Monthly Archives: August 2014

OH MY GOSH…

If you are a PJP fan, you likely know that Jeanne took last week away from PJP Buttonwood to resolve some of our troubling merchandising issues.  And in my blogging last week, I shouted to the World Wide Web that I REALLY REALLY REALLY missed her.  A lot of customers and good friends stopped by to check on me and a few Inner Circle peeps were on the receiving end of my woeful text messages that suggested PJP isn’t PJP without Jeanne and whatever she was building better be worth me running a one-woman show.

You might remember that in April, we purchased a three-tier display unit from a business that had recently closed.  It was, without question, an unremarkable piece of furniture.  Where we wanted a bold statement piece, our purchase was merely a quiet sigh.  But with our opening date quickly approaching at PJP Buttonwood, we needed something – really, anything – to display the pies available for sale.  And that is the charming story of how we ended up here…

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I wish PJP had a dollar for every time that a potential customer walked in, sailed immediately past our bland three-tier display, walked to the counter and said “do you actually have any pie for sale here?”  And so after hearing that a few too many times and after extensive consultation with our beloved Caroline Leemis of Caroline Leemis Design, Jeanne crafted a plan.  And when Jeanne has a plan, she is a little like a dog with a bone…meaning it is best to just get out of her way and let her do her thing.  All she needed from me was a solid week away from the shop to saw and measure.

And after a long week, she and her husband Dale arrived from their workshop with her vision in tow.  She wouldn’t let me see anything until a significant portion of the install had happened.  And when I could resist no longer, I arrived to find this…

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And I immediately fell into an unending love.  Even not completely finished with sawdust on the floor, PJP Buttonwood was a transformed space.

We started the next morning with figuring out how we want to use the space.  Because Jeanne and Dale are 4,292 times better at measuring and planning that I can ever hope to be, they created each box in the perfect dimension to hold both the nine-inch and five-inch version of each pie.  Now a customer can easily find the box for their favorite pie and quickly discern what stock we have available.

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When she wasn’t busy putting Bob Vila’s skills to shame, Jeanne also ordered 15 glass pie displays from Target and in perfect universe alignment, they were delivered to my house on Tuesday.  