"Why do you keep saying 4 1/2 months?"
"Whaddya mean? that's how long we have been open"
"Ya, but you have been saying it for a month and a half.... we've been at it for 6 months on the 19th" He's shaking his head at me with total aghast on display.
My name is Mandy and I suffer from a complete and total delusion about time.
"HI MANDY" or... Am I the only one?
It's been six months of running the cafe.
A typical day is an early rise and a chilly morning start (no matter the season)
We arrive, turn on the fryer, do a quick check and turn on MABEL (our work horse of an espresso machine... she needs time to get all warmed up) I go over our cooler items for sale in the display, put on an apron and get measuring and mixing. We share a carafe of french press and he goes to his nook in the kitchen and gets preparing his glazes while I pray and fry. Donuts are little diva's. After we hand mix the batter, they have to sit and get perfect, releasing the right amount of baking powder before I load it up and drop it into the perfect oil temperature to seal them crisp on the outside and let applesauce steam through the cake to leave them moist on the inside. Right now everything is done by hand. EVERYTHING.
We currently have been working to introduce automation. You see Back in July when we opened the doors, I believed we would have introduced the new equipment by October, and my big mouth told anyone who would listen.
That little bugger named "time" gets me everyday.
Once the donuts are finished, they get rolled out front where our lovely Leslie greets customers, serves coffee and makes everyone who comes through the door feel at home. Leslie opens the doors at 9 and we stand together and clean the kitchen. If there was one word I was forced to use to describe the rest of our day? it would be LEARNING. All of this is new. All of it. Even after 6 months. The one thing we got under our hands is donut making. I think 6 months have passed, simply because the one thing I have a full grasp on, is about to change drastically and that makes me very uncomfortable.
The whole point of this entry and why I am writing today... Is to introduce you to our life. I'm writing in an effort to convey what it is to be a new business, a new business with a bit of history.
If you are reading this and you have been with us since 2013. You get it, you get us. If you've been to the market or had delivery, you have met us and observed that we are real people. I've always been transparent about our process and why we do what we do. Sharing this journey with anyone who will listen has become my very favorite thing. We have all kinds of days, good ones, not so good ones, ones that blow our minds and leaving us wondering how we have been so fortunate. Our very best days are the days we leave exhausted. I've designed our work flow to leave me available to be with customers in the afternoons. Some of my very favorite moments happen on weekday afternoons. After donuts are made, the kitchen is clean and my wonderful staff are serving customers... I get busy running the business. Planning, shopping, marketing, fielding messages on social media, posting to social media, managing the space and well everything else that is not donuts. Right now spend my afternoons staying on top of making sure we always have the vegetable based sauce for our Mac n' Cheese, our dill pickle soup, while Cory makes sure we always have our delicious Chili ready to go. We are eating this elephant one bite at a time and so far its working.
I'm trying my best to give up the need to tell everyone who walks through the door that we are just a small business and we are doing our best. I'm in a strange place with social media these days. I've learned that my social media accounts make me accessible to everyone online wants to take a peek at what we do. I've had to decide that I would like to share it all. Who I am online is who I am in the grocery line. If you ever meet the fate of standing behind me, I'm going to turn around and beam you a moon faced smile, introduce myself and lay down a divider so you can get busy doing your thing. I might tell you I own a donut shop, that I have 3 dogs and I am married to a really great human.
You've been advised so prepare accordingly.
My social media is me.
Here is where I need to get a message across to anyone who reads this.
When you send a message or comment to ME on social media... or anyone pouring their heart into their businesses, working night and day to give you their best, be kind.
I'm not over here professing perfection. Not one bit. Constructive criticism is necessary and welcomed here. You have any issue with the food, service, my staff, I WANNA HEAR IT. I need to hear it, for you and me. I have always been cognizant of those spending the money in their pockets and taking the time from their lives to come and support us. That awareness keeps me accountable to you my customer. It forces me to be honest about what my limitations are... in some effort to manage disappointment.
Now what I am about to say is difficult and it may come off as rude. It's not my intention...
I am not for hire.
Daily I am dealing with people who come to my business with an expectation that companies like McDonalds and Walmart have worked into their souls.... I NEED what I want when I want it and for the same price they can give it to me.
I don't even have an apology.
You simply are not my customer and it's really okay.
I have found my customer, lots and lots of them. Those who plan ahead and have an appreciation for food made from the ground up and served with care. Those who cheer when they roll up to a sold out sign and say "Congratulations, I'll come back another time". Those who read the faq's and understand I have made some very hard decisions about what my company is capable of and what it is not. Those who respect that real people are serving them and a good coffee takes time and care.
I have amazing customers.
This week I had to remember who my customer is and sit and practice gratitude. I sat and said thank you 400 times to different names and experiences out loud. I did it until I couldn't remember one nasty message in the inbox. All 3 of them.
I sat to reflect on how many new faces I got to meet, the man who had to come visit after reading this blog, The woman who drove out from Hinton on her birthday, The woman who told me I was brave, The man who came with tears in his eyes and talked about how inspiring we are to him... He is unemployed and read my last post and wanted to tell us we gave him hope.
I had a choice this week to let cynicism bubble and brew itself through my veins. I had a choice to let a few keyboard warriors creep in and wade through my mind.
If you're reading this. I already love you and thank you. If our paths cross, please say hi. If you come into the shop to experience what we do, you will leave with a few new friends... and hopefully some donuts.
Thanks for following.