Eight Months.

Eight months.  248 days.  5,952 hours.  357,120 minutes.  Here’s what we’ve learned since unlocking the door to welcome our first sale at 3601 Buttonwood…

  1. We are not the same girls we were 248 days ago.  Notably, my roots are at least 1/4 inch longer than socially acceptable because I’ve been too busy to spend two very needed hours getting them done.  But more notably, we are much wiser about our business and about ourselves.  We are probably also kinder, more humble, and more thankful for the opportunity we have been given.  We also laugh in the face of standing on our concrete floors for 16 hours in a row…if you are going to challenge us, ask us to stay all night long.
  2. Speaking of which, remember the first time you stayed up a significant portion of the night with your newborn child?  It is an experience that ushers you into parenthood in a way that nothing else can.  I think doing my first overnight at PJP during Thanksgiving week bonded me to World Pie Domination in a way that will never allow me to relent on the journey.  (All that said, one overnight a year is good, thanks…I hope against hope that it isn’t required during the week of Christmas.)
  3. And so, going through important first milestones, such as our first Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, is the only way to figure out what is going to happen on those days at PJP Buttonwood.  Because the image in my head for the day before Thanksgiving included soft lighting, Christmas carols, and stacks of freshly baked pies boxed and ready for pickup.    And when the day before Thanksgiving actually imploded upon itself and was a hot mess, my managed expectations took a hard hit.  Getting back up and going back at it was harder than I thought it would be.
  4. This time of year, many advertisers call to schedule a breezy chat about our 2015 marketing budget.  Bwhahahahahahahahahahaha.  I’m not even sure what I’m doing 12 hours from now, so…
  5. Speaking of chats, blogging about the sub-par Christmas wreaths at 3601 Buttonwood will make 96.8% of The Kroenke Group really mad at you.  But there will be new ribbons on the wreaths.  Ahem.
  6. We are hoping Santa brings us new oven mitts.  And a person who just answers the phone for us next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  And an Ecolab dishwasher contract termination clause.  And wine.
  7. I don’t care for spreadsheets.  That is all.  Please don’t ask me to format any cells and return it to you by email, because it likely won’t happen.
  8. That said, if the IRS sends an envelope that is stamped “IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED”, that will catch my focus.  Even if it is a bill for $.17 of payroll tax shortfall.  I have an irrational fear of tax calculations.  Probably because the only calculator I really know how to work is my iPhone calculator and I’m certain to lose any argument based on mathematical calculations and tax tables.
  9. As 2014 draws to an end, can we all just make an agreement to stop using voicemail? I’m fairly certain I haven’t returned a single voicemail on my personal phone in the past 248 days and the prognosis for the next 365 days is looking similar.  Jeanne actually retrieves the messages from the PJP phone line and she writes them all down and returns them in order. Bless her.  Text me.
  10. In 2014, we stumbled into this idea of World Pie Domination.  In 2015, we move forward with focused attention on World Pie Domination.  I’m a little intrigued to see what the next 12 moths bring us.

And as always, there would be little point to any of this without you reading the blog and without you rooting for us and without you stopping by PJP Buttonwood, so thank you.  Thank you for a game-changing 248 days in 2014.  And to so much more together.  Cheers.

Documentation.

Earlier this evening, Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason asked me how my day was.  And rather than launching into a soliloquy of epic proportions, I decided to document it for posterity…

5:50 am:  Check email.

6:00 am:  Drink coffee while my people still slumber peacefully.  Read Buzzfeed and think about nothing.

6:15-7:05 am:  Feed my children breakfast.  Engage in a lengthy debate about why one needs long sleeves and long pants when the forecasted high is 37 degrees.  Explain that I don’t know why we don’t live in Florida, why winter has to be so cold, or why school has recess when it is cold.  Remind myself that one never wins when negotiating with terrorists.  Or nine-year old girls about yoga pants.

7:10-7:35 am:  Deliver children to school.  Look forward to receiving my trophy for “Worst Mother of Year” that I’ve earned by mandating everyone wear their winter coats into school.

7:45 am:  Stop by Hy-Vee for coffee, bananas and Angry Orchard Hard Cider.  Realize you can’t buy alcohol before 8 am, so purchase bananas and our usual order from Caribou.

7:55 am:  Make the baking schedule with Jeanne.  Have more orders than what fits on the baking schedule.  Freak out the appropriate amount.

8:10 am:  Return to Hy-Vee for the Hard Cider.  Awkwardly blurt out to the checkout guy that the cider is for a drunken apple pie and not for a possible drinking problem.  Feel even more awkward when he doesn’t find me funny.  At all.

rhoocgretchawkward

8:15 am:  Return to PJP and be alerted to the fact that we need more ribbon for tarts and Jelly Jar packaging.

