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loading 50 2x4s into our nissan sentra

50 2x4s, that was the most we could fit in the Nissan at once. The backseats were still out from our first road trip and so we were able to slide them in there with the trunk open and only about a foot and a half or so sticking out. Luckily, our shop was literally down the road from Lowes. We got away with a lot of sketchy shit because of how close we were to Lowes. Any further and things would have been different.

After COVID hit, business really picked up. We were getting more orders, taking on bigger projects each month. It was around this time that we started buying in bulk. When we first started out, I’d make the plans for each project and we’d buy only what we needed.

In those first few months, we’d only get an order or two each month and there was no guarantee that we’d get another order, or, if we did, when that order would come. We weren’t charging a lot either and so we really couldn’t spare any of the profit to buy extra materials for a project we didn’t even have yet. We had to make rent, we had to save as much as we possibly could.

Now, all of a sudden here we are, a few

months into COVID, buying 50 2x4s, 25 pounds of screws, 8 pounds of rags at a time, gallons of stain because we knew that we’d use them. That was a huge indicator, for me, that Path was actually growing.

Buying in bulk and taking on these bigger projects proved to be a bit of a challenge with the Nissan. We had to get creative more than once. I’ll never forget driving into the lumber yard in that car, the looks we got from the guys in the yard like ‘what the hell do these two think they’re doing?’ - what could we possibly fit in that little thing? I’ll tell you what we could fit, exactly 14 2x8x8s with the trunk closed. That was enough for two tables and so that was good enough for me.

Once we started building hutches and servers, we were buying plywood, full 4x8 sheets. Initially, we’d make the plans beforehand and have the guys at Lowes cut it down for us. We only did this once or twice before realizing that their cuts were pretty off. We had a table saw, we might as well use it and so, from that point on, anytime we’d need a full sheet of plywood, we’d toss a moving blanket on the roof of the Nissan and each hang onto one side of it with our hands out the window which was miserable in the winter and take our turns nice and slow. Luckily, we didn’t have far to go.

We didn’t have direct access to outside from our shop. We were sort of an interior corner unit, we had a regular door and a bay door that opened up to the hallway. The adjacent hallway led to the side door which was our main access to outside. Now having so much more to unload each time we bought material or stocked up on supplies, walking everything down the hallway, around the corner and into our shop, one trip at a time, carrying only what we could fit in our two hands, wasn’t the most efficient thing to do.

It makes me think of our neighbor at the warehouse, Jon. God, what a guy. Jon was this rough and gruff guy from Staten Island who had been warehousing fine Italian furniture for 25 years. He told us, 'If you got wheels, use 'em.'

And so that prompted another change. We added casters to our main work table which not only made it easier to move around the shop, but now it acted as a massive dolly. Anytime we were bringing things in or moving stuff out, we’d load up the table and wheel it down the hallway. That was a big improvement for us.

The thing to maybe take from all this is if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to get it. We could’ve come up with a ton of excuses why we couldn’t do what we wanted to do. We didn’t have enough money to start a business, we didn’t have the right tools, we didn’t have a truck, we didn’t want to work in a place that didn’t have air conditioning. It’s all bullshit. I will absolutely take the Nissan to the lumber yard. I don’t care how ridiculous I look, I don’t care what other people think. I need wood and this is my only way of getting it.

If I have to wear two pairs of pants and a scarf to not freeze while I work in the winter, I’ll bundle up. It wasn’t always pretty or fun or efficient, but we didn’t want to make excuses, we wanted to make it work, so we did.


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