Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday - again

Hard to believe we've been open over a month. It has flown by. The weekend before Christmas, and here we are enjoying the liquid sunshine state and truly appreciating the people that cross our threshold. Saturday (and Sunday) are taste of "'N'awlins" days on which we feature beignets and chicory coffee. The week so far is looking even better than last. We still see 50-75% new people each day, many from our ads, most from word of mouth (friends telling friends) and some from drive by sitings. Many of the new faces are becoming regulars.

We have been ordering books on request, many arriving in two to three days, and expect the service to continue to be in demand.

We are continuing to try new bakery items (English ginger bar - lavender chocolate cake - almond pound cake - lemon pecan bread pudding, and our 'coupe de resistance', lemon tea cake) as well as keeping a variety of cookies, scones and croissants on hand.

We dropped the ball on our "crepes and carols" idea - time somehow got away from us. However, we will be breaking in our stage in January and will be posting more detailed information as we have it. Look forward to local artist demos, singer/songwriter area debuts, poetry readings, local musicians ....

Jerry and Jessica

Thursday, December 20, 2007

We have exciting things happening all the time. Yesterday our new ad in the South Coast Shopper came out. Locals can check it out to get a little background on where and what we are. We also received our new book shipment yesterday, replacing some fast selling titles (including Stephen Colbert's "I am America (and So Can You)") and adding several more. Today brought more "christmas" as a shipment of beautiful hand-warming mugs arrived - just in time for the winter season on the South Coast - nothing quite like a huggable cup of coffee or tea in a chilling rainstorm. Speaking of rain, we have only two of our special umbrellas left, "women authors", and "women artists".

We have great deals on used books. The hardcover ones (many in like new condition) are on sale - buy two, get the third of equal or lesser value free.

Come in and check out our selection of posters, bumper stickers and pins. Some folk are already calling us the progressive alternative. Heady stuff.

For the food oriented, we always have a delectable and ever changing selection of baked goodies - lemon tea cake, scones, brownies, several varieties of cookies, cinnamon rolls , carrot cake, and, of course, savory and sweet crepes.

Jerry and Jessica

Sunday, December 16, 2007

mid December --- already!

It's been a while. We got so wrapped up in getting open and putting on the finishing touches (ordering books, retail items and a new cooker), that we haven't been able to squeeze the time to write a bit. Now's the time. We've added a good selection of fair trade items, including tea cups & sets, drums, coffee, pencils & pens and journals. We also moved in more used books in preparation for a large sale starting tomorrow, and continuing through the end of December. We've ordered more new books to replace those that have sold. Some are so popular, they are on back order, but should arrive early next year, hopefully in time for our Grand Opening 'birthday bash' the first week in January. In addition to a grand opening we'll be celebrating Jessica's birthday (Jan 3-6) - after all it's not just a day, but a season.

Speaking of seasons, we plan to be open on New Year's Day to provide an alternative to the football marathons many will be indulging in, and will be offering exciting sale items. Keep checking in for more details.

I mentioned a new cooker. It is to be dedicated exclusively to gluten free crepes which we will finally be able to offer without fear of gluten contamination (quite possible when using the same cooker for wheat and gluten free).

This is a very exciting time, as we are meeting new and wonderful people, many of whom are networking for us, telling or bringing friends. Last week was better than several months we had at the old location. We have a book reading club which has been active for six years meeting here each week, and expect to have other groups in the near future as the word spreads. We are definitely a happening place, feeding our desire to be a vital part of community growth and interaction.

Our bakery is up and running (early morning - very) producing wonderful smells as well as delectable goodies (croissants, cakes, cookies, bread puddings, brownies, cinnamon rolls and sweet and whole grain breads), and we're always open for suggestions. We consider ourselves a 'grandma' kitchen and are trying to bring back the wonderful memories of grandma's cooking. Have a favorite that you loved as a child? Bring in the recipe or idea and we'll do our best to duplicate it for you. Along that line, we are now offering beignets and chicory coffee on weekends for a little touch of N'awlins on the South Coast. Of course, we still serve up delectable soups (two or three per day), all made from scratch as well as succulent quiche (don't see the quiche on our counter? - be sure to ask for it, as we keep it refrigerated for your protection).