8:20 am:  Choke down my fear of visiting crafting stores and go to JoAnn’s.  They don’t open until 9.  Really?  Am I the only one with early morning ribbon needs this time of year?  Would knocking on the door be unacceptable?

8:22 – 8:40 am:  Organize pies on order, bake pies, answer the phone.

8:45 am – 9:00 am:  Realize we are out of condensed milk.  Return to Hy-Vee for the third time prior to 9:00 am.

9:05 am:  Go back to JoAnn’s.  Break into hives at the mere thought of all the fabric in that place.  Pick out ribbon and race to the checkout like a wayward episode of Supermarket Sweep.  Get in line behind a woman trying to return ONE EIGHTH OF A YARD of fabric.  Think unkind and un-Christmassy thoughts.  Consider just paying her for the fabric and then throwing it in the trash if it means she will just be out of my way.  Finally pay for the ribbon.  Refuse to put the JoAnn’s app on my phone, discounts be damned.

9:20 am:  Return to PJP with ribbons.  Be thankful that Jeanne doesn’t mind to be the one that uses the hot glue gun to glue the ribbons to the jars.

9:22 – 10:30 am:  Continue to organize pie orders, pay bills, answer the phone, bake pies.

10:31 am:  Assist first customer and realize we have no quarters in the cash drawer.

10:34 am:  Walk to the bank instead of driving solely for the opportunity to look at Facebook on my phone for five uninterrupted moments.  Almost get run over by a semi-truck delivering goods to Big Lots.  Realize it is an Ashley Furniture truck and think “huh, I didn’t know that sort of thing was in Big Lots”.  Tell self to reconsider Big Lots.

10:45 am:  Bake pies and help customers and answer the phone.  In that order.  Many times.  Many, many, many times.

11:45 am:  Unexpectedly argue with Jeanne because our communication styles are completely different when we are stressed out.

12:00 pm:  Sit in Jeanne’s car and sort out the roots of all evil.

12:25 pm:  Eat Orange Leaf that Jeanne goes to get for us once we’ve made up.  Apologize to each other for the things that we said to each other when hangry.  Neither of us do very well when hot, hungry, or tired.  God help you if we are all three.

1:00-2:25 pm:  Think about Jelly Jar orders for Wednesday.  Wonder why no one has ever pioneered the concept of allowing a single dose prescription of Xanax.

2:26 pm:  Text three members of my Inner Circle and tell them that I’m in no way smart enough to drive the PJP bus to World Pie Domination.

tumblr_mtzujrdtw71rkiuhro1_500

2:30-2:50 pm:  Collect children from school.  Briefly wonder about whatever happened to the Octomom.  Think that finding out would be a great Buzzfeed article.

2:50-3:00 pm:  Stop by Caribou for Round 2 of caffeinated beverages.  Waste no time feeling any shame about it, either.

3:00-5:30 pm: Bake pies, box pies, order boxes, order stickers, dream of having a PJP Director of Procurement.

5:30-5:45 pm:  Wait for a customer in transit from Jefferson City.

5:45 pm – 6:30 pm:  Have dinner with my people.  We should eat at home, but we eat at Buffalo Wild Wings because the thought of cooking dinner and then cleaning up dinner makes me stabby.

6:40 pm:  Feel completely out of control when I arrive home, so I vacuum and start a load of laundry.  Because I’m weird and laundry makes me feel calm.

7:00 pm:  Analyze homework with 6th grader.  Almost suffer near heart attack when realize that said 6th grader needs a rough draft of a paper about rabies and to finish a study guide about Hammurabi.  Google Hammurabi.  Curse entire 6th grade curriculum.

8:00 pm:  Print shipping labels.  Marvel at the destination of our Jelly Jar pies.  Make a note to buy some stock in UPS.

8:50 pm:  Drink large glass of white wine while checking email.  See that Netflix has added Flea Market Flip.  Think about how much I would like to watch all the episodes of Flea Market Flip.  Also wonder how I didn’t know that Lara Spencer from ABC is also an interior designer.

9:20 pm:  Text bestie.  She is righteously indignant about Hammurabi.  And study guides.  And rabies.

9:50 pm:  Crawl into bed and analyze Fit Bit app to see that despite feeling like I walked the circumference of the globe, I actually only made it 9,427 steps.  Declare Fit Bit to be completely wrong.

9:54 pm:  Blog.

10:30 pm:  Watch House Hunters and feel that “mid-century modern” is a completely overused term.  Also wonder if anyone at HGTV has analyzed whether there is any statistical truth to the common belief that people on House Hunters pick the house $100,000 over budget.  Think to self that this would make a great Buzzfeed article.

