Living a Legacy | BIG Announcement | Personal + Business

Ok! So I think we did a good job building the anticipation with our BIG news because we have been begged on all different levels to spill the beans. This is going to be a bit of a long story but a good one. I hope you can hold through all of the details! I also know that today is our seven year anniversary but I am actually going to leave that post for our next one. Today I want to catch you up with the rest of our life and then we will dive into our anniversary next! We are going to take a drive through some of my family history so that you get the full picture here to why this is so BIG for us! So let me introduce you to my grandparents first. This is Hollis and Louise Vickers.

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They got married when they were 21 and had two boys. My grandfather was a meat packer for 10+ years. He wanted to own a business of his own and started his first pizza shop when my dad was just one and he was 31. He worked day shift at the meat factory and then worked in the evening at the shop. Sounds like a typical dream chaser! My dad said that grandpa knew pizza was going to be the next big thing and wanted to jump on it and bring it to Ohio. In 1961 he started Vick’s Pizza. It was the hottest thing in town. Students would line up all around the building after the football games for a pizza. They would carve their names in the wood paneling, kiss their girlfriends for the first time, propose, you name it! So many memories have been created right there.

 

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In 1980 my grandparents gave the pizza shop to my parents right after they got married. My grandpa gave his life to Jesus sometime in the 70’s and became an ordained pastor in the 80’s. He started spending most of his time there and pastoring. In 1988 my grandmother passed away from a brain tumor.

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*This photo is from 87 to now, 2016.

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From the time I can remember I folded boxes in the shop, made pizza and sat in the same little window eating my cheese pizza like Emlyn. My parents put a lot of blood sweat and tears into the pizza shop. In 1998 my parents moved our family above the pizza shop. I was 10 years old. That year my grandfather passed away and my parents were no longer together. A lot of hardship over the years happened in my family while we lived there. My dad and I lived there alone from the time I was 13-17.

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I painted my room more times than I can count and my friends all loved coming over. I mean who wouldn’t love spending the night at a pizza shop? We drank so much pop and ate pizza all of the time! I had youth group parties and sleepovers more times than I could count. It was the hangout spot!
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We had all of our family parties, thanksgiving dinners, birthdays and more right there in the pizza shop. My life looked a little different than most but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. When I was young I hated it.  I wanted to be “normal” and live in a house and not smell like pizza all of the time. Now that I am older I appreciate all the shop has given our family and looking through the memories it is amazing to see. I can’t imagine what life would have looked like with out Vick’s Pizza.

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Man, I was a lot to deal with! Look at that attitude! ha!
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Let me clear this up too because I know it may seem confusing. My parents ARE divorced but they still do life together mainly as business partners and friends. They both share the two things they love most. Their children/family and the pizza shop. It looks a little different but at the end of the day we are all thankful our family gets to be together.

2 years ago my parents started dreaming and started making plans to move into the building right on the corner.

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Connell Hardware has quite the history itself and when Ralph passed and it was no longer my parents wanted to keep a story going there. Ralph loved our pizza and would LOVE the idea of the shop being in his hardware store. So they have been on this journey of moving Vick’s Pizza just two doors down and now they are finally making some headway. They are moving into Connell in September and it is all kind of bittersweet for our family and town!

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*Construction inside of Connell, the new pizza shop location.

So many people have their names signed on the walls at the original shop and the building itself holds so much meaning. My parents know the NEW building is what they NEED though. It is just time! The shop is busier than it has ever been. They have zero storage and space left to use. Look how small!

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The shop is just too small for their STILL growing business. At the new location they will have a dining room and an occupancy of 99. With over 3000 square feet they will have so much room to grow. This is huge for our family but it is HUGE for the city of Reynoldsburg as well.

When we moved back this plan was all in the works but we had no idea how it would all unfold. We thought for sure my parents would have moved to the new shop by now and things would look totally different. We know this has all been God’s timing and even the hangups have been for a reason. This last year I couldn’t be more thankful that they HAVEN’T moved though, sorry MOM! haha! As most of you know we lived in PA up until July of 2015. Our girl Emlyn would have never got to experience the same place I did like she has if the plans would have went forward as planned.

