Friday, July 02, 2004

A Mixed Bag 

First, the sad news. Our sick ferret died early this morning. We'd already decided he couldn't be healed and were planning to euthanize him today so he wouldn't continue to suffer. He did eagerly take chicken broth and ferretone before he died, giving us some hope that he would recover. We will bury him with all the other critters who've died over the years this evening.

On the business side, Manager will talk to C. about getting a copy of the pre-lease agreement so we can go over it, and discuss it with an attorney and show it to the bank loan officer.

C. said he was hoping his attorney could get the lease agreement to less than 100 pages. That seems rather daunting, to have to read and review that many pages. It must be a very detailed agreement. I mean very detailed. My mortgage papers were only 20 pages long, and I thought that was excessively wordy.

We'll see. She should have that in a few days. With the holiday weekend, I suppose it won't be until next week sometime.

Manager is flying to New Orleans week after to next to speak to J. and gain a greater understanding of stock use and financing. She wants J. to be a member of the Board of Directors because he sees more clearly the future of the Cracked Cauldron. Someone with a long sight, like J., is useful because he sees the Big Picture while she concentrates on the minutae and daily operations. We are very, very glad to know J. He's been a friend for more than a decade, and he's a very trusted and trustworthy person. Not to mention he doesn't mind that we impose shamelessly on him for help in this. In fact, he's kind of, sort of the inspiration for even opening the Cracked Cauldron.

That Manager is excited about seeing New Orleans, even in an off-season, is a bonus. She hopes to visit the Cafe du Monde, famous for their cafe au lait and beignets, and to discover exactly what a pressed sandwich is.

We won't be offering beignets, but we will offer cafe au lait. Cafe du Monde's is made with chicory coffee. Sampling it will let Manager know if it should be a part of the regular menu. Even if it's not something Okies will like on a regular basis, we hope to offer it during Carnival and Mardi Gras.

As for the pressed sandwiches, J. recommended them. Manager really doesn't want to follow the stereotype of bakery/deli that is so common around here, but pressed sandwiches sound as if they would fit in with her desire to offer "hand pies". Hand pies are meat or veggie pies, like pierogi, Cornish Pasties, empanadas, calzone, spanakopita, and the like - dinner pies that can be held and eaten out of hand. Our Thanksgiving Dinner Pies are like that. J. thinks these pressed sandwiches will fit in, and Manager will try them to see.

In addition to all of the business end of things, she will get to spend some time with J., who besides being extremely knowledgeable is also a very fun companion. And - no matter how dreary the talk of stock dividends and pro forma spread sheets and BoD management can be, J. has a way of making them understandable and interesting. Manager has the advantage of me in that she already mostly understands much of this.

She will return from the trip filled with knowledge and inspiration.

And, she'll want to ensure the Cracked Cauldron is a success so she can return to New Orleans for a real visit. I think, even if she didn't spend any time discussing business there, the trip would be an incentive to work hard to make the Cracked Cauldron a success.

I know she sometimes gets a little discouraged because people don't always taker her seriously, either because she's opening a bakery or because she's young.

I can't even count the number of times people who should know better (consultants at the SBA and Women's Business Center, and other professionals with whom she's had to deal) have told her she will fail because of her age or because of her business choice.

"Oh, restaurants have such a high failure rate. You'll be out of business in a year"

"At your age, you should be working for someone else, not chasing dreams."

Of course, they all want her to open the bakery near them. So, if they're so convinced she'll fail, why do they want her to locate near them?

I think she'll be very successful. There aren't enough full line bakeries in town that make all their breads completely on the premises.

St. Anthony's just bought some of the land around the hospital to expand into. Kaiser's Ice Cream Parlor was exempted for the acquisition because it is a registered historical landmark. My understanding is that they plan to re-design the streets through there (desperately needed - there are several 5 street intersections) and renovating the area.


I was contacted by the real owner of Brown's Bakery and learned that what we'd read and the person to whom I spoke were not entirely on the up-and-up. I called the number in the paper we'd read. I should have used the phone book instead of relying on that paper.

It was a premier issue of a little 2 page paper called Community Business Trends that was left on our door. There was enough truth in it to make it believable - because the city does have plans to renovate the streets in the area, and St. Anthony's is expanding around there, and there is a question of lack of parking remaining for Kaiser's, so it seemed as if the rest was also true. I should have researched it further than I did, and I do apologize for making this mistake.

This post has been edited to remove the inaccurate information.

We apologize to Mr. Brown and to all his loyal customers who pointed out the false information we had.

I love the internet! When something wrong is posted, there are wonderful people out there who don't hesitate to correct us, and I for one, appreciate this.

I'm hoping this was just a prank (a very bad and wrong prank) by someone who knows us, and now I'm very glad this blog has such a low readership.

Brown's has long been a local favorite. I personally think they have the best Devil Dogs ever, and the people in there have always been friendly. I selfishly hope they remain strongly in business for decades to come because they're just down the street from where I work, and I'd miss being able to pop in occassionally to buy a bagel or a Devil Dog. I, too, am a loyal, if not a very regular or big spending customer, of Brown's Bakery.

I thank whoever brought this inaccuracy to our attention, and once again apologize for posting it.

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