Monthly Archives: August 2014

On My Soapbox…

If you happened to read the front page of yesterday’s Columbia Daily Tribune, you likely read the continuing saga of the proposed CVS pharmacy at the intersection of Providence and Broadway.  In the latest turn of events, the City of Columbia has denied the necessary construction permits because the proposed building isn’t tall enough to meet new city requirements.


I’ll start by saying that I know nothing about CVS…I don’t even think I’ve ever been in one before.  And I have no idea why they want to go on the corner directly opposite from Walgreens.  Or on a corner that always suffers from a ridiculous amount of traffic and random “Honk for Peace” rallies on that northwest corner.  And the answers to those questions don’t even matter…the point is that CVS has been working on this project for almost a year and now, short of a major building re-design, it may be the end of their potential Columbia location.

Even more sobering about the CVS saga is that CVS is a national corporation with tens (or hundreds) of lawyers and real estate experts on their payroll and yet, CVS has spent over 14 months trying to negotiate that proposed location with little forward progress.  I guess I didn’t get the memo that the city’s stance on new business was to ignore the number of new jobs created by the business and the proposed tax revenue from sales at the location.  Rather, it seems the focus has shifted entirely to ensuring the building that eventually goes in that space is two stories tall.  And I don’t understand.  Because if a multi-million dollar company can’t succeed at opening their business within the regulations of Columbia code, then what does that mean for the rest of us trying to start and grow small businesses in Boone County, Missouri?

If you’ve read the blog for any amount of time, you know that we have had our share of confusion and frustration with the permitting process.  From the initial submission of plans to the final occupancy permit inspection, I held my breath during each step.  And in the heart of my deepest desires and long-term goal planning for PJP, I dream of a production facility and space for offices with comfortable chairs and free-flowing coffee all day (well, until 5 and then there would be free-flowing wine).  And when I envision that space, I start to wonder if when it finally happens, the City of Columbia will welcome our vision and encourage our success.  Or will the city deem our building too short/too tall/too boring/too interesting/too close to the roadway/not close enough to the roadway or…

I have to believe in the former over the latter or I’ll lose all of my faith in the idea that you can build a business from nothing and make it into something.  And that the nothing can be something without teams of lawyers and real estate experts and 14 month battles over building heights and commercial zoning.  Hello, city council?  Can we get back on the pro-business bus and stop wasting time with the things that don’t matter?  And if not, can we may do something about the traffic signal timing at the intersection of Providence and Broadway?  Something?  Anything?

Thanks for letting me get on my soapbox.



Big Book of Stuff

As our presence on Buttonwood has grown over the past few months, we’ve had quite a few comments along the lines of “wow, you all really need a sign” or “this was hard to find…I couldn’t see the banner from the road.” And without question, those are completely legit comments.  At different intervals in the PJP planning process, we considered signage and even had a local company do some drawings and price quotes…but it was never a thing that we both felt like was top priority.  (I don’t know why neither of us put the emphasis on exterior signage.  We plan to add it to the great big book of “Stuff We Wish We Would Have Known Before We Started A Business”.)

Enter Adam McMillen of McMillen Industries.  Adam is a local artist (craftsman? ironworking genius?) who helped us with our beloved whiskey barrel chandelier lights in the front of our space.  He shares our love of the raw industrial vibe and so when he said he had some ideas for signage, we were all ears.  He basically proposed creating our logo out of metal (complete with LED backlighting for the night).  His drawings were a complete departure from the drawings we received from another company and WE LOVED IT.  So at the cost of $3700, we swallowed hard and commissioned a massive piece of PJP art to hang outside our space.

For a good part of the summer, Adam worked on creating his design.  I have no clue whatsoever how someone takes a sheet of metal and then makes our logo.  In fact, my brain can’t even comprehend how to begin such a task.  And luckily for me, all we had to do was keep selling pies to pay in increments toward our $3700.  All the while, I noticed that new businesses in the Rock Bridge area were going in and almost all started with a sign before any other construction started.  And maybe that means nothing or maybe it means that while money doesn’t buy you happiness, it does buy you commercial signage to bring you customers before your doors are even open.

Yesterday I was elated to arrive and find the person that Adam hired for the actual install to be parked immediately in front of PJP Buttonwood.  (As an aside, aren’t you compelled by our broken down banner on the right in this picture?  Apparently Sharp Mechanical couldn’t have come any sooner.)


What you can’t see in this picture is that there is only one guy there to install a massive sign AND it was approximately three billion degrees outside yesterday.


This guy – sadly, I don’t even know his name – spent like SEVEN hours yesterday working on installing this sign.  And so if this pie thing doesn’t work out, apparently I’m not well suited to being a sign installer because “It’s hot” and “I don’t want to climb that ladder” probably aren’t acceptable responses to someone wanting an install.

