I worked my rear off, and finally finished and ordered the book! Three hundred and eighty pages of my kids growing up. I can’t wait to get it!
Tomorrow we go to Ohio University for two days of orientation. Its a long drive from northern Michigan!
I’m back! I spent the day looking at some of my favorite blogs, and found I miss my ME time. Buying the store last year has been a trememdous amount of work, fun, and gratification. Now that we’ve survived our first Christmas and Cherry Festival, I feel like I can breathe a bit. Summer is still a busy time, but I’m learning to balance work and play.
I had two entire days off in a row so I decided to work on my book about my kids. They have all graduated from high school and I made each of them a few digital scrapbooks of their lives. One of my hobbies is Photoshop.
After discovering Blurb, I decided to put them all into one book and made it for my mom’s birthday. There were many more photos I wanted to put in it so I’ve been working on adding to it before I get mine printed. The book is almost done, I could add to it forever and I decided a few more pages and that’s it.
Here’s the cover – very basic, but one of my favorite pics of the kids.
A few more pages to share:
My last post, over a month ago, told a wonderful tale of me, the new store owner. I have to say, this has been the most tiring and exciting month I’ve experienced in a long time!
My new store is called Benjamin Twiggs. It is the oldest purveyor (we like to use big words) of cherry products in Michigan. Its just one little store, but its been around so long that people think its a franchise. (All in due time, my friends… all in due time)
How nice it would be if we could close for a week and get everything done! But while we are running the store, some major changes are happening. This week we had the carpet shampooed for the first time in probably 15 years, and totally rearranged the store. A little shout out to the Traverse City Central Trojan Hockey boys for the help! The store looks amazing!
The previous TWO owners kept every piece of paper, every receipt, every bill (we even have vintage mousetraps in the corners) that came through the store. Every night after the store closed, I would choose a file cabinet drawer and go through it. Ninety percent of it was garbage (yep, oil prices really did go up in the past 20 years and I have receipts to prove it), but I found some priceless items.
Benjamin Twiggs was founded in 1966. It has gone through about 6 owners. The ephemera I have collected from those drawers is priceless. After the Christmas season I’ll go through it all again. I can’t wait!
So I am finally through all of the drawers and to give you an idea of how much hoarding was going on, I now have 4 semi-full file cabinet drawers, down from 16. Not to mention all of the typewriter ribbon, Windows 95 software and floppy disks, that were in other drawers! The fine folks at Goodwill now know me well.
One of our first big projects is a new catalog. There hasn’t been a catalog in 5 years. Imagine pulling out a 5 year old catalog from your favorite store and how unappealing it would be. Not to mention priced incorrectly.. So I’m working with the greatest agency in the world, Green LIght Marketing, to product a new catalog. We’re almost done!! Its going to be amazing!
Cool, huh? We’re going for that Americana look. Because we ARE the oldest purveyor… you know the rest.
Now imagine a website that was created 15 years ago. Yep, 15 years. The only thing that’s changed is the prices. Oh this is a really funny story. When I called the web hosting company to get the owner’s name changed to mine and make a few pricing adjustments, I was DUMPED because they don’t have anyone who knows how to update that archaic code. They were happy to collect their $500 fee every year for web hosting, but now that I need changes, oh sorry! I was really kidding about it being a funny story. Ugh.
So, please know, that if you go to benjamintwiggs.com, it works. Its embarassing, because it is so NOT how I want my company to be portrayed, but if you order from the website, the prices are lower than they should be, and the shipping is lower than it should be, and I of course honor those prices. Thanks again to Green LIght Marketing, a new website is in progress. I REALLY hope its done before the Christmas rush!
Since there aren’t any Pixels OR Stitches in Benjamin Twiggs, I’ll start a new blog. I’ll let you know when and where! I really want to tell you about my amazing employees! Maria, Luann, Lisa, Amanda, Suzie, Sami, Brittany, and Deb. They are more like good friends than employees!
Thanks for visiting! And thanks to our biggest supporter, my sister Jana!
As of about 11am this morning, I’m officially in debt to the tune of a kabillion dollars. I have it sitting in my new business checking account that I opened today. I never sweat so much signing papers than I did today. Or maybe it was just a normal hot flash.
Tomorrow we do final inventory, which will take all day, and most of my kabillion dollars will go to Kathy with a few grand to spare on Thursday. The few grand to spare is called start-up cash. I call it money to use to pay the bills I for stuff I already bought for the store.
Wednesday night my accountant/friend comes in at 5:30 to close K.’s books and open mine. Also the guy with my credit card machine comes in at 5:30 to set that up. Then my accountant/friend and I will spend forever trying to figure out the bookkeeping system that K. used. We know the bookkeeping system, we just don’t understand a lot of her methods. My friend and first employee M. will be there to witness the fun.
Then M. and I will break champagne over our heads in celebration. If my accountant/friend and/or the credit card machine guy are still there they can join our fun. I may even invite the pizza guy from down the way! (As long as he brings some crazy bread.)
Thursday, it will be ‘business as usual’. I will be the calm, cool and collect savvy business owner I have imagined for the past year. Then I’ll mess up a sale on the cash register and my brain function will cease to exist. M., my right hand person, or should I say ‘business partner without the bucks’ will be there all day too, and she’s going to bail me out of my meltdowns all day long.
After close of business, where I fully expect to have made the kabillion dollars back that I just paid K., more fun begins (Madness Part 1). Out comes the pricing gun with the RED stickers. Red means SALE. We will then uncover, dig out, and resurrect about 60% of the gifty items that K. liked to sell and that I don’t want to sell. People did buy them, but looking over the business paperwork I decided that the future is in our food products, not so much the gifts.
Prices will be slashed, I tell you! And the ad in the paper will bring the people to the store in droves on Friday morning! Balloons will be blowing in the wind, the clowns will entertain (oh, oops, forgot to hire some clowns), and everyone driving down the street will screech to a halt to see what they are missing. (They would have loved to see the champagne-breaking-over-the-head festivities too, I’d imagine)
This will continue through Saturday and Sunday till about 2:00.
Then Madness Part 2 will begin. My daughter and her friend are coming home for 3 days from college so I can put them to work like slaves! And both sons will be home but only one needs the money so much that he is willing to carry heavy things for me while we rearrange the store for 2 days, so I only get one of them. Son #2 will be so jealous he is missing out of the fun! No champagne for him!
That’s all of the beans I can spill for now. Until next time,
Have a Cherry Day!
Oh, here is a picture.. because blogs are boring without pictures.
I can’t believe all of the felt I had accumulated! A lot have sold but I’m still destashing, and kind of sad about what I could have made. There were grand plans for needlefelted wools and felt combined into hats, mittens, brooches. My least favorite part of the process was the actual sewing. The shopping, planning, needlefelting and designing was the best! I should get myself an elf..
This one is ready to be sewn into a hat.
These were going to be trivets..
I made a few last year with needlefelted cherries, and if I ever have a spare second, I’ll make more. I’m keeping the wool pants and skirts, for now!