11:30 pm:  Set alarm.  World Pie Domination starts at 5:30 am.

 

Frankly, My Dear…

A regular Monday finds PJP a relatively quiet place.  Because we are closed on Sundays and Mondays, we tend to use a bit of Monday’s time to do prep work for the week ahead (and also squeeze in the laundry, grocery shopping, house cleaning, and the Netflix binges that makes ordinary life possible).  But today wasn’t a regular Monday by any means…it was a flurry of preparation for a week of tarts, Jelly Jar pies, and pie orders.

When I think about the lessons learned from our Thanksgiving week, I can only think of Scarlett O’Hara in my mind and vow that as God as my witness, I’ll never make French Silk pie for four hours IN A ROW again while a long line of restless customers snakes down the sidewalk of 3601 Buttonwood.

scarlett_ohara

So this time, we will be ready for an onslaught of pie orders.  And the unique thing about the Christmas pie season is that we tend to be busier each day, as opposed to one or two concentrated days of pie pickup that leaves me with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Oh, and did I mention that Mac, Mitch, and Sydney are all taking their finals this week and then traveling home to their families?  Yeah.

Thankfully, Team PJP is still strong.  Because they haven’t been properly discussed on the blog, allow me to introduce you to our two newest employees…Barb and Sunae.

FullSizeRender-18

Barb is a long-time baker who found herself with some extra time on her hands and so she stopped by to ask about joining Team PJP.  On her first day of employment, Jeanne and I had a big throw down about something and so I think if Barb was looking for a classy welcome, she probably really regretted submitting her application to PJP.  Thankfully she stuck around to witness our more normal selves and well, WE ARE BIG FANS OF BARB.

Sunae is a native of Hiroshima, Japan and has lived in the United States for 11 years.  She loves baking and in her two weeks at PJP Buttonwood, she has made 4,141,931 Jelly Jar pies and bagged 5,205,150 tarts.  She seems as yet completely unfazed by the crazy pace at PJP and jumps right in with zeal for whatever task we throw her way.  She is also unfazed by Jeanne singing “Mary, Did You Know?” 312,525 times a day while she rolls dough and that, without question, is some skill worth mentioning.

For one brief moment, I feel prepared for the week that lies ahead at PJP Buttonwood.  I’m sure that in 12 hours, I’ll feel anything but prepared.  But as Scarlett always said…I’ll think about that tomorrow.

 

The Gift That Keeps On Giving.

Right this very minute, our 4 ounce Jelly Jar pies are traveling to all reaches of the United States tonight on UPS planes and trucks.  (Apparently, what Brown can do for you is deliver pies by a 5 pm Friday deadline.)  And as we approach the Christmas holiday, our order board is completely dominated by orders for Jelly Jar pies.  Jelly Jar pies to be shipped…Jelly Jar pies to be picked up and delivered…Jelly Jar pies to be eaten with a tiny fork right in the front space of our store.

Today when Mitch and Mac walked in our front doors at 8 am, we basically threw aprons at them and shouted:  “WE NEED 180 JELLY JARS ROLLED OUT ASAP!”  Thankfully, neither of them turned right around and walked back out to their car for a quick escape…though, rolling dough for Jelly Jar pies is a tedious task and I wouldn’t have blamed them if they did.  Today is actually Mac’s 22nd birthday and rolling out dough for 180 Jelly Jar pies is the gift that keeps on giving.  (Much like the Jelly of the Month Club, Clark).  (10 bonus points for you if you caught the reference.)

In short, rolling dough for this product requires that the dough be rolled very thin and then cut into two separate pieces…for around the jar and the bottom of the jar.  And that is basically all I know about it because if it were left up to me, the dough would be 2 inches thick since I don’t have a lot of patience for that sort of thing and then Jeanne would just never talk to me again since she requires dough thin enough to read the newspaper through.

I was talking at the counter with a customer and all of a sudden, Jeanne, Mac, and Mitch all wanted to use my phone.  Later, I notice this picture on the camera roll…

FullSizeRender-15

Jelly Jar pies in progress.  And even the kindness to document it for the blog.  And Jeanne wore a Santa hat with a tiara on it during the entire process.  Because, well, she has always been partial to a hat.

And right now, those Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Jelly Jars on en route to Seattle, San Diego, Maryland, Wisconsin…and someone is on a plane right now to Abu Dhabi with two six-packs as a gift for her husband.  I know TSA sees interesting things in their security scanning machines, but I bet they have never seen a Jelly Jar pie on x-ray before…I hope they let her keep her 12 little forks…

***

And finally, congratulations to Janie Smith…the winner of last night’s $10 gift certificate.  I’m emailing you now, Janie!

