The Shop seen December 2011

The Shop seen December 2011
Your home away from home
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Latest Developments

The sign lettering arrived from the company in Lake City - took four days to travel 35 miles. Thank you, Post Office. Next we have had the milk delivery and the first big delivery from a distributor (two more to come next week). Now we are pricing and shelving. One expert told me it would normally take a month to get everything priced and shelved. We'll be open on Monday, but we won't have a full shop until the end of the week. That's just as well, because we haven't got our POS terminal and scale yet, nor our credit card processing (I've been looking for the best deal) so next week will be strictly cash. But cash is king, right. By next weekend we'll be a fully functioning organic shop. So far, we've sold a gallon of milk and a box of crackers, and nine people have asked us for jobs. They'd have a better chance of getting a job if they bought something! Oh yeah, almost forgot, the local beekeeper came by and left some local honey. Local honey is the best honey..there is a whole science about that. Finally, got the stereo from the living room set up (no one was listening to it anyway) so we have music for the customers. I think a few Frank Zappa songs from the album Weasels Ripped my Flesh will put customers in a buying mood.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Health Department Issues Permit

Today the inspector from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services gave us an overall rating of GOOD and issued our permit. When we receive our occupancy license from City of Alachua in a few days, we will be all set. Accordingly, we are planning on opening February 1st. Our first food and milk deliveries are arriving this week! I ordered a telephone line for the credit card machine and signed with a processing company. Tomorrow I'll get a till and a credit card machine. Soon....

Friday, January 22, 2010

Latest Progress Update

All the new plumbing is "roughed is" and City of Alachua inspects that today, then the plumber finishes it off. To sell food we have to have a big three-compartment sink, a hand washing sink, a mop sink, and a sink in the bathroom. (I wanted to just use a hose out back the they only laughed at me.) That is five sinks! We also needed to install a new toilet seat to meet Department standards. Because the existing toilet is old and there is no proper seat available in that size, we had to get a completely new toilet, along with the required seat. Then, the inspector from the Department of Agriculture (yes, I'm not making this up) came by to inspect (Thursday). He's coming back Monday afternoon. If we have the fridges in and the plumbing done, he'll pass us and issue out permit to sell food. He said we had a high standard. Celine is paying for the three-door True Fridge and two-door True Freezer today, and they'll be delivered this afternoon. We had to wait for the credit card statement to cycle, so we have 55 days before we have to pay off the card, and today is the day! Now, once we have the Dept of Ag permit, then we can get the City of Alachua occupation license, and then we can trade - after we register for sales tax with the Department of Revenue. Oh yeah, we've also ordered pre-cut vinyl lettering (believe it or not, the typeface we picked is called "Christmas on Crack" - let us know what you think when you see it). Now we're moving into the phase of actually stocking the shop with product. We start doing this next week. We need to hear requests from people.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Final Stretch

Monday works in mysterious ways! The shelving is in, the sink room is almost ready (a three-compartment sink is a legal requirement in Florida if you sell food). Sara has finished with the entrance tiles, and the freezer and fridge are coming Friday. We are placing our first orders with distributors, so we can open February 1st. Still working about that pesky POS thingy and those pirate credit card processing companies. Now I know where used car salesmen go when they die! There is a lot of interest in the shop. People walk in off the street everyday and ask about it. Not much happens in Alachua!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekend Warriors

There is a lot of progress now! The shelving is almost up. We were lucky to buy what is known as gondola shelving (it's what most supermarkets use) at an outrageously cheap price from a liquidation. Keshava and I have become expert at installing it. Today (Saturday) we dragooned Mohini. Boy, can that girl moan...that's why I named her Moan-hini. After a few hours she began to slave away without complaining. I don't know what those kids have to complain about; I promised they would get food and water eventually. There is one tee-shirt that says, "The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves." I think I want to get that tee-shirt.

Have been looking at what we want for a point of sale system (POS). There are a lot of all-singing, all-dancing POS products on the market, from $2500 to $5000. Sure, I would like a great computerized system, but the problem is, every penny we spend on POS is a penny we can't spend on product to stock the shelves. It's like, "Sorry, we don't have any food in our store, but would you like to see our new POS system?"

We are planning to open February 1st...we hope!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Work Continues Still!!!

Floor is going down. Tile at doorway is done (still needs grouting). Paint and lights. Still have to install three-compartment sink, utility sink, new toilet and hot water (but have the permit). Main floor is halfway in - will be finished today. We'll move in the used shelving from Tuesday, and then mount the bins. The cashiers desk is done (hand-made by Celine) but we don't have a POS system or credit card processing yet. If you think used car salesmen are sharks, try dealing with credit card processing salesmen! I'm driving down to Leesburg today to pick up a used coffee grinder. Have used fridge and freezer (called glass-door merchandisers) lined up for the 19th, but am on the lookout for a better deal. Still need to make a sign. Had hoped to open by the 18th or so, but looks like Feb 1st is more likely.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Trip to Quakertown

We needed bulk food bins. Now, for some reason, these things are hideously expensive. New, they are $80 and up, excluding accessories, freight and sales tax. We've had quotes for $10,000! So, ever resourceful, found a spice shop in Quakertown PA closing, and made a deal to buy their almost-new bins for $4000. The only catch; Quakertown is between 950 and 1050 miles away, depending on your route. Never one to take a short route when a long one would do, Mohini and I stripped the seats out of the Odyssey van and launched ourselves on the Shenandoah Valley I-77/I-81 route, longer but you avoid Washington DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia, and a lot of tolls. The only catch was it snowed int he mountains, which Mohini loved because she had only seen snow once in 2001 when she was 10. Naturally I didn't have a coat or gloves, so when Moh pelted me with snow I was defenseless. On the way back she made me stop in VA for an afternoon of shiing (and I have a massive bruise on my butt to prove it). Made it home asfe and sound Saturday night after a 12 hour drive from Richmond, a total of 2200 miles round trip. I hope it was worth it. Meanwhile, the floor in the shop has been repaired, new nights have gone in, and painting is going on. More to come!