The long, hot summer is finally over. Goodbye sky-high electric bills! Now we can have our doors wide open again...at least until it gets cold!
Sadie the attack cat has had to go back home. Everyone (especially the kids) loved her, as she's a real people cat, but Jenny developed a allergy to cats. After long and careful thought, we decided Jenny was more important to us than the cat (but it was close). Jenny helpfully pointed out the cat was more important than me, and customers liked the cat better as well.
You may already know Radhika's vegetarian cafe has closed, and is now up for sale. Although we had no connection to Radhika's, it was cool having a vegetarian cafe in town. Radhika's opened in April 2010.
Now that there is a veggie-cafe void in the area (Book Lovers Cafe in Gainesville has also closed), we're contemplating opening a self-serve cafe in our shop. Here is how we plan to do it:
First, we take the existing tables outside, and add three new table sets inside (comfortable ones). Then we install a combination convection/microwave oven on a new counter. We know a lot of our customers don't like microwaves (including us) but the convection/microwave oven is the only way to go if you want to cook a pizza in two minutes, while the convection oven part makes things crispy. These are the same ovens Subway and many convenience stores use. Otherwise it takes like 15 or 20 minutes to cook a pizza. Imagine four customers having to wait in line while each one cooks a 15 minute meal! An oven that does the work in three minutes is the answer.
We would increase the number of ready to eat frozen meals, pizzas, pot pies, burritos, Indian meals, french fries, etc. We already have a big selection of healthy soft drinks to go with your meal, and ice cream for desert.
The customer selects his or her meal, pays for it, and then goes to the oven to heat it. We supply plates, cups, spoons, condiments, etc. And...you don't have to tip.
Our concern is (1.) we don't want to take on more staff, and (2.) we do not have a license for a restaurant...we can only sell products prepared in certified kitchens. But, just like a convenience store, we can give our customers facility to heat and eat in an attractive atmosphere. Given the record of vegetarian restaurants in our town, this is as far as we want to go right now.
Organic produce delivery schedule. We receive organic fruit and veg as follows:
Approximately 11:30am Tuesday
Approximately 7:00pm Thursday
The organic fruit and veg we get is always governed by two things; availability and what we think we can sell. Our prices are already lower than our competitors. We need to sell what we get in so we can buy more!
We are now getting our pastries from Karma Cream on University Ave in Gainesville. Up until now we've been selling cupcakes, cookies and muffins. This week we started stocking doughnuts, which are super popular even though they're expensive. Next week we're going to an an extra shelf to our display so we can show more items.
Big Freezer Update. For over one year we've been unable to install our 40ft long freezer, simply because we don't have the money. Our shop is profitable, but we don't have the cash to pay $17,000 to get the sucker working. Why is is costing so much? Because our compressors are three-phase, and our building is setup for single-phase electricity. The ever-helpful and beloved-by-all City of Alachua Utilities want to charge us over $17,000 to run a three-phase supply 100 feet to our building! Therefore it is cheaper to buy new compressors and pay for the installation, which will cost us, you guessed it, $17,000. We probably will not be able to raise this money, unless we sell the business or find an investor.
In other news, we recently changed our bank from Capital City to Alarion. We found Capital City to be a little, shall we say, ruthless and unfair in their fees, and we've found Marilyn at Alarion to be much more reasonable, and we've already saved a lot by making the switch, even though it is a pain to have to drive so far.
Sara has another job on Saturdays (one that pays real money), so Jala is now working the Saturday 10 to 6 shift.
Mohini is back at Mt Holyoke College. We don't know if she'll be able to work here next summer, because she might be in Europe. But we'll certainly dragoon her in for s few shifts when she's home for Christmas. I'm paying for her plane tick, so I can guilt-trip her and she'll have no choice.
Kesh has developed a hip problem and is in quite a bit of pain. We've sent him to the local sports injury doctor and then got him a cut-rate closed MRI ($360) in Clermont. We don't have the results yet. In the meantime, he has stopped coming in to help in the shop after school.
Celine is working full-time in her building contractor business, and no longer clerks in the store, although she does do a buying trip once a week.
We have a 2 bed / 2 bath / bonus room 1640 sq ft luxury townhouse for rent in Turkey Creek for $999 monthly. All of our other units are rented at this time.