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To see her light up when we say “we are going to the pizza shop” and eat pizza in the same booth I always did, it is so special to us. She gets to make pizza just like I did and to watch my parents with her in there is something that is priceless. My mom loves that Emlyn thinks her pizza is the best. Em actually won’t eat any other pizza and she knows if it is not “Mimi’s” pizza. Sometimes I think that Jesus held off the move just for her. Haha! I know, maybe that is not WHY but it is a REAL benefit! She is excited about the new place but I don’t think it would have meant as much to her if we weren’t here for the big move and transition.

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So now why does this all even matter? Well we moved into our new rental house in February and right away we felt like it just wasn’t our home. Our landlords only allowed us to sign a lease for 6 months and we were fine with the idea of renewing again and waiting until we found something we loved. We had every intention on staying. A few months in and our basement was getting soaked, the bathroom upstairs leaked into our kitchen ceiling, the doors were breaking, and the list goes on. We liked the neighborhood but the house just was getting more frustrating. We thought about how much we were paying a month and all the problems and we started considering moving. CRAZY! I can even remember saying “Andrew will never want to move after just 6 months, no way!”

I started leaning into all the feelings and couldn’t help but feel like God was changing things up for us. In March we laid down our church position for the time being and focused more on our family. God was calling us to a new place and we were facing restoration in our hearts and marriage like never before. It was a time for us to pull in close and work on US. I started getting visions of being in a real rural area and growing fruits and vegetables. I felt like God said that we would grow the most fruit THERE. Well what is this there? I have always had visions of us restoring an old building and thought maybe God had that in mind for us now. I started searching for houses in Columbus, Cliftonville, just seeing if any of them were a “fit”. Nothing seemed right so I just let go of the idea altogether.

Something started happening with Andrew shortly after. He seemed more frustrated with his job and life in general. Thats sounds dramatic but I noticed a change more than he did. I asked him point blank.. “What would you WANT to be doing RIGHT now if money wasn’t a factor?” And his response floored me. He said “The business, full time with you, thats where my heart is.” I couldn’t help but know we needed to make this happen because we always encourage others to chase their dreams. I was making mine happen but my husband wasn’t making his happen. I thought ok!!! Well that would be awesome! Since we moved here to Ohio I have had such an awful workflow. Emlyn has been harder to watch and work and I just have felt overwhelmed with all of the tasks of the business. I wanted this for us too! We leaned into this more and started seeking the people who help speak direction into our lives. We decided to go ahead and cut Andrews insurance job back a day and him stay home with me to help. It was a first step for us and a faith move. At this same time we started talking about this whole house thing again and he asked me what I thought. I had a crazy idea but didn’t want to say it. Well he had a cray idea too and didn’t want to say it.

We finally told each other our crazy idea and we agreed that this was a real possibility so we talked to my parents. That day I asked my mom what she thought about us moving into the upstairs of the pizza shop and then taking over the downstairs once they move. We knew the building would just be sitting for at least a year before my parents would have the time or energy to work on it. My mom seemed kind of shocked. ONE, we just moved. Two, the pizza shop is not necessarily a “family” place but all at the same time she seemed flattered. Flattered that we even wanted it. We stated talking through all of the details and within FIVE days of this idea we made it official, told our landlords, hired a contractor and started making this happen. CRAZY! The cool thing about this all is the building is my parents which means one day it will be my sister and I’s. It is an investment for us to fix it up but it is not a loss like renting. It is family history!

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So for the first month or two we will be confined to just the upstairs until my parents move the business to its new location. The plan is to finish renovating upstairs and move in THIS coming July and once they move we will start renovating the downstairs while being upstairs. The plans we have for the downstairs are pretty awesome though! The building is right on Main St., Route 40, in Reynoldsburg. We are making what is now the dining room, our gallery/office room. We will use it for business and it will have a store feeling. This is HUGE exposure for A+C Photography with us being in a new city and we couldn’t be more excited about putting our pictures in the windows! Then we will also have our living, dining room and kitchen downstairs. This set up is like a dream to us because we have always had a more personal approach to meeting with our clients. We love that we can meet clients right there in our living room and create the space for hosting our couples. Remember the vision I had too? I can’t help but think the Lord was showing me that we would grow the most fruit for our lives here, in this season.

