Saturday 10th December found me at Delta PI in Selly Oak. Julie was managing the shop and had set out a table and a dozen chairs for the customers. There was coffee and tea laid on and even a tin of chocolates! Now there's a temptation. The chairs quickly filled up once the shop opened and there was soon standing room only, with children sitting on laps. This was a new experience for me as previous stores have rarely had room for chairs. The customers were fantastic, obviously knew each other from previous events and were generally brilliant company. There was the hint of a promise of cakes for the next event :) The xcut dies and embossing folders were as popluar as ever, and customers kept nipping off to snaffle items off the shelves as they saw them used. Julie had also set out a lot of sale bins of goodies and these were causing quite a stir. Several ladies had brimming baskets tucked securely under their chairs and who can blame them? The store was set to move across the street to new premises over Christmas and the staff were going to implement this themselves on foot so I hope it went well for them. I must give a mention to a couple who had travelled from Telford. I first met them at the Coed-y-Dynas store and they had made a point of visiting Delta PI because they knew I'd be there. Do you think this constitutes a fan club? hehe. I was delighted anyway. Hope they felt the journey had been worthwhile. I must also give a big thank you to Julie for supplying me with hot drinks throughout. I felt really pampered :)
Sunday 11th December got off to a really bad start. I was due to attend Melbicks Garden & Leisure in Coleshill at 10am. I set off at 8:15 allowing myself loads of time and an hour to set up when I got there but it wasn't to be. I typed Melbicks Garden Centre into my satnav and off I went. It took me to a little shopping centre which looked deserted. There was a small Tesco but their doors were locked. There were a couple of people hanging about but they said they hadn't heard of the place and would you believe this was the day I had fogotten to pick up my phone? A man at the cash point overheard me and called out that Melbicks was about 5 or 6 miles away and difficult to find. Oh heck! I went back to the car and tried putting the post code into my satnav. It estimated 20 mins away, which seemed to tie in with what I'd been told, so off I went back on the motorway. I arrived at my destination... a traffic island in the middle of nowhere! This was not looking good. I methodically tried every turning off the roundabout, bearing in mind that these were dual carriageways in the middle of farm / scrubland at the side of the motorway network. It was miles between roundabouts and there was no hope of finding a phone box or anyone to ask. Eventually, running out of options, I followed a sign post into Coleshill town, hoping that I would be able to find someone to ask. No! It was frosty, freezing cold, and all the sensible people were home in front of the fire. I spotted a couple coming out of a building and stopped to ask directions. Would you believe they were holidaymakers and only there for the weekend. It was 10am by now and a small Tesco was just opening. One of the staff inside was able to give me some rough directions, so I gratefully turned round to try again. Three traffic islands on, I thought I'd drawn another blank but then I spotted a tiny little sign, pinned to a post, saying 'This way to Santa's Grotto' with Melbick's Garden Centre in tiny writing underneath. God bless Santa, that's all I can say. I'd probably have been on my way back home by then otherwise. The store was in a dip down the next dual carriageway, totally hidden away and in the middle of nowhere as far as I could see. I was so worried about being late, but grabbed my trolley and boxes out of the car and rushed into the shop. The receptionist was on the phone so I had a chance to compose myself a little. She wasn't in the least bit concerned by my lateness as the department staff weren't due in until 11am! I trundled over to the craft section and set up and waited...
Melbicks store itself was lovely, nicely laid out in little sections and was slowly filling up with Christmas shoppers. I spent a lot of my time fielding questions as to where products were located. Or trying at least. After a while a few crafting ladies arrived and seemed content to stay and chat about their hobby. The neverending cards were popular but they soon sold out. Customers were also keen to learn how to make a paper rosette using a border punch, so we had a play with those. The embossing folders were very popular, especially the happy birthday one but that sold out too. I hope that I helped customers to make an informed choice about the new DoCraft products, even if it did mean they would have to wait for new stock or try another store.
I planned to work until 4:15 to make up for my late arrival, but at 4:10 there was a tanoy announcement warning that the store was closing soon. I packed away my things and tidied the section then made my way to the reception to sign out. There was a different girl on reception and I asked her if she could check the address that I had for the store. It turned out that the post code was one digit out, and I had the post code for their delivery depot which is off a different dual carriageway. That would explain a lot! She said the flyers they were sent always had the wrong code on them. What a shame they didn't let anyone know!! If you would like to visit the craft centre at Melbicks, it is well worth a trip, but I would recommend that you double check the address before you leave. The correct post code is B46 3HX not 3HY. There might not be a Santa's Grotto sign to guide you.