Thursday, June 17, 2004

Baby Steps 

Manager called S., the landlord of the Spaghetti Factory, to tell him we wouldn't be renting his building after all. He wasn't available, and doesn't seem to have an answering machine or service, so she'll try again today.

She will also talk to the bank loan officer about a small pre-start-up loan to tide things over until she gets the full loan. We're not out of money yet, but we're not sure how long the loan approval will take, or how much she'll need to start spending pretty quickly here.

There's a Baker's Convention and tradeshow in Nevada in August that we think she should attend. The timing couldn't be better, really. She'll be able to meet all kinds of other bakers and people who supply bakers. There are workshops addressing some of the issues she'll be facing, and she'll meet people who can give her real help in her exact field.

The loan she'll be asking for will cover that convention expense, and the deposit on the property, plus other incidentals that will come up such as utility deposits and holding payments for major equipment, and soon, we'll have to start offering a salary to our flour monkey manager so she can help with the set up and all. We'll need to start paying contractors for our part of the remodeling that we can't do ourselves, and pay for the inspections by the Fire Marshal and Health Department, although we probably won't need to do those until September, and pay for help in designing the placement of the equipment.

She has ideas, of course, and the landlord gave her floorplans, but professional advice in workflow design now could avert an expensive crisis later.

Manager has grown up living with little cash, and has learned how to get the most value for her coins. Coach class will get her to the convention as quickly and in the comfort to which she's accustomed as more expensive ways, and cheap hotels still have beds. She can do the baker's convention, even with travel, hotel, and meals, for less than a thousand. And she can live day-to-day really cheap, since I'm picking up the tab for her lodging, food, computer, phone, gasoline in the car and such. Frugality is a virtue when one plans to open one's own business.

Trivia: we now have hired two coffee monkeys. They don't go on the payroll until October, and they know it.

I've been gabbing with other marketers, and on this decision, I will override Manager. She doesn't want the Cracked Cauldron to have uniforms. I understand her reasoning, but I think some sort of standardized wear is important. For starters, it clues the customer in quickly on who they can approach for help. I don't know about you, but when I accidentally ask another customer for help, I feel bad about the mistake, no matter how helpful they then prove to be. I feel especially bad for the store if the customers are more helpful and pleasant than the employees.

We've sort of compromised at a dark bibbed apron with the Cracked Cauldron logo on it - something that won't show coffee and tea spills. Manager wants black, but if the logo is black, that won't work. I'm pushing for polo shirts with the logo on it, too, as being slightly classier than T-shirts. And name tags. People like to know to whom they are talking. Maybe we can have black aprons if we have logo name tags. Not as classy, but workable.

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