First he worked on digging around in the electrical portion behind where the sign was to be installed.  (And in case you are wondering, “digging around” is a legit electrical term).  Here is the back of the sign with the wiring so that the sign will light up during the night hours.


And then he readied the front of the building for the sign’s new home.


And if you are dying of anticipation to see exactly what he was preparing to hang, well then, here you go…I present our sign, in its full $3700 glory…


We LOVE it.  We feel like it fits the vibe of our space and gives a first impression to PJP that is exactly what we wanted.  This iPhone picture makes the sign look a bit more yellow than the real life version.  In real life, it matches our logo perfectly.  And finally, for the shot you’ve been waiting to see…


I love that in this picture, you see broken down banner on the bottom right and then the new sign at the top.  It is just a little reminder that sometimes Jeanne and I start with little planning or forethought, but then it turns out perfectly.  In this case, we love it.

Let’s Pretend You Care…

If you are anything like us, you have probably had a really long week.  Columbia Public Schools started class on Tuesday and Mizzou opened the dorms for students to move in during these past few days.   (On a side note, I saw a guy carrying a queen size mattress by himself across four lanes of traffic on College Avenue yesterday.  The mattress was completely impeding his vision and he sorta just dodged around cars like that Atari game Frogger.  I was equal parts prepared for the worst and yet impressed at the same time.)

Add in sports practices, 18,000 trips to Target because my kids perpetually need some other random item for school, our monthly pie party on Thursday, and the fact that it is oppressively, surface-of-the-sun hot, and well, this Saturday morning finds me a limping towards the finish line.  (On another side note, I would probably be less tired if Target could just put a Target on the southwest side of Columbia.  It could connect to a Chipotle and a drive-thru Starbucks and it would actually be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.)  So, here are a bunch of random things from this week that share no common theme and may or may not be interesting to you.  Let’s pretend you care…

  1. PJP is getting a sign on Monday.  Like a legitimate, you-can-see-it-from-Nifong sign.  What’s that you say?  A beat-up, half falling off banner didn’t make it easier for you to find our shop??  I’ll have a whole post about our sign early next week, but as a preview, I’ll tell you that it is awesome.  And it cost $3700, so I plan to hug and kiss it before it is mounted to the outside of our building.  And if a bird tries to make a nest in any of the letters, I’m just going to charge them rent, including triple nets, because I’ve learned a thing or two from Silent Stan.
  2. We received a bill from our dishwasher leasing company for $75 this week.  It said “MIN PRODUCT ADJ” on it (their caps, not mine…I only shout about dishwasher bills when I pay them).  So I called to inquire about the MIN PRODUCT ADJ and I was told that we didn’t buy enough chemicals in their opinion so we were being charged for that.  UM, WHAT??  That is actually an awesome business model.  Maybe you reading this didn’t buy as much pie as I want you to, so I’ll just be charging the difference.  And look, we wash an OBSCENE amount of dishes at PJP Buttonwood, so it makes me wonder what the product minimum is actually.  I guess we will never know because I ripped the bill in half and threw it in the trash due to the whole thing being dumb, it was Friday, and I was annoyed.  And I’m sure they will just send another version next month and then I can decide what to do.
  3. We completely missed our food truck delivery yesterday.  We recently switched our food broker because the first one couldn’t ever guarantee a delivery time.  The new one makes us their first stop and the truck usually rolls into the lot around 5 am.  Because we had the pie party the night before, we both overslept and missed it.  Irony.  He finally came back around 4 pm, but that was after I had made 8,142,035 trips to Hy-Vee for random items, like eggs.  I actually overheard a lady wondering where raisins were and I was able to answer her like some sort of renegade Hy-Vee employee.
  4. Our freezer stopped working at some point in the night on Thursday.  The place that sold it to us actually sent a repairman from Camdenton up yesterday to fix it.  I love when an issue becomes a non-issue.  He got us working quickly (which is good because that freezer is four months old and cost more than a car).  I could tell you what was wrong but it all sounded like “this thing that goes here was bent and then couldn’t move back this way so I replaced this end thing and that made the beeping sound stop and now it makes the whoosh of cold air like it should” and so the point is, it works.
  5. My arms hurt from carrying our trash to the dumpster.  True story.
  6. And while I’m on it, who decided that bagging flour and sugar in 50 pound increments was a good idea?  That is really just super heavy and I feel like I could handle 40 pounds much easier.  If anyone in the flour and sugar bagging industry is reading this.
  7. I have nothing else.  I never end on an odd number.  It pains me to end on an odd number, but we have a ton of pies to bake this morning and if I don’t get up and purchase some coffee and start baking some pies, it is possible I’ll never move from this couch.  What I don’t have though is apparently enough dishes to wash according to our dishwasher company.  Just sayin.