And in a turn of events that I had NOTHING to do with, Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason has secured us some fancy pants electronic gift cards…because the irony of us not offering paper receipts but offering paper gift certificates was more than he could tolerate.  And so on the cusp of 2015, look at us…

FullSizeRender-17

Tonight’s giveaway is a $10 gift CARD from PJP.  You’ll be the very first to be movin’ on up like George and Weezy with us to the Age of Technology.  Enter here:

http://pjpies.com/pjp-12-days-of-christmas-sign-up/

Coffee, Wine, and Bill Murray.

We are a two mere weeks from Christmas Eve and frankly, I’m in the throes of an anxiety attack because I’m not anywhere near finished shopping for anyone on my gift list.  In fact, my anxiety attack justified me spending $38 on overnight shipping earlier this evening for Christmas gifts I’ll need by this weekend.  And look, this post isn’t about pie or gift cards or tarts or jelly jars or snarky mugs or even more snarky tea towels because if you read this blog on the regular, then you already know that PJP has those items five days a week during regular business hours (and ahem, they do make great gifts…if I do say so myself):

Here is a list of things that Jeanne and I are crushing on pretty hard these days…perhaps it will inspire you for someone on your list.  In case you know any overly emotional, highly dramatic, and high maintenance people who are hard to buy for…

  1. The best gift you can give is the gift of morning clarity.  And our clarity comes in the form of warm, caffeinated, and addictive beverages.  If you have a similar personality on your list, purchase a gift card so your recipient just needs to swipe the card and wait for the barista to hand over the cup.  And if you are really into providing an experience, head downtown and check out our friends at Shortwave Coffee in Alley A.  Serious coffee there and we have mad love for that.
  2. Rare is the day at PJP that isn’t set to a soundtrack.  Each of us have vastly varying tastes in tunes and today, we listened to Pentatonix (Jeanne), The National (Me), and The Dubliners (Mac).  Last week a few of us had a 1990s rap party before we opened and while Jeanne was gone (hint: Jeanne does not appreciate the greatest hits of Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock).  We stream our music through a commercial account service, but give the music lover in your life a Spotify gift card.  It makes the tunes commercial-free and, YES PLEASE.
  3. Because we have customers that take the best care of us and treat us more kindly than we ever could deserve, I happened upon a D-TO-THE-LICIOUS bottle of wine this evening.  Two amazing people stopped by yesterday with this for us…FullSizeRender-14That bottle from Adam Puchta on the right?  INSANE.  It’s called Adam’s Choice and it is a semi-sweet white.  I implore you to run to the Adam Puchta winery in Hermann or call up the Macadoodles and find this wine now.  Don’t forget that your gift list should include a gift for yourself.  (The other two bottles are from Arrington Vineyard in Nashville and I’m trying to be nice and wait for Jeanne to share with me during the weekend.  And the tequila?  BIG PLANS.)
  4. I’ve had this picture pinned to my “MUST HAVE” board on Pinterest for 109 weeks (really).  Vino2_Pink_1__61910.1407342425.1280.1280Each time I see it, I think “huh, I need to buy that cup” and 109 weeks speaks for the truth of that.  I would think a wine glass with a dishwasher safe lid that retails for $12.99 could solve 89% of your gift giving needs (or maybe it is just that 89% of my friends would appreciate a product called a “wine sippy cup”).  You can find it The Product Farm and I plan to buy in bulk, so if they are sold out when you get there…sorry…not sorry.
  5. And this makes no sense really, but how can it not make you happy?  Frame it and give to someone who needs to know they are amazing.  It’s a fact, Jack.bill-murray-youre-awesome

And if none of these ideas inspire you, then I’m here to help.  Enter to win a $10 gift card to PJP in the second of our 12 Days of Christmas contest.  Win it and give it to someone on your list.  Or win it and eat it yourself and never tell another soul…it’s cool.

Enter here:

http://pjpies.com/pjp-12-days-of-christmas-sign-up/

P.S. Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason has confirmed you can enter once each day, so you are in the clear if you entered yesterday.  I’m gonna have to buy him the Bill Murray poster.)

P.P.S.  Laurie Matthews won yesterday’s contest for the “Pie Is The New Cake” t-shirt.  Congrats, Laurie…I’ve emailed you on claiming your major prize.

Lately.

