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Monday, August 18, 2014

Fall is right around the corner....and I had nothing to do with it!!!

Are you ready?? Is it just me...or does it seem like it's been Fall for weeks?

This has been one odd Summer! Don't get me wrong.... I am not complaining...we work in front of ovens all day long! But, still, it was a little bit of a let down, especially after the winter we had. Even parts of my garden didn't seem to know what to do. Quite a few of my flowers seemed slow to take off, the vegetables (and my birdhouse gourd) took their time setting fruit. Odd....

But....like it or not...Fall IS right around the corner!! And, contrary to what some might think, it isn't the retail communities fault!!

It has become something of a "sport"...bashing the retail world for the "rushing" of the seasons. Is there Halloween candy in the stores "already"? Yup....but, in all fairness, you don't have to buy it!! However...if you are one of the millions of people who adore candy corn...this is the ONLY time of year you can "get your fix". So...clearly....the stores are catering to YOU. Are the stores selling their Summer clothes at a reduced price...yup. Would it be smarter to sit on the inventory and hope that you, the consumer, won't notice that the same clothes are out next year?? Are the Fall and early Winter clothes taking their place on the racks...yup. Are you shopping for back to school?? Will you be purchasing shorts and tank tops...nope!

So....here we are....at the end of August...and the Fall and Halloween decorations are showing up, in the stores!! Is it "rushing" the season? Does time go faster when there are decorations and candy in the stores?? Should we be sad that Summer is coming to an end...or does it give us something to look forward to??

When it comes to decorating, especially Holiday decorating, the rules have changed. If Christmas is "your season"...it is socially acceptable to "skip" the turkey decorations and go straight to Santa Claus. If Halloween is "your thing" there is no reason in the world to put any plain pumpkins around...go Jack-O-Lanterns all the way!! I think part of this is everyone's busy schedule....I know that's why I do it!! I only have so much time to get the decorating done...and not a whole lot of time to enjoy my collections....so I decorate early!! That way I have time to enjoy each and every season as it comes!!

Unfortunately...I am noticing another change in the world...and it's not a good one!! Somewhere along the line...it has become "okay" to voice your opinion...even when it's really not appropriate!! What happened to common courtesy? With "if you don't have anything nice to say...don't say anything"?? Or...how about..."treat people the way YOU want to be treated"?? Once upon a time....all of these fell under the category of "manners"....something I think the world is sorely lacking!!!

Hey....I have opinions, too....lots of them!! I have disassociated myself from people that I think are caustic, I have fought "the system" more than once...(when there is injustice...someone needs to speak up) I have stopped going into businesses because I don't like the way they treat people...but I have never questioned why people do things differently than I do because, frankly, it's not my place...and none of my business!! With everyone on at least one (if not ALL of them) social website...there seems to be a whole lot of unsolicited opinion giving...unsolicited, unnecessary, unwanted...opinion giving. If you do the best you can...and treat people the way you would want to be treated...there is only one opinion that matters!!

So....stepping down from the soapbox....in conclusion...if you are ready for Fall, know that you are not alone!! Go out (YES....to Sweet Memories...we have the BEST selection...anywhere!!!!) and buy that new Halloween decoration, or grab a bag of that candy corn and sit poolside to enjoy it!! Life is just too short to care what "people" think...you are the only one you have to answer to...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Slow down??? Nah!!!!

Oh my....it has been TOO long...again!!

Generally speaking, in the world of retail and small business, there are two times during the year that are a little "slower". January and February....and July (that's, I believe, where the "Christmas in July" came from...an attempt to get the consumers into stores to spend money!!)

Thankfully....we are not, in any way shape or form, "typical!!!!! We don't really have any "slow" times (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!) we seem to be pretty steady (with amazing bursts of SOOO busy!!!!) all year long!!

However....during those times of the year that should be "slower"....I start to come up with BIG projects!!! It always seems that sometime in January, when we are supposed to be "recovering" (aka "resting") from the Holiday madness...I decide to redecorate or move every single piece of furniture in the whole shop!!! (My whole family will back me up, here!!!) And....July, especially THIS July, seems to be no exception!!

