It was different than Gary's usual style but no less impressive.
What is a jewelry store to do when we cannot get jewelry? Why, make our own of course! My father, Gary Glandon, has been making his own jewelry for decades. This year though, it seems like he has made more than ever because we have struggled to get Native American jewelry. We saw him introduce some new stones like Australian Variscite and bring back some old favorites like Number 8 Turquoise and Damele. He has shown us new designs and learned new ways of doing things. He has worked hard this year and we have loved seeing the different jewelry that he has created.
Gary, if you are reading this, we all ask that you do not slow down. We all want to see what you come up with next!
For years people have been telling me that I need to learn to make my own jewelry. This is something that I am interested in doing but just haven’t found the time to do much (writing these blogs takes time). Like anything else, creating handmade jewelry requires a lot of time and practice in order to become proficient. This year, however, I finally made a few pieces of my own.
This butterfly pendant has a very pretty piece of Kingman Turquoise along with lots of detail in the wings. Skylar Glandon designed and made this pendant.
I utilized some different techniques than Gary normally uses to design my jewelry. Thus, my pieces have a different style than Gary’s. The piece that I was happiest with was my turquoise butterfly pendant. I really enjoyed how the design turned out and it was different from anything we have made before. Obviously, I have a long way to go but I hope to continue practicing and making more of my own pieces. I already have some plans for this upcoming year!
Earlier this spring we were facing the prospect of some very long and boring months without customers. As the country began hunkering down for the pandemic, we were left with few people walking through our doors. Like businesses throughout the United States, we have employees who need to work in order to pay their bills. We wanted to keep our workers employed for as long as we were safely and financially able to do so. As you can imagine, day after day with no customers tends to get a little demoralizing and depressing after a while. Therefore, we decided to undertake a renovation project to keep us all busy.
For years we have wanted to update our walls to something new and fresh. The problem has always been that we would need to close the store in order to do a major project like this. Closing down hurts the business in the short term so we had never pulled the trigger on something like this. However, when people started staying home earlier this spring, it turned into the perfect opportunity. We replaced the old drab paneling with new, bright wood. We also used this to brighten up the fronts of our jewelry cases. We were very pleased with how these turned out.
This large sun mural was our project during the early months of 2020. Each section was individually cut and stained different colors.
The most extensive project that we undertook was a large mural of a rising sun which hangs on one of our newly covered walls. This is made of different wooden blocks that we cut and stained. It required a great deal of time just to design and plan, let alone to actually execute the build. This sun mural kept us busy for several weeks during the spring. Once it was complete, it weighed somewhere around forty pounds and we had to finagle a safe way to hang it on the wall. Needless to say, this was quite the project for a crew who normal spends their days in a retail setting. The completed project is something that we are all incredibly proud of and it is noticeable as soon as you walk through the doors. We named this mural “Nebraska Rising.”
2020 has been an interesting year full of highs and lows. While the lows are often what we seem to fixate on, none of us should forget our highs for this past year. I hope you have enjoyed reading about three of our successes. None of these would have been possible without the continued support from you, our fans. Even during the demoralizing shutdowns earlier this year, we knew that the day would come once again when you would walk through our doors. We tried hard to be ready for you by sprucing up our store and offering even more goodies made right here. I sincerely hope that, if not at this moment, the day will eventually come when you are able to look back and see some highs from the year 2020.
Earlier this year we met with Trenton Otteson, from the television series Turquoise Fever, to purchase turquoise stones.
Thank you for reading and I hope that you will continue along this journey with us. We have some things planned down the road that I think you will enjoy. Here’s to more highs for all of us in 2021!
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