Jerry & Jessica

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy turkey day - first day off (sort of)

We decided to close for Thanksgiving and have a dinner with friends without plans. It was great fun and quite relaxing. We opened on Sunday, a quiet but good day. Tuesday, we had the best day we've had in a couple of months. Tomorrow we're back to our regular schedule, opening at 6 am (coming in at 4am to start baking).
We have shelves of new books, and our new books are on display. More are on the way. Our berets are here, in many colors, all quite chic. Take one home and transform your personality. Be creative. Be revolutionary. Be an artiste. Nothing changes your life like the simple act of donning a beret.
Keep checking in as we add more gift items to our display, including gift mugs of famous artists, writers, and composers, very cool umbrellas and journals that make you want to pick up your pen and fill them with personal revelations.
We are very pleased to be carrying lavender products from Sherri Merritt of Merritt Farm in Bandon. We have soaps, flavored vinegars, seasonings and dried lavender for cooking. Of course, we also have The Lavender Lady Cooks cookbook for those of you looking for more yummy ways to use lavender in your cooking. And just in time for the holidays, we have several on Sherri's unique and lovely wreaths made of lavender and hydrangeas. Truly beautiful and different.
In keeping with our intention to support local artists, we are currently paintings and drawings by Curt Hitch, paintings and watercolors by Joan Goodman-Fox, and paintings by Chisum Lucas. We also have beautiful note card prints of the Lucas paintings. We've recently added several unique turned wood pieces by Rick Fox, who will also be bringing us some of his fine functional bowls. All but one of the pieces (a painting by Joan Goodman-Fox) are for sale.
When you're in the neighborhood, stop by and say "Hi!". We're always cooking up new things for you, including soups, quiche and delicious baked goods.
Jerry and Jessica

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Our sign is up and we're officially telling the world

we have arrived. Okay, so we aren't open until Sunday, but it is all coming together. We received our first shipment of new books yesterday. A good portion of our used books will be moved up here this week. And this morning I spoke with Michael Gaither, a wonderful singer/songwriter who is interested in appearing on our stage.

Today is the day for ordering new product. While Jerry continues to build and fine tune the 'hardware' of the store, I will be on the phone and computer. My brother, Matt, will continue to work on building and installing the counters. Many, many thanks to him. He stepped in, pretty much at the last minute, and made our lives enormously easier.

We're amazed at the amount of detail this undertaking involves. Though we expected a lot, we are still surprised at how much there is to do. Last night, we made a 'to do' list of the remaining was four pages long. Nevertheless, our excitement continues to grow as we move closer to our opening date.

Jerry and Jessica


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Never Postpone a Party...

even if you aren't quite ready.

Here's what the store looked like for our 'opening' party Saturday evening, November 10. The white and red splashes seen on the right hand side of the photo were the cloths shrouding our unfinished counters. Thanks to Joanna, Gregory, Matthew, Terri, Darren, Robert, Matt, Brianna, Allen, Charm, Mark, Shane, Curt, John and Madi, we were all dressed up and ready for the party. Special kudos to Brianna, Allen, Joanna and the whole Dirk clan for labor above and beyond.

When the doors opened at 5:13pm, it was gratifying to find a line of folks standing ready to enter. As always, with two cooks in the family, we worried there wouldn't be enough food to feed everyone. And, as usual, we could have fed a small army. We had two kinds of cookies, two quiches, two soups, smoked salmon in spinach crepes, pumpkin bread and muffins along with lemonade and water. Small snafu... we were so busy up to the last minute that we forgot to brew the coffee and when we realized that, we found that the coffee filters were still at the old store. Even that didn't dampen our joy at seeing so many people 'ooh' and 'ahh' over the result of all the work we've put in the past two weeks.

Where are we now? We were planning to scramble and push Sunday and Monday and then open on Tuesday, but clearer heads prevailed. On the advice of a fellow entrepreneur, we've decided to work all week and open officially at 10am on Sunday, November 18th. Instead of spending another 18-hour day working at the store, today we slept in, had a leisurely breakfast, and soaked in a hottub for an hour before reporting to the store. Tomorrow? Well, we'll get cracking again.

