What’s new

Since I finally have had a few minutes to catch up on the blog posts, what’s new around the shop? In addition to the goodies from market I posted about earlier, we have added more sweet treats. The sweetest treat of all are the hand made chocolates, granolas and hard candies. Early favorites are the stick pretzles dipped in white chocolate and the peanut clusters. Our pretzles come in both regular and white chocolate, plain and dipped in nuts. If my son had his way, he’d be the only one eating these. Other delightful treats are the Haystacks, Turtles, Peanut Brittle and of course the Peanut Clusters. Hand made in Ohio by the Amish, I can personally vouch on the tastiness of all of them.

The granola is also hand made by Ohio Amish. My personal favorite is the Maple Grandola. Discovered at the January market, I had to add it to the shop. We have reordered this several times already as it is a favorite with our customers. With milk or dry as a snack, the granola makes a nice healthy snack. We add it to yougart as well as our smoothies around the shop.

Another new item for the shop is jewelry. We have found some lovely necklace and earring sets that are reasonably priced and made well. I can’t keep a favorite any length of time as they are quickly leaving the shop. These and the handbags we have added are a colorful way to update your wardrobe. Either one would make a nice Mothers Day gift as well.

Things around the shop are always changing. I tell everybody I get board easily so am always looking for something new. And it’s true.. every few weeks I feel the need to get something new in and redo the shop. I hope to go to market out east in the fall just to get some things not normally found in the area in time for Christmas. We are also planning some fun events in the Fall as we come into the holiday season.

 

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Published in: on April 14, 2008 at 1:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Spring has sprung.. sorta

The new year has come and gone and Spring is trying to get here. We had 2 absolutely beautiful days in the 70’s this past week and then here it is again Winter with sleet and flurries. YECH! I did get 4 pots bought and planted for the front of the shop. Being from Texas I am used to seeing flowers by now so the Pansies are giving me the color I am wanting to see. Inside the shop I have been enjoying Irises, Pansies, Lilacs and other Spring favorites. Combine that with one of our floral scented candles or melts and you can almost forget Winter. They have been a nice contrast to the snow and yuck that has been outside.

In January, a trip to market brought some new items to the shop. Instant favorites were the lights I picked up. Large canning jars and glass cyliners with a light, rusty stars and primitive fixings make a wonderful addition to any room. I bought the last few the vendor had and sold them in two days. So this last trip to market I made sure to get more. Our flicker bulbs are delightful in the cylinder lights, giving any room they are placed in a warm and cozy atmosphere. The larger canning jar takes a different light bulb and we have a larger silicon bulb that looks awsome in this light.

Another instant favorite from market is the Beeswax dipped tapers. Two double A batteries will give you 600 to 700 hours of light from the flicker LED bulb. Sized to fit all our candlesticks and candelabras, they give you the feel of candlelight with the worry of an open flame. This is especially nice when they are used in the candelabras overhead. Combine these tapers with a candle holder and a Pip Berry ring and you have a great accent for any place in your home. And, since we make wax products here, we decided to wax dip our own tapers. Our version is bumpier and tripple dipped to give it a more rustic and primitive look. Currently only available in a dark brown, in time we will offer a lighter version in tan and gold.

Published in: on April 13, 2008 at 11:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Open House 2007

Our first Open House was the same day as the Cristmas Around the Square craft show at the Courthouse. I had done that show as a vendor with my candle company and found the turnout to be great. The Saturday after Thanksgiving finds many out starting their holiday shopping. Wanting to take advantage of the crowd that would be there for the show, we scheduled the open house for that day as well.

We carry a delightful line of dips made by Dippy Chick. I loved the name and and thought they would be a nice addition to the shop. After making several of them up, I found them to be delicious. The Open House favorites were ‘Getting Piggy Widdit’ and ‘Jump, Chive and Wail’. Getting Piggy Widdit combines the great tastes of bacon and onion. Two great tastes combined together in one yummy treat. Our other favorite,  Jump, Chive and Wail is a classic onion dip with the addition of toasted onion and chive. This dip is great with any food at any time of the year. The empty dishes tell me I’m not the only one that enjoyed them.

Another tasty treat was the cider. The Gourmet Mulling Spice mix can be added to any juice for a little spice. We added ours to a cranberry apple juice and it was incredible. It is really nice in a cup of tea as well. The lady that makes the mix says the best way to use the spices is in a cake recipe included on the package. I have yet to try it that way but will make some up for our events next year. It has been voted by QVC as one of the top 25 gourmet items in Alabama. We also carry their Origional Dip Cheeseball mix that can be quickly made for guests or munching. These gourmet items make a wonderful addition to holiday traditions as well as tasty gifts.

