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Open for Business | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Open for Business

“We’re open for business.”

Those words can be hard to say with a smile in a tough economy. What you are when times are tough shapes who you will become for a lifetime. Others have made it. So can you.

The Copper Lion, Inc.Ten years ago, my husband and I started our own home business, The Copper Lion, which does digital illustration and retouching for ad agencies.  Nine years ago on a Saturday night, we were paged at a baseball game. “Your house is burning,” a neighbor told us.

We raced home to a street of fire trucks. Friends met us. When the fire was out and heat levels were down, the fire chief gave us 15 minutes to remove any needed posessions. Friends helped Richard haul his office equipment out. They pushed, dragged, pulled, and carried his basement office equipment up what had been basement stairs, now littered with construction debris and insulation.

Sunday morning, we wore borrowed clothes and took our kids to church, kneeling in desperation – no home, no business, and no idea what would happen next. We moved to a friend’s house, and Richard set up a temporary office in a spare bedroom.

Monday morning, we returned to the shell of our home. The ceiling and roof were gone. We had water and phone service but nothing else. I needed to wait for fire inspectors and our insurance adjuster. First step: hung the American flag outside. Second step: set up a card table in the driveway and a long phone cord so I could answer the phone.

At 8 a.m., a client with a deadline called after he heard about the fire. I told him, “We’re open for business. Your work will be finished on time. And we’ll finish any other jobs you can send.”

Richard stared at me. “I’ll get to work.” He left and finished the job on deadline.

For the next 3 months, we lived in a 2 bedroom, 800 square foot apartment. Our kids called our bedroom “Dad’s office” because he worked in there, keeping our business going. I supervised the insurance claim and rebuilding.

Many would say a 1 year old business with a fire is most likely to close. By the grace of God, and with hard work, we are still here 9 years later.

When things are at their darkest, don’t give up your hope. Great opportunities present themselves in big disasters. Remember to be:

open for business.


One Response to “Open for Business”

  1. Cathy Brown September 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Thanks for the inspiring story, your faith and example to your family, business and friends says a lot about who you are and I am glad to know you.

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