Lately, I feel a bit like this…

tumblr_maidi4pIEY1rfo60zo1_500

And probably because lately the road to World Pie Domination feels a bit like this…

maze

And if you are thinking “huh…I wouldn’t be sure if I should turn left or right or even where to start and where does it even end?”, then I’m in excellent company because I DON’T EITHER.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve encountered several people who have proclaimed themselves to be small business experts, equipped to make the right decisions and whom claim to never get lost in the maze of trying to figure out entrepreneurship.

Seriously.

And after our highly traumatic and overwhelming Thanksgiving experience, I found myself a bit down because I’m certainly no expert…I spent most of that day before Thanksgiving crying and making French Silk pie on demand like a wayward hibachi chef.  And after talking to a few of these self-proclaimed experts, I thought to myself that had I any real skill, I would find myself with more answers and less tears.  And really, for the last 10 days or so, I’ve labored under all these thoughts and in general, I’ve needed a trip to the store that sells new attitudes.

And all that said, today, I finally felt better.  Jeanne said to me tonight when we were leaving that she felt like my groove was back and I agreed.  And so to the self-proclaimed experts…I say, WHATEVER.  If you know exactly what you are doing all of the time, then Team PJP isn’t the place for you in the first place.  Because we aren’t just a story of pie and profit margin and trended sales projections…we are a story of figuring out how to grow a business while maintaining a relationship with each other.  And we are a story about our customers and our friendships and the idea that “pie is home”.  And home is the always the very best place to be.  And if you read this blog because you own a business, or hope of owning a business, and 90% of the time you aren’t sure what you are doing…well, then, welcome…you have found your people.

And so in honor of just being okay with being an expert on nothing besides perhaps white sweet wine and various covers by The Civil Wars, I’m giving away a PJP t-shirt.  Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason has graciously made an entry form and tomorrow night, we will randomly select one winner for a PJP “Pie Is The New Cake” t-shirt.  And if you don’t live in Columbia, I’ll mail it to you.  Because I do know how to do that.

Here is the link…

http://pjpies.com/pjp-12-days-of-christmas-sign-up/

Good luck!

No Particular Order.

Because I’ve almost driven myself crazy over the last few days with all the things I feel like I don’t know, I’m making myself focus on what I do know.  In no particular order…

  1. Our new holiday pie order form is a technological breakthrough for PJP.  Take all the crazy from Thanksgiving and forget about it.  Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason has built a system that allows you to pick your pies AND your pick-up time, thereby avoiding long waits and pies still in the oven.  Just knowing that form is sitting out there in the interwebs at pjppies.com makes me relax a little bit when I think about Christmas pies.
  2. We hired a new PJP employee because our goal is to increase in-store supply of Jelly Jar pies and tarts, especially as Christmas approaches.  We’ve created a 2.5 inch tart that is absolutely adorable, purchased little bags and ribbons, and imagined a swoon-worthy $2 gift.  And this week, you’ll find them at PJP Buttonwood.
  3. I’m going to do a “12 Days of Christmas” giveaway starting tomorrow, as soon as I can find out how to put all the entries into an online random selection generator.  And by that, I mean as soon as Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason can get it all sorted out.
  4. We are providing the best hot chocolate (and free!) at the Tiger Bounce grand opening/Magic Tree lighting ceremony on Friday night.  How do I know it is the best?  Because we use whole milk instead of water to make it.  Also, because I’ll probably be putting Bailey’s in mine.
  5. On Saturday, Team PJP is coming to my house for dinner, drinks, and merriment.  When I think that last year we didn’t know any of these people and now they are our family, well…mind blown.
  6. We will have some abbreviated hours here and there over the New Year’s holiday week and we will let you know the plan as soon as we figure it out.  I feel that if we don’t, our sanity may be seriously compromised for the start of 2015.  I think if I could just sleep for 20 hours, I would feel like my pre-Thanksgiving self.  Perhaps.
  7. I have a reminder on my phone set so I don’t forget to vote for us in the Inside Columbia Best of Columbia 2014 contest.  Clearly, my shame spiral knows no limits.
  8. The construction on the new Starbucks has begun and I’m still unclear on how that small space will hold a Starbucks and a drive-thru.  I’m not a traffic management specialist, but I predict a Sonic/Starbucks/Hot Yoga/Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot implosion.
  9. I have new tea towels, candles, and coffee mugs arriving at PJP tomorrow.  If your Christmas shopping list includes someone inclined toward being snarky, you are in luck because I know a thing or two about merchandise for snarky individuals.
  10. Our baby pie box manufacturer has no date in mind for actually making the boxes and shipping them, so we are substituting our normal box with a box that doesn’t have a window and that has to be completely assembled by a PJP employee.  This means that I’ll need double the Bailey’s and double the snarky by Friday night.

forrest_gump_all_i_have_to_say