Jerry and Jessica


Sunday, November 4, 2007

159 hours and counting

It's 1:13 Sunday morning. Well, since we were supposed to roll the clocks back an hour, it is actually only 12:13 in the morning and I can't sleep. We have exactly 159 hours before we open our doors to the public.
While our vision stays the same, we continually refine how quickly we can make it happen as we run into the inevitable slowdowns and delays that come from not being 24 anymore. It has been humbling to realize that our bodies simply won't let us work as hard as we used too. It is a good thing that our original planning included having a bed in the office for the inevitable napping.
Today is all about finishing the counters and painting: bookshelves, display cases, tables, desks, and slotboard. With any luck, we'll also have time to haul some furniture from our respective houses and get that in place.
We're lucky that my brother agreed to help us pack up and haul the bookstore up to North Bend. He's a good worker and there is no problem leaving the project to him. We can move on to other things knowing that list of things to do is now covered. One of our ongoing issues is finding folks with a work ethic like ours. So many of those we know who qualify have injured themselves and can no longer do the physical work that setting up to open requires.
Today, we'll take more pictures of our progress and get them posted. We're just tickled every time we stop and realize, "Hey, we're opening our own store. We're gonna be tycoonistas." (That's a made-up term we use for 'revolutionary tycoons' as in, doing business as 'unusual'...ensuring as much as possible that our business also makes a positive difference in the community.)

Jerry and Jessica

Friday, November 2, 2007

Nearly Midnight of a full day

Plumbing is nearly done and just a bit of electrical to take care of. Jerry began the counters today, while I placed our first order for supplies. This weekend is full to the brim with tasks that must be accomplished if we are to meet our opening date. So much to do.

Most days we work together, but tomorrow Jerry and I will split up. He'll finish the counters in the new store, while I go to Coquille and pick up bookshelves from the bookstore we purchased. They must be hauled up to the new store, painted and put in place before the books can be re-shelved and catalogued. Previous owner worked just fine without having the books inventoried and/or catalogued, but I'm simply too anal for that. I feel the need to stay on top of all sales and inventory control will be a big part of that.

By the end of the day tomorrow, we should have the shelves moved and painted. That leaves Sunday for moving the books. It will be a full weekend. Time to begin counting down to next Saturday, one week from tomorrow.

Jerry and Jessica

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ten days and counting...

Halloween is over and November has begun. Ten days 'til our opening and so much to do. Already today the sinks are ripped out of the old store, the fridge has been transported and the tools have been rounded up to finish building counters for the new store.

Last night we handed out approximately 1500 bookmarks and coupons (for a free cookie or cup of coffee) good at our new store. The mall was packed with folks in costume and the energy ran high. It has been a long time since I participated in handing goodies out at Halloween. Wow, there's an amazing sense of entitlement among those with hands outstretched...and often the parents were worse than the children. "What, no candy?" was a frequent refrain. (We gave out pencils til we ran out.)

More exciting to us, than Halloween is the beginning of Nanowrimo. Jerry and I are both signed up to write a 50-thousand word novel in 30 days. If you'd like to give it a shot, just go to and sign up. We'll be having at least one write-in a week and a couple of parties at Colette's after we open on November 10. In addition, for those procrastinators, we'll be hosting the count down to midnight party on November 30. Come join us will be a great creative exercise if nothing else.

til next time,

Jerry and Jessica

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jumping in ....

We've been jumping in with both feet as we prepare to move to our new location at 3229 Broadway. Jerry is very happy as he's been telling folks that we'll be "opening on Broadway". Sigh...he's such a ham.

Our new place is more than four times bigger than our old space and we're doing our best to fill it up with goodies of all kinds. We started out with an empty space, studded walls, no ceiling, and a concrete floor. Soon as I can figure out how to post photos, I'll have some that show our handiwork after 14 hours of painting.

Halloween will be our last hurrah in the Mall and we'll go out in style, with a kick-off party for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). If you've always wanted to write a novel, now's your chance. Sign up with and join us Wednesday 10/31 from 6-8 pm. The idea is to write a 50 thousand word novel in 30 days, beginning one minute after midnight on 10/31 and counting down to Midnight on 11/30. Don't worry, quantity, not quality is the goal, so write on and forget about editing. In fact, bind and gag that editor and throw him or her (or the editing committee if you have one of those) into the closet and lock the door tight. You can always edit during the month of December. If you need encouragement to believe that such a silly exercise can work, take heart in the fact that the current bestseller "Water for Elephants" began as a nanowrimo work.

Hope to see you on Halloween. Stop by and introduce yourself.

Jerry and Jessica,