We opened the doors and had wall to wall people all day. There was such an excitement with people starting their holiday shopping. Many ladies mentioned they found many things they wanted for themselves while shopping for others. Hopefully they were good girls and Santa comes by to pick up their gifts. Many [25]years ago I had worked at a KMart over the Christmas holiday and it wasn’t near the fun this was. I had extra help and my son was working too. Helping at the checkout and carrying packages to the cars kept him busy all day. I think he enjoys the shop almost as much as I do.

We closed the doors and sat down for a much needed rest. The shop needed to be reworked before we opened again but we were thrilled with the success of the event. I will spend some time in the coming weeks deciding what we need to do again next year and what we need to change. Time to get a notebook.

Published in: on April 13, 2008 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fall Fest 2007

With all the long hours getting the shop ready to open, I thought once we were open things would settle down. But that would not be the case. With an opening in September we had our Fall Fest on the horizion. A Chili Contest for a local charity made the afternoon a fun event. Finding the time to plan the event and run a business turned into a challenge. Our downtown merchants were putting the event on, but they too had businesses to run. We scheduled meetings, decided what needed done then did our best to pull the event together and keep our own businesses going.

Inventory was my big issues. I wanted the shop to look full yet not be crowded. I felt my inventory at opening was a bit light so was trying to build it up. I was amazed at the amount of merchandise it was taking to get the look I wanted. I also needed more fixtures to display the items I was buying. I bought unique older pieces when I could find them and added other hand made pieces as the need developed. Every area of the shop was looked at for merchandise turnover. Some displays were better for certain types of merchandise than others. I found myself constantly looking at displays in other shops and magazines for ideas and inspiration. I had much to learn.

The day of our Fall Fest was beautiful and after a few issues with tripping breakers, we got the chili cooking. Streets had been closed off for some street dancing and the craft show. It was also the final day of our Farmers Market. Lesson learned was have lots of help! Trying to cook chili and run the store kept me busy. Though I did have some extra people there, I hadn’t got to the place of being comfortable with someone behind the register so tried to do it all. Next year the event will be planned further in advance and I have some wonderful people that not only can work the shop, but are great cooks. Not a bad combination when you are trying to win a trophy.

Published in: on April 13, 2008 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Finally Open

Where did time go? We got notice they were ready to close on the building and everything started to blur. The day we closed we started to knock down walls. The dream was becoming a reality! It felt like so much got done. It was the last time I would feel that way.

The building had 2 inside office rooms. We knocked down parts of the walls and made doors from one office to the other to make a loop through the shop. It gave a more open feel yet kept some neat nooks and crannies that still felt cozy. After walls were down we had to refinish the edges and rip out carpeting. 

Because the ceiling was stained in places, we decided to paint the ceiling. I had decided on a very dark charcol gray.. like an aged black. Based on square footage we bought 4 gallons of paint. Into a paint sprayer it went and the fun began. What a mess! My husband looked like a gorilla and the overspray went everywhere. And, 4 gallons was just the beginning. The paint sprayer was clogging every few minutes and needed to be cleaned. We were constantly having to adjust the spray and much of the paint seemed to be going every where but the ceiling. We were out of paint and about half way through so bought 4 more. That finished the ceiling so we cleaned up and went home. The next day revealed white showing through the black. A call to the paint manufacturer found we could add water the the paint to thin it out. Two ounces in a gallon and the sprayer worked wonderfully. The thinner spray also penetrated up into the textured ceiling tiles and gave much better coverage.

Now we are over time and budget. Still have the walls to paint and the carpet to install. After waiting for the carpet to finally get here, the day before it was to be installed we had above average rains. My installer woke up to waist deep water in his yard and truck. The other crew was on another job so we had another delay. The Grand  Opening was fast approaching and we were running out of time. Long hours and lack of sleep were becomming the norm around our house. I kept thinking I’d get a break after we opened.

The fun part finally started.. buying merchandise and displays. A few road trips and phone calls and all the goodies stared coming in. Opening was coming fast so some wonderful frineds showed up and helped with the pricing and getting everything displayed. I was now beyond stress and excitement. Slowly but surely everything came together.

The big day finally arrived. We had a ribbon cutting and lots of people in. The shop looked nothing like what it had been only 8 weeks ago. The late nights and hard work were so worth it. I was now a shop ower and on a wonderful adventure.

Published in: on April 13, 2008 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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