Why an S.O.S. Campaign?
The Amazing Art Studio has been a part of our community for over 11 years. Our community has created memories here, gone to camp, and shared amazing times with friends & family. We have made some of our most cherished items here - the ones that make your house a home.
In the past three years, the Amazing Art Studios and their owners have had an amazing run of bad luck. Starting with problems during the build out of the White Flint Plaza store, through the unforeseen closing of RIO, ending with the delayed openings at Downtown Crown, they have remained fighters. They've suffered major family illnesses and they still stay strong. Read more of their story here . . .
Three years ago, as their youngest was heading off to college, the owners started looking for location two. The RIO location was doing very well. The profits from that store would cover the opening costs & any reasonable losses from the next store. After almost a year of looking & negotiating the lease, store #2 is ready to start build out. They find a location where major development is about to happen - a nice strip mall that would soon be the side entry point of a massive multi-use property. Demolition of the White Flint Mall was to begin within 6 months of the opening.
Of course, we've all heard the line - if anything can go wrong, it will, but as good business owners, they planned. They hoped for the best, considered the worst, & knew it would be somewhere in the middle. They were wrong - nothing came out in the middle and their plan did not consider that the worst case scenario would happen in each instance. They called it their series of unfortunate events.
In the spring of 2013, they started the build out of the White Flint Plaza store only to find out that there's a major problem with the electical supply in the space. In order to accomodate the kilns, build out will cost an additional $35,000. With the lease already signed, they have no choice but to move forward. The build out ends up $50,000 over budget.
Approximately a month into the White Flint Plaza build out, the management of the RIO store lets them know that in order to renew the lease, the base rent will be increasing by $2400 per month. This is an almost 30% increase in the base rent. While the management of RIO had previously indicated their willingness to renew the lease and an increase was expected, this amount would have required a 10-15% increase in prices to our amazing customers. The owners try to negotiate to meet the Management halfway but as the management keep putting them off, they realize they need to find another location.
In the meantime, White Flint Plaza opens 2 months late, in September, the worst month in retail.
The owners continue their quest to find another location in Gaithersburg. As luck would have it, a new property is opening just a few blocks from RIO. The property has already leased space to some amazing restaurants and will be available in January for build out. Perfect timing since RIO will close in January of 2014. This will give us 3 months to build out & get open. Build out time is estimated at 6-7 weeks so the new location in Gaithersburg should be open before spring break.
Since the White Flint Plaza store is new, it is expected to operate at a loss but without the RIO store being open, its tougher to deal with. Unfortunately, the availability of the new space in Gaithersburg keeps getting pushed back – first to April (opening date in June for summer), then finally to the end of May only to discover that there are still property issues so the store doesn't open until mid-August.
Two years after opening, the White Flint Plaza store continues to wait for the demolition of White Flint Mall. The first part of the demolition finally started in the last few weeks which means the store is still another 2 years away from the new multi-use property.
And if their business woes were not enough, in June 2013 Julya's brother suffers a series of heart attacks. Her brother is retired from the Marine Corps and stayed in the Phillipines with his family to do humanitarian work. It is determined that his best hope for recovery is to him get back to the United States. Through his extended family (Julya is his only sibling & their mom is retired) and friends, they somehow get together the money to keep him in treatment in the Phillipines and get him medical transport back to the US. The cost for everything ends up well over $100,000 of which only a portion was reimbursed by his insurance. While working to get Julya's brother back to the US, one of his daughters is diagnosed with luekemia, and under goes treatment in the Phillipines, but does not survive. She was only 11. Julya's brother is living in the US now in a Veteran's facility in Iowa. His prognosis is bleak in that he is in a persistent vegetative state from which they don't know if he'll ever recover.
While you might think things couldn't get worse, in October of 2014, John Myers became seriously ill. Without any warning or pre-existing conditions, he suffered from kidney failure. Just days later, he began dialysis. John no longer works in the studios due to his condition but can often be seen hanging out with Julya while she works & visiting with customers. He now undergoes dialysis 5 days a week, and after extensive training and many health set backs, Julya & John perform his treatment at home. John's name is on the transplant list but without a directed donation, the wait is 5-6 years or more. Even though this, they remain positive & supportive of each other.
Julya & John have always had a strong presence in our community. John was a youth coach for years, Julya a girl scout leader for 15 years. Julya continues to volunteer behind the scenes for a girl scout summer day camp, Camp Tuckerman, where she and their daughters went for years. One daughter, now age 21, still volunteers at the camp which she started attending at age 5. Through their stores, they have donated to schools, churchs, synagogues, & other charities. The silent auction projects created with Julya's help have raised 10's of thousands of dollars for local schools. Julya & John have also raised money for animal rescue groups as its a cause that means a lot to them - through their almost 25 years of marriage, they have rescued 4 dogs & 2 cats.
As the strong individuals they are, John & Julya are committed to continueing The Amazing Art Studios and all of its benefits well into the future. Join them as they provide our community with great memories, amazing camps, and a place to share good times with friends & family.
What can I do to help?
Shop Our Studios
Visit our studios now & get an amazing gift. A coupon worth 50% off any do-it-yourself artwork during the month of September or October 2015! All you have to do is say "I love the Amazing Art Studios" at check out. Yes, you can get more than one!
Share Our Studios
We hear all the time that after our RIO store closed, people thought we were gone! Share our studios so that everyone knows we're still here. Send an email out, invite your friends to join you here. And yes, your friends can have the 50% off coupon too as long as they tell us they love us!
Strengthen Our Studios
This one is on us since we're part of the "our." We're rolling out a new schedule at our Downtown Crown Store. Starting June 23rd, we're open until 11 pm on Thursday, Friday, & Saturday nights. Thursday & Friday nights after 8 pm will be adult only. Saturday nights, our friends & family night will be for everyone.
We'll be offering special classes & themed nights on our Adult nights. More fun for you & your friends!