Not only did we repaint the entire front dining room...(and....I still have many, many, MORE projects that I want to get done!!) I have been rethinking the whole gift shop experience, too!! So....while for many....this month is all about relaxing and taking vacations...that is NOT what July is all about for me!!

Hopefully you had the chance to come in and see all of our redecorating in person....but, even if you did, make sure you come in again and again. There is a lot more magic up my sleeve!! And....Fall and Halloween are right around the corner!! This...our 20th year....is going to be one to remember!!! I hope you all come along for the ride!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ho, Ho, Holy Cow....20th year!!!

I cannot believe that the 4th of July has come and gone!! I hope you had a fun and relaxing Holiday...we certainly couldn't have asked for better weather!! I don't think I ever, ever remember wondering if I would need a sweatshirt before!!!

But....the Holiday is over...and now we can get down to business!!

This month marks the beginning of our twentieth year in business!! I'll bet there are a whole bunch of you, reading this right now, who can count yourselves among our "originals"!! Just remember...if you do...you are "dating" yourselves!! hahahaha....

There is no question about it....we have the best, most amazing customers!! We, basically, invite you into our (second) home and consider you to be our extended family!!

So....I wanted to thank you...somehow!!

I decided to have a "sale"....a Christmas in July!! Now...I am aware that this is, really, not all that earth shattering. Everyone...everywhere...has sales (and Christmas in July)! But, around here....we don't!! I spend a lot of time picking out the merchandise we carry. Everything we have is something I would have in my own home (and probably do....) I try to stock only the best, the most unique, decor and gifts. And, of course, Holidays....ALL of them....are a soft spot for me...which is why we have a reputation for the best selection...anywhere!! Usually....the merchandise moves...WELL....and the little that is "left" just gets packed and makes a return visit (and is, usually the first thing that sells....) the next time around!! I love everything we carry....so I have no problem getting to see it again. It's a lot like unpacking my favorite decorations, here at home!! Deciding to have a sale is a big thing....and I wanted to do it just right!!

Now....you all know I can't do anything the way "others" do....so...this is a "progressive" sale. What does that mean??? Each week I am adding more to the list of sale items. By the end of the month there will be all KINDS of stuff discounted!! Just trying to keep it FUN!! But....don't wait until the end of the month!! You don't want to miss anything!!

Visit....actually GO to...our Facebook page. I will let you know what is on sale each week. You know what....better yet, come in and see for yourself!! Not only will we have new things discounted....we have new things coming in all the time!! Treasure hunting....awaits!!!

Come in and start your Christmas shopping......or treat yourself!! Just remember...we REALLY appreciate your loyalty!! I think our twentieth year will be the best one yet!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I don't know about you...but I can't believe it is almost July!! It seemed as though we would NEVER leave Winter behind...and here we are at July's doorstep!! Well....time flies!!

July is the month that Summer really gets in full swing. It is the month that we sit back and enjoy. It is full of picnics, vacations and fun in the sun!! It is the month of fireworks and celebrations....and even a little bit of Christmas!!

And....on all of those notes...I have a few announcements to make!!

First of all....all of you "regulars" know that we, usually, take a little time off somewhere around the 4th of July. You have been calling to find out when we will be closed, this year...so I thought I would make an "official" announcement. We are going to be closed the 4th and the 5th....Friday (sorry all of you "Friday Night Regulars"!!!!) and Saturday...but then we will be back to serve Sunday Brunch to finish off the Holiday weekend!!! Friday Night Gang....make a reservation and come in on Sunday...If you all come at the same time...it will, almost, be the same!!!

Okay...second announcement!! We are, momentarily, going to be awarded ANOTHER "Best Lunch" award by another magazine!! Both of these honors were bestowed upon us by YOU....you guys were the ones who voted and we just can't thank you enough!! I just wish there were some way that I could show my appreciation!! Oh wait....