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*This is the living room space before and where we are now with it. This living room will actually be a second living room once we have the downstairs and will be used as a playroom. I have always wanted TWO living rooms so Emlyn could have all her toys and art stuff! So excited about this!

So we have been almost a month at this thing and lets just say we have had a few surprises along the way. There is a lot of hard-work involved in making a building that is 100+ years old safe and functional. We have tore out and threw away more stuff than I could begin to express to you. Almost nothing that was existing upstairs before is left. This place is going to have so much character and charm when we are done with it. Though the space will be small for us for awhile we couldn’t be more excited to paint and make changes to it. We have never had that opportunity before because we have always rented. It feels so good to create and make a space reflect US and not just something our landlords did. Many of our friends who have come to see what we are doing have said that this place just feels more like us and that is exactly how we feel.

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*This is our bedroom before and where we are at with it today! We will finish up painting this week and get carpet laid soon.

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*This is Em’s room before and today!
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We have roped several friends into helping us paint and make this happen! Amber is a true friend and even though she hates painting, she still shows up to help! Haha! Love you friend!
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Emlyn has been hard at work with us! She has sanded, painted, thrown junk in the trash, swept, you name it! She really has been awesome through this all and despite this being our third move in one year she is all for it!
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We had a FOUR HOUR home depot trip and Emlyn was a champ. I was losing my mind the last hour but we survived! We picked out tile, door knobs, doors, light covers, lights, paneling, and more! It was a day full of decisions!
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I took this picture so you can see our set up. So the red building on the left is the NEW pizza shop building. Right where the shed is now, they will be putting a door in the back of the new building to come out to the existing patio. It will all be redone at some point. So literally we will be able to take our clients out our back door and order some food and beer! Haha! How is that for different? Do you want to know something even crazier?? See the fence in the background of the picture with all of the trees? My mom is in contract to buy that house! Yay! Hopefully if everything goes through Finn and Emmy will have a yard to play in. The yard and outside place is our biggest sacrifice in moving here and literally just last week my parents found out this property was for sale.. God’s timing is crazy!

SO how is all of this news for craziness? I am sure we will have lots of questions following this post but let me try to answer some of the ones I think you will ask!

  1. We plan to live there for a 2 years or so while we get our business going and growing. We aren’t sure what it will all look like and plan to go with the flow!
  2. We hope to make Andrew FULL time in the next year with the business by living here and the fact our cost of living will be very minimal now.
  3. FINN! Everyone keeps asking about Finn but he will be fine. We may have to walk him more and there is some grass super close by. Also, if my parents get the house right there, that will help a lot!
  4. Studio? No we are not going to have a “studio” but more just a space with pictures for clients to view and a meeting space for both design and photography.
  5. We move in ONE month!

If you have more questions we are an open book!

I can’t help but think my grandparents would be so excited if they were here today. My grandmother was a photography lover and had a camera in her hands a lot. While renovating we found her old camera case and equipment. Confirmation? I think so! I also spent a lot of time looking through photo albums we found and there were so many that grandma took. My dad doesn’t remember grandma NOT having a camera. I am so thankful that even 60+ years ago photography was important to her and she knew the significance of leaving photos behind.

I am so thankful for that dream and drive my grandpa had back in the 50’s to start his own business. He had an idea and wanted to make it happen! Because my grandfather worked hard to make his dreams happen, and because my parents are still working hard for their dreams, now our family gets to work hard at making our dreams happen. This is what leaving a LEGACY is all about. My parents are building a legacy just like my grandparents did and we are doing the same for our children. The story that lies here is one that I can’t believe we get to be a part of. So much history and so much hope! Here is to making dreams happen and leaving things better than when you found them!

Sharing, serving and celebrating,

Andrew + Chrissy