Letters to the Editor

Kiss a Frog store owner bids farewell

The story of Kiss a Frog goes back almost a decade now…

It started out as a little store slightly hidden away on the Eighth Avenue strip mall in New Westminster.

Here I learned the art of retail and that retail was so much more than just selling!

My serious, precocious three-year-old skirted around me, under the counter, playing with little friends that would come in throughout the day—all the while watching her mother do what she loved. I met many wonderful people. The store evolved and I could no longer work the counter alone so I hired people to help me out. To this day some of my dearest friends are the people that joined me on this journey.

My work allowed me to grow in so many ways: I’ve been able to create freely, trust my instincts, and most importantly to learn what people need and want. Mistakes were made along the way, but that’s okay—from them I learned even more.

We worked long and hard at this location for five and a half years. In that time we took over the space next door and learned to fix our toilet, tear down walls, patch a leaky roof—or should I say patch a roof that was caving in! We had to make do with a building that was ready to retire. My ideas about making Kiss a Frog bigger and better coincided with the news that we could no longer stay in this location. Who knew that losing our "home" was exactly what we needed in order to really grow our roots and become part of the New Westminster community?

Nestled on the bustling corner of 10th Avenue and 12th Street, I found an old building in need of much TLC. After months of hard work by many hands, we finally opened our doors. Exposed wooden beams and a beautiful brick chimney provided the perfect foundation for tall ceilings and an open space for many big ideas and countless treasures. The new space demanded something new, and so to complement our retail store we created Runway Birthday. We hired a crew of young ladies, (plus one serious, precocious junior hostess) to host these events. These young ladies were endearingly referred to as our “Runway Hostesses” and together we worked to create precious memories.

As the demand increased, we added fashion shows, tea parties, workshops and visits from Santa and princesses from around the world. Little girls lined up at the front door on Sunday mornings dressed in their best princess dresses, their noses pressed against the glass door anticipating the arrival of Princess Belle! They became teary-eyed when Princess Ariel whispered “good bye” to them … and it was a reminder to me of how much I truly loved my work.

Our most loyal of customers made the business blossom into something well beyond my original dream, and for that I am forever grateful.

In summer of 2010 I was in a car accident; thankfully I came out alive. However, my injuries were such that I haven’t been able to return to work like before. I have managed to keep the store open during my absences, checking in occasionally. Unfortunately I had to downsize and things were just not the same. I found myself faced with a difficult decision, and not without much sadness, I decided to close the store.

I will focus on getting better. While I heal, I will have time to think about the next leg of my journey.

One of my favourite quotes is "live deliberately"—and so I have at Kiss a Frog.

It has been the most interesting time in my life and it has brought me so much laughter, wonderful friendships, some tears. It has brought my darling nieces close to me and created a lifetime bond. It has allowed me to have my daughter by my side, and watch her grow up in the store. It allowed me to show her the power of work that is meaningful.

I want to thank everyone who has been part of my journey.

Lucy Ramos
Owner, Kiss a Frog children's store
New Westminster

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