Monday, March 30, 2015
I know...Monday is not usually a favorite...but it is our only day off!! We had one very, very busy week...and I need a little break to gear up for the week ahead!!
Don't misunderstand...I have projects to do today...they just don't involve butter and sugar! Hahaha....
I am, officially, booked for my Easter orders. I would like to explain what that means. I am the only one who bakes...I have help...but, I am the one who does the baking. I know, especially after doing this for 27 years, what my limitations are! In addition to the responsibility of having all of the orders done on time...I have the responsibility of keeping the bakery case nice and full for any walk-in purchases as well as the restaurant patrons. A responsibility that I take very seriously....because our customers take their goodies very seriously (teeheehee...)
In addition to this being Easter week...it, also, contains April Fool's Day...which, around Sweet Memories anyway, is a fun "cupcake Holiday"!!! So, while I am totally ready to bake those adorable Easter treats...I need to take a short side trip and get those "not what they seem" cupcakes ready for you, too!!
There is a reason that I am explaining all of this...basically...we are not like everyone else!! And that is the way we like it! I am sure "other" bakeries have no problem taking as many orders as possible...because "other" bakeries have methods in place to accomplish that. We are a small-batch "boutique" bakery (I saw that phrase somewhere, one time, and thought it was a great way to describe us!!) and I bake just like I would if I were baking at home. (I am pretty sure that's one of the reasons that we are SO busy...which makes me very happy!!)
Now...the reason for this explanation...
We have had a ton...and I mean a TON...of new customers "discover" us, recently. And, as you all know, "new" tends to mean you are "learning" the way things are done!! So....I thought a little "refresher course" (or brand new lesson...depending on your "newness" level haha...) would be a good idea!!
There is a lot going on behind the purple door at Sweet Memories (I have been thinking about changing the color, by the way, any thoughts???) we are a restaurant (also small batch, homemade cooking!!!) and reservations are ALWAYS suggested. Okay...I hear all of our "seasoned" (see how I used that cooking term??) patrons saying..."not on a Friday Night"...which is true. Friday Nights we are trying to keep it casual...just come on in!! But...for all of our Lunch, and our Sunday Brunch, services those reservations are a great idea...we TAKE walk-ins...but, if there are no seats left...well, you get the picture!! Now...we are, also, a "walk-in" bakery AND an amazingly wonderful, unique and creative gift shop...(a little horn tooting...) when we say we are OPEN from 10:00 to 5:00...that is the bakery and gift shops. You can come in at 10:00 and shop for whatever your little heart desires...or grab a cup of coffee or tea and a sweet something from the bakery...and those wonderful options apply in the afternoon, as well!! Our first LUNCH seating is at 11:00 and our last LUNCH seating is at 2:30....but we are open all afternoon...so eat (cake, cookies, brownies...) drink (strawberry lemonade, coffee, tea...) and shop til you drop!!!
We stop serving at 2:30 because..well, it's lunch...(as opposed to "Linner")...and it takes a little while to clean the kitchen and prep for the next day, as well as all of the chores that go into running the well oiled machine that is Sweet Memories! Please...by all means...come in at 3:00, make yourself all cozy with a treat and a friend, and enjoy!! Just save time for shopping....because you never know what amazingly awesome goodies you will find in the shops upstairs!!
And...for our last "lesson"...Sunday Night. We serve "Supper" (love that word!!) 2 nights a week. We picked Friday because we wanted something fun and relaxed. We wanted to serve "heartier" food that would appeal to the men folk in our fan club! (Not that you "guys" don't love lunch, too!!) But...Sunday...that's a whole different game. We wanted that old-fashioned, homemade, full of memories food that you enjoyed at your Grandmother's house on Sunday nights...(like the pot roast that we cooked all day, yesterday, that made the whole place smell like my MomMom's house!!) Now....THIS service...I NEED reservations!! I need to know whether we are cooking for 10 or 35. You know yourself how hard it is to judge the amount of food to cook for family gatherings...imagine if you weren't sure WHO (or how many) was coming!!!
Now...to re-cap...and clarify...we LOVE you guys...and we love, LOVE new customers...all we want is to make your experience with us wonderful!! We want to be your "Happy Place"! Your number one destination for treasures for yourself, your home and for that special gift! Your favorite, favorite bakery! And THE restaurant of choice. All we ask, in return, is that you show us some love, too. Call and make that reservation...call and cancel it, in advance, if something comes up...and please, please, please know that the "rules" are in place because we know what we're doing!!(20 years people...20!!!)
