It was a busy block for foot traffic, which was what had attracted me to it in the first place. A bank sat next door, a drugstore on the side of the bank with an insurance office on the other side of our office and the post office just a block away. Almost all of the main foot traffic on Bridge Street passed by our front door.
Brenda had originally rented the office space in 2003 when she started her business Cover2Cover Bookkeeping. I moved the News Leader into her shared space once I bought the paper in February 2004. There was a room already being used by an accountant which provided a portion of the rent. Eventually Brenda attracted an out-of-town optometrist to the shared office space. So for a period of time there were four different businesses in the same location.
In the final few years it was just the newspaper. Brenda had folded her bookkeeping service opting to focus on just working on the books for my business. It allowed us to spread out within the four walls at 226A Bridge Street and I took over the room that the accountant had used. The room the optometrist was in became a storage space for us and it ended up holding a lot of personal belongings that our home did not appear to have space to hold.
When we started cleaning out the newspaper office mid-month, we knew we had a big job ahead of us. We were lucky to have the loan of a trailer to load up with garbage and that was what I focused on. I figured that the only way to get through the closure and move we needed to pick today as ‘garbage’ day and tomorrow as ‘recycle’ day and the next day as ‘keeper’ day. Brenda agreed and that was how we tackled the project.
It rolled along rather smoothly but for the most part it was just Brenda and I doing the physical work. One person pitched in for a day but that was it. However, we did receive a total of three different offers of the use of pickup trucks which we utilized each time there was an offer as that made hauling anything much easier than stuffing our Chev Sonic frequently.
One day we had the help of a couple for long enough to move a handful of large pieces of furniture and that made a huge difference. We were still two days away from our last day in the office and these cabinets and tables were getting in the way and started to bog us down. Once they were moved it energized us again. On two occasions we had homemade loaves to eat at the office. The elderly customer of ours had brought us a loaf once before and when we were about to start packing she apologized to me for not being strong enough to help pack but wanted to help in some way. I asked her for one of her loaves so we’d have something when it was time for a coffee or pop break. She was thrilled to be able to contribute and we were thrilled that she brought us a loaf each of the two weeks we were packing. Another elderly customer brought us bags of homemade cookies. She had been doing this recently and her timing could not have been any better.
Then this morning rolled around and we still had a lot of work to do but it looked within reach. Brenda had received an offer of help cleaning up the office after we were out a week ago but that fell through. I didn’t want her to wear down any more than she already had to this point but was at a loss on how to help. Then she received an offer from someone who had been supportive throughout the moving process. It brought Brenda to tears moments before we went into the office for our final few hours of clean up.
The pressure was off and as we were about to load the final items in the office into the car another offer arrived in the form of a family of three who told us to stop what we were doing as they were going to load the final load in our car. It was a pretty incredible act of kindness that was as great as all the others but was a fitting way to say goodbye to our office. We pulled away from 226A Bridge Street at 4:57 PM. The job was done.