Wall of Hope

Spreading positivity, one sticky note at a time

By Jodi Werner Greenwald | Photo by Raymond J Photography

T.J. Ciesiolka is the manager of Smoothie King in Ballantyne Village. At the start of the pandemic, he left out sticky notes for guests to write messages and hung them around the store. Since then, the display has extended down the internal hallway beside Smoothie King. Thousands of notes have become a colorful wave of positive energy. Ciesiolka welcomes all guests to add their expressions to the collection.

How did the wall get started?

A friend of mine was doing it at a coffee shop, putting sticky notes on the wall there, and I thought it was very nice to add some positivity. I stuck it up on our sneeze guard at first, but then corporate said we couldn’t do that. So, instead, I stuck them out in our hallway because there was a big blank blue wall, and everyone [loved] it. It started probably around the beginning of 2020, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

For how long will the display stay up?

Pretty much until someone tells me to take it down. I’m sure there will be a day when they need to paint in there, or they tell me we can’t put it that far down, and we’ll have to take them down. But for now, everyone seems to be enjoying them.

How does the process work?

I have little sticky notes inside the office. I let people write on them with dry-erase markers and stick them up on our glass [door]. When our door gets full, I take [them all] down and put them up in the hallway with a ladder.

What is your favorite note?

I like the children’s art. It shows their creativity, and usually, their parents are really encouraging about it. Sometimes it’s just a blob or a scribble, or they’ll write on the wrong side, but I always like those. It’s like sticking art up on your refrigerator, except now it’s out in the hallway for everyone to see.

Tell us about yourself.

I live in Matthews, but I’ve been working here for about 13 years. I’ve been manager for about seven. I just like to make it a positive environment for both guests and team members, and a little extra decoration never hurts with that.

How many notes are there?

There’s gotta be about 2,000. One day, I’ll take a count and figure that out. But I’m glad to get some word out. Maybe people will come by and put their note up there and add it to the total.

See Yourself Here?

Share your creative projects and you could be featured on this page. Contact Jodi Greenwald at editor@ballantynemagazine.com.