There will be a test on all of this later....so study, please!! (I have to say....even some of our regulars may not ace this...fess up...how many of you can't remember that you need a reservation on Sunday night....or think that we "close" at 2:30!!!!) If you have any questions...I am here for you...and would be more than happy to answer them!! Now....pencils ready...start taking notes!! (and, seriously now, any thoughts on changing that front door color??)
Monday, March 16, 2015
Our whole house is all decked out and ready to go...at least on the inside...and it makes me really, really happy!! There is nothing better than coming home after a long day and seeing all of the decorations...for whatever the season may be!!
When you look around our house you are looking at a whole lifetime of "gatherings". Big pieces, little pieces. Things that belonged to someone I loved....things that I have found along the way. Old, new...it doesn't really matter! What matters is whether or not it "spoke" to me.
I know that everyone tries to put a label on different decorating styles...urban chic and farmhouse are two of the newest...and that's fine. But, in my opinion, the only "style" in your house should be YOUR style! It shouldn't matter what the magazines are saying...it should only matter what your heart is telling you! If you love it...it will "match" what you already have. You will find a place for it...and not care in the slightest that you may have to "dust" it! If you are really lucky...your "gatherings" will tell a story...and will make you smile!!
I apply this philosophy to my home...but I, also, apply it to the shop. When I buy merchandise to sell in our gift shops...it has to speak to me. I don't care about the latest trends...or what is "in"...just whether or not it makes me smile. I have to believe that if it makes ME smile...it will make YOU smile, too. Hopefully, when you come shopping at Sweet Memories, you leave with new pieces of your story..."gatherings"...that help you make your house...your home!!
And...on that note...I am going to go do a little work at my "second home" and do some rearranging, change up a few displays and make room for all of the new merchandise that is on it's way!! Hopefully you can come "gathering" soon...there is nothing that makes me happier than watching fellow storytellers finding new things to take home...and knowing that we are a part of your story!!
Saturday, March 7, 2015
And then....we have ANOTHER one of these Winters!!! Just because I love to have my snowflakes and icicles hanging in the house doesn't mean I want them outside!!
Aside from the unbearable cold...this Winter has been very, very challenging!! When you own a small business...and count on seeing all of your wonderful customers...brutal weather conditions (which keep everyone from venturing out of their houses...) really hurt. Add to that the poor (really, really poor...) road and parking conditions...and it becomes a real problem. I know a few businesses that didn't survive last Winter...which is heartbreaking!
But there have been many other challenges, as well!! We had a small (but quite expensive!!!) frozen pipe issue. The first time in 20 years THAT ever happened!! I just got my whopping heating bill. And...though completely unrelated to the weather conditions...we had that car "visit" our front porch. I am sure you saw the picture in the paper...if you missed it...my daughter took some great shots on her phone...she will be happy to show you!! I took my time commenting on this particular challenge because...well...I was trying to come to terms with the whole thing...still not sure I have achieved that!!
The reason I brought it up, now???...it's time to take the bull by the horns. It's time to come out of hibernation. Clean the house...decorate for Spring and Easter!! Go out to lunch with the friends you haven't seen since Christmas (and, of course, you know where to meet them...and SHOP for Spring and Easter decorations, too!!) and it's time to start planning your garden.
There are so many things, in life, that we just have no control over....so I choose to focus on the things that I CAN control. I spent a couple days worrying about what damage was done to my gardens (the porch will be taken care of...we have a great contractor...) when the car came "visiting"...I am pretty sure there is quite a bit but, with the snow and frozen ground, it's hard to tell. I ALWAYS need to have a plan...especially when there is a problem...and this situation was totally out of my control!! I know we have to replace the fence, the arbor, a few planters, some furniture...those were the things (or remnants of the things...) I could see! But...the plants, themselves?? So...last week, while I was decorating our house, with a Springtime song in my heart..(actually...it's a lot of work...there were no songs!!) I made a decision. I am not going to worry about what didn't survive the "visit"....instead...I am going to completely redesign and rework the front garden and embrace the changes!! If my clematis, rose bush, thyme, lavender, hydrangea etc....survive...I will find a place for them in my new design!!
One of our customers said that I need to have projects all the time..which is true...but, I prefer to have them on my terms. Now...this "thing" that we had absolutely nothing to do with...IS on my terms...and I am excited to get this project started!!
The snowmen are packed, the Spring and Easter is out, the sun is shining and the promise of warmER temperatures is in the forecast....and I have a project...let's get this party started!!!