Announcement number three....We are going to celebrate!!! I don't know if all of you are aware of this...but we will be starting our 20th year, next month!!! If you don't believe me....just ask to see the picture of my daughters sitting on the front porch...and then take a look at them now!! So....HOW are we going to celebrate?? Christmas in July!!!

Now...just what does that mean?? Well....we are NOT going to decorate or play Christmas music (although I really, REALLY want to!!!!) We are going to give back...and have a sale or two! I know there are a lot of you who DO your Christmas shopping during the Summer...I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had, recently, about this!! So....for you guys....this will give you the opportunity to find some wonderful gifts and save a little money!! I, also, know there are a lot of you who want lots and lots of our "gift shop treasures" for yourself!! So...this will give YOU the opportunity to find some wonderful "me gifts" and save a little money!!!!

So, basically, it's not the "normal" Christmas in July. It's more like the real thing!! We just want to say "thank you"!! Thank you for the accolades...the awards...the compliments...the friendships...and your continued business!! Thank you all for being so wonderful to my family and I....and for making Sweet Memories the success it is!!

I wanted to have some fun with this....so I am going to put different things on sale each week!! And not the "I want to get rid of it" stuff....we are talking the "good stuff"....wait....I hope you think it is ALL the good stuff!!!! But you know what I mean!! I will keep you posted...so stay tuned!! Oh...and you might want to keep some of your July calendar clear....you don't want to miss anything!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Here comes Summer....

So...are you ready?

Summer is right around the corner...are you ready for it?

Gardens all planted...patio furniture clean...mulching done....all those little (or big) maintenance jobs (that the Winter caused) taken care of???

Yes...that's what we have been doing, too!! If it seems like I have neglected my blogging duties...now you know why!!

Around here....this time of year is about much, much more than getting ready for Summer....we are, also, getting ready for Fall and Christmas!! Most of my merchandise orders (including candy!!!!) are in...and quite a bit of the merchandise has, actually, already arrived ( NOT the candy!!!)!! I have a few more orders to place....and lots and lots of planning to do!!! It's one of the things I do when I am "relaxing" (hahaha....you all know I don't know HOW to do that!!!!) in the Summer!!We have BIG plans....hopefully ALL of them work out!!!

It's a strange life...but I am very lucky to get to do it!!

I love my store...and all of my customers...and I love what I get to do "for a living"!! Not everyone can say that!! The last couple of weeks I have been meeting with my "Reps"...to get all of the merchandise ordered for Fall and Christmas...and, whenever I do, they all tell me how lucky we are to be so busy....but I know that!! I know how lucky we are to have such wonderful, loyal, amazing clientele...and how lucky we are to be able to call SO many of them friends!!

And....right now on the newsstands...there is a magazine with a picture of us (wonderful of my daughters...hideous of me!! Hahahaha....) under the heading "Best Girl's Lunch" which proves HOW amazing our clientele is...because your votes got us there!!

I tried to "deflect" the spotlight with humor, when I posted this news on my Facebook page...it didn't work the way I wanted it to....you just can't explain things or use a lot of words on Facebook!!! I wasn't trying to boast...or make a big deal out of it...I was just trying to say "thank you"!! Thank you for loving our food...thank you for loving our baked goods...thank you for loving our merchandise...thank you for loving US and for being our friends!!!

While you are enjoying your Summer....relaxing and basking in the sunshine (that we deserve after that Winter we had!!!!) know that we are coming up with new ideas...ordering the very BEST new Halloween and Christmas merchandise EVER....and working very, very hard to continue to be the place you love....who knows...we might even get to be in another magazine very soon...hint, hint, wink, wink!!!!!!!!

Hey.....Happy Summer!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Garden Magic....

What is your definition of a garden??

For most people I think it would be neat and tidy rows of vegetables...which I appreciate...but that would not be my definition.

My gardens...are my happy place. They are where I can relax and refocus. They are magical...

There were times, this past Winter, when I wasn't sure we would ever see Spring!! When I would look out my window and see nothing but white...and cold....and yuck!! It was depressing, to say the least!! But....Spring has arrived...and it is even sweeter because of all of the "suffering"!!

