Save the Yarn

People who follow our social media accounts know that we recently went through a flood emergency, but we thought we would take the time to share the story in depth with you here on our blog. It severely impacted our business this month! We are still "digging out" from all the work that piled up while we were out of commission. We are so grateful to our customers and our friends and family who have been following the whole saga and have very patiently waited for their orders while we got set up in our new space. We are so grateful in fact that we have an amazing surprise for our customers this month (scroll to the bottom of this post to find out!). Or read the whole post to hear the harrowing story. We are so humbled and amazed at all of the support we received locally and online. We love being part of the yarn community and the Reno community. Here is our #NVflood17 story:

1/5/17 - Flooding is predicted by the National Weather Service for the Reno Sparks Area 1/8 and 1/9. The Truckee River is predicted to crest at 21.5 feet. Which is 5-7 feet above flood stage depending on where you live here in the Reno Sparks area. The JBW warehouse is in a flood zone and has flooded in the past. We immediately started to put our heads together to come up with a plan to save the yarn.

1/6/17 - We made the decision to stop answering phones and emails in order to start packing up the yarn. All employees' efforts were directed to flood proofing the warehouse. We prioritized the computers and most expensive yarn. We also raced to get as many orders shipped out as we could. Below is a flood map of Reno. See that big red stripe in the circle there? That's us! Yikes!

1/7/17 - Today is a big day. Whatever we can get out of the ware house is what is left of JBW. In addition to packing up, we shipped out 1300 orders today!!! We had employees and friends and family come to help us move as much yarn as we could get into 7 U-Haul trucks. Many trucks also had a trailer. We were able to pack up about 70% of the yarn in the warehouse. We put sandbags at the back doors, piled the retail furniture on top of each other, locked up and left hoping that the damage wouldn't be too bad. A local bagel bakery (Thank you, Rounds!!!) whose location was on higher ground gave us permission to park our trucks in their parking lot. They would be there all night baking, so they could keep an eye on the trucks for us. Many other organizations in our area also had to scramble to save their buildings and the contents therein from the water (like the Humane Society).

JBW's trucks at Rounds Bakery.

1/8/17 - This is a very nerve wracking day. Rachel (our production manager) took this photo near our ware house in the late morning. The river was very high but hadn't started flooding yet. Later in the day the surrounding roads were closed off in anticipation of flooding. The flood came, as predicted, in the late evening. Live videos circulated of local construction companies positioned on bridges downtown to snatch debris out of the river so they wouldn't do damage to the bridges or clog up the river and contribute to flooding. It was a pretty incredible sight.

Culvert nearest the Capital Blvd warehouse early on 1/8.

1/9/17 - Flooding continues into today and is expected to peak in the early morning. In an amazing break of good fortune, the rain expected today is not as heavy as it was originally predicted to be. The loading bay of our building is a lake, but the flood waters stop rising mere inches below the warehouse doors.
Employees volunteered to start answering emails again remotely on their own personal computers, and our social media manager had no power (and therefore no internet), so she had to drive around to keep charging her phone to post updates and answer comments.
Laura and Doug (the owners of JBW) made the decision that even though our lease at Capital Blvd wasn't up until March 2017, now would be an opportune time to move considering that 70% of our inventory was already packed up. And considering that this winter was shaping up to be a doozy, we needed to make a move now so as not to give another flood the satisfaction of threatening our beautiful yarn. Laura, being the tenacious self-starter entrepreneur that she is, was touring new properties within hours.

1/10/17 - Laura chooses a new home for JBW in record time and is able to negotiate that we be able to move in immediately (how did she do that???)! Our new warehouse is very close to our old warehouse, but it is NOT in a floodplain! Thank goodness!

Remember the flood map above? Here is where we moved to. No flood danger there - Phew!

1/11/17 - We get keys to the Joule St. warehouse! And we start moving in! In case you were wondering Joule is pronounced like "Jewel". It is an electrical term, and our new warehouse is close to the power company. If you are interested, click here to find out what a Joule is.

Clearing out the last boxes at the old warehouse!

Moving the first boxes into the new warehouse!

1/12/17 - Production (aka our Beanie Bag team) moves to Joule, and sets up shop! Racking starts to be moved to the new location! Terry, who teaches classes at JBW, decides to hold her classes off-site at local coffee shops until the new class space can be set up.

1/19/17 - After opening on 1/16 for a "Moving Sale," the Capital Blvd. location closes for good at noon. We were trying to sell the yarn still left at the old warehouse at a discount, so we didn't have to move as much. We sold quite a bit of it, but needed the yarn all in one location so we could get orders out the door quicker. Goodbye Capital Blvd!

1/20/17 - We are getting more settled into our space and are moving the final odds and ends over from the old warehouse! We hired four temporary workers in order to help us get caught up!

The new Joule St warehouse getting fuller and fuller!

1/25/17 - Phone lines are installed at Joule, and they immediately start ringing off the hook! We were still able to communicate with customers via email while our phone lines were out, but not all of them had heard about the flood. There were many customers calling to ask what the heck was going on! We received our first few shipments at the new warehouse - including our Madelinetosh limited edition color for January - Labradorite!

The Labradorite color. We had to set up a makeshift photography corner. Did you notice the background there? Yup, it's cardboard boxes!

1/27/17 - The influx of phone calls was making it a lot harder to pull orders and devote time to getting caught up, so we made a tough decision. We decided to stop answering phones and emails for the weekend, and made some very aggressive goals. We invited some customers and some old employees to come help us pull orders, and we encouraged our regular staff to pick up some overtime shifts. The goal was to get completely caught up by Monday (meaning we were pulling, packing and shipping orders that were less than 24 hours old)!!! We needed to touch 2,118 orders in order to do that. Today we touched 697 orders! Wow!

The notes we included with delayed orders. We also shipped the orders out for free and gave customers a small notions pouch.

1/28/17 - We made incredible progress on our goal today!!! We touched 1,025 orders today! 1,025! We only have 398 more orders to go to meet our goal!

1/29/17 - We met our goal and started to turn to other neglected areas (like returns and back-orders) to make the most of our "off-the-grid" time.

Our Goals board at the end of Sunday. We did it!!!

1/30/17 - We are still kind of in the thick of moving. We still have plenty of boxes on the ground. Furniture from the store is piled high in a room. It seems there is a steady stream of locksmiths, plumbers, contractors and other professionals here everyday! If you had told us last year that we would be moving in the middle of our busiest season - we would have told you that you were crazy! But here we are. We are so excited to be moving forward with plans for our new retail space (coming late Feb or early March). And we can't wait to get back to our normal routine.

Which brings us to...

2/1/17 - Today starts a very special month of thanks to our customers and our community. We have decided to thank our customers by offering free shipping on all orders throughout the entire month of February! Free shipping for everybody!!! UPS is excluded from this (we can't afford to overnight yarn to everyone all month), but regular shipping is 100% free - all month!!! We didn't forget international customers either - First Class shipping will be free for international orders! We are so incredibly grateful for our customers who waited patiently for long overdue orders and kept ordering from us even when they knew we would be out of commission for a while - just to support us! We are humbled. We are grateful. And we are ready to get back to kicking yarn butt! What will you get this month during #freeshipfeb?

Tell us what you'll get and use the hashtag #freeshipfeb!

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  1. That's awesome what you did to keep things going. And I'm glad you posted the updates.. Great recap... Congratulations...

  2. So glad to see the shop up and running at it's new location. I don't what I'd do without Jimmy Beans Wool!!!

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