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Shirley was taking art classes from a shop in Yorktown in late 1982.  The owner of the shop was needing a supply of wood products to be painted upon by her students and customers.  Walt, Jr.  began making simple wood items for this shop in November 1982 with his meager equipment in the attached garage at the 450S House.  This turned into a small business and besides selling to the art shop in Yorktown they began setting up at craft shows in various cities and selling an expanded line of wood products.  Eventually this business expanded to the point that the wood shop was moved to the unattached garage with some new and larger equipment being purchased.  S7,
The Art Shop in Yorktown was closing and an agreement was reached that the owner would become an instructor for us when we opened the What Knot Shop in our attached garage at the 450S House.  Many of the instructor's students came to us out in the country.  We remodeled the garage to accommodate the business - we added pegboard on some of the walls - built wood shelves along one wall and built a wall in front of the overhead garage door which was used to display frames and other products.  The Business was growing and there was no air conditioning nor heat in the garage so we decided to look for a building more suitable for the business.  S7,
We found a perfect location in a business building located on the southeast corner of 9th and Batavia in Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana  (1835 W. 9th St).  We moved to this location on 3 Oct 1984 and the sign went up on the Batavia side of the building on 8 Dec 1984.  This building had one large room with windows facing both 9th Street and Batavia.  There were also 2 or 3 smaller rooms to the back that we used for classrooms, plus it had a large storage room behind the classrooms.  The business did well, we had 2 and sometimes 3 instructors teaching painting classes.  We continued to sell at art and craft shows as time permitted.  S7,
At the new location we hired an employee, our daughter Kelly since we both worked full-time jobs during the day.  We did some radio advertising on WMDH Radio and some print marketing as well.  This building did not have air conditioning and the heat was kind of iffy.  We did some work on the classrooms to insulate them and put down carpet throughout in an attempt to make it more comfortable.  This helped but when summer came it was obvious that without air conditioning we would not be able to keep the building comfortable for us or our customers and students.  S7, S8,
We leased space in the Loft Area of the Mall Shoppes at 800 E McGalliard Rd, Unit 12B, east of the Muncie Mall and opened on 5 Aug 1985.  This was a new two-story building and the space was developed to our specifications with a large showroom and 2 good sized classrooms plus a small room for a microwave, refrigerator, etc.  The business was accessed by either climbing the stairs or using the elevator.  Our grand plans were dashed when our customer base did not follow us to the new location.  The overhead at the new location were significantly increased, but the revenue was just not there.  Hindsight showed us that we had been better off in our former location, but it was too late - we were committed to a lease.  We even tried increasing our hours and being open on Sundays to no avail.  We lost students, customers and finally our instructors.  We closed the store in April 1986 and finally settled the lease in July 1986.  S7,
-  Aug 1985:  purchased 3' x 12' Electric sign ($1800) - (WCR, Jr. Journal, May 1986)  Doc2494.pdf
We moved the inventory and business back to the attached garage at the 450S house, but it was too late.  We closed the What Knot Shop for good on 31 Aug 1986.  S7, (WCR, Jr. Journal, Apr 1986 - Doc2492.pdf),
-  Settled lease amount and ended our association with the Mall Shoppes - Doc2996.pdf
A fire destroyed The Mall Shoppes on 21 Oct 1987 [S1, S2, S3, S4, S5].  The section which the What Knot Shop had occupied was completely destroyed.  The building was later rebuilt but is now only a one-story building with different construction techniques being used.

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Source Citation

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S1 "Mall Shoppes heavily damaged by fire"  Muncie Evening Press (Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana), 21 Oct 1987, page 1.  Acc000978  
S2 "Blaze Leaves Retail Shops in Rubble"  Muncie Star (Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana), 22 Oct 1987, page 1.  Acc000978  
S3 "After the Blaze"  Muncie Star (Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana), 23 Oct 1987.  Acc000978  
S4 "Not an Easy Job"  Muncie Star (Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana), 24 Oct 1987.  Photo of postal worker attempting to deliver mail at the Mall Shoppes.  Acc000978  
S5 "No Decision Yet on Rebuilding:  Mall II Within Fire Codes, Inspector Says"  Muncie Star (Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana), 1 Nov 1987.  Acc000978  
S6 Wood Products, 1982 Doc0814.pdf
S7 Document: "The What-Knot Shop Story", by Walt Robbins, Jr., ID0001, written 18 Aug 2012. Acc000659/ Doc0979-B.pdf Doc0979-B.pdf
S8 Audio Recording of Radio Commercials created for the What Knot Shop, 1985, WMDH Radio. Acc000531/Acc000531A.mp3  
S9 Advertising piece - Acc001170/Doc2332.pdf  
S10 Misc. Forms for What Knot Shop
1. Invoice
2. Consignment Contract
3. Credit Report, Dec 1984
S11 Photos of the What Knot Shop at the Mall Shoppes, 1985 - Ph8755-008.jpg Album


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