When we bought our house...there were no gardens...actually, there wasn't anything!! I had a vision...I wanted an herb garden, and old-fashioned flowers. I wanted fruit trees and vegetables all mixed together with flowers...a "kitchen garden". I wanted something above and beyond the normal foundation plantings...and rows of vegetables!! I, also, wanted a bird and wildlife sanctuary (you should, sometimes, be careful what you wish for!!!) all of which....we now have!!

It's a lot of work....and people, often, ask me why we want to spend our "off" time....which is so rare to begin with...working!! The answer....basically...is that we love it!!

There is something really special about a garden....and it doesn't matter what "kind" you have!! Manicured lawns and perfectly pruned bushes...rows and rows of vegetables...containers on a balcony....plants on a windowsill!! All of them...give back!!

We have a tree...a really BIG tree...that I, along with my Grandmother, transplanted. She and I walked and walked in the woods, behind her house, and found a tulip poplar...about three feet tall. We planted it in the yard...and my Grandfather proceeded to back over it!! It survived...and is thriving!! I have lilac bushes, rose of sharon bushes, lily of the valley, feverfew, bee balm and evening primrose....all that she "shared" with me!!

Every time I see them....or, in the case of the lily of the valley and lilacs, smell them...she is right there, in the garden, with me!! When my youngest turned 5, we had a "garden party" birthday party. I took all of those 5 year old kids on a tour of the gardens...let them touch, and smell, the herbs..and showed them where the fairies and gnomes lived! Our gardens have hosted many, many picnics, prom pictures, a bridal shower, three garden tours...and, last Summer, my daughter's wedding. Like I said....magical!!

For some...Summer is all about vacations, sitting and relaxing, taking it easy!! For me....it's all about spending time in my yard...and enjoying what all of my hard work "gives back"...the sights, the smells, the produce, the birds...the sweet memories!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Customer service.....

There are so many things to think about when you decide to start a business. Type of business, location, hours of operation. Once you narrow all of that down...you have to think about what you are trying to do...for example...you decide to open an antique store...should it be "fine" antiques or cool, funky stuff. Should you do consignment or have all of the inventory be your responsibility. What image are you trying to project...what paint colors and window treatments best "fit" that image?? The list goes on and on...

Of course....from a business standpoint...I think the smart thing is to be original and set yourself apart but that comes with risks...will people like what you are doing?? Will the customers come?? Will all of the work...the worry...be worth it??

Well...in our case...yes!!

We will start our 20th year, this July....20!!! Hard to believe!! I look back on all of the decisions I had to make...and still have to make...and I wouldn't change anything!! Each and every step we have taken has made us who we are...and brought all of you into our lives!! Everyone knows that customer service is important, but customer relationships are a part of the business that, kind of, takes you by surprise!! And...to be honest...it's really the best part of owning a small business!!

In this day and age of EVERYTHING being online...from bill paying to house hunting...from watching movies to making purchases...to "meeting" people?!?...relationships (real ones) are more valuable than ever! We are not just a click away...the Sweet Memories experience is one that we work VERY hard to make...and keep...tactile. I communicate with you here...on my blog...and (try anyway..) to stay on top of Facebook!! It's fun...and it adds another element to the customer service experience. But it doesn't replace the real thing...thank goodness!!

We have watched couples become families, little ones grow up and many of you reach milestones. We have, essentially, become part of a HUGE family!! To be honest...we consider most of YOU to be "more family" than some people we are "related" to!!!! It's so nice to watch the relationships...and interaction...between our "regulars" and my daughters. The birthday cards and Christmas cards...what an amazing thing!! I cannot tell you how many of you are like their "other" parents and surrogate grandparents!!

While...on the one hand...it IS the best part of small business ownership...it can, also, be the hardest. We have lost quite a few wonderful people...and we had to say goodbye, this weekend, to one of the sweetest!!

Losing people is a part of life...and inevitable when your "family" is as big as ours!!

Customer service...sure, it's important...but, around here, making you part of our family is what we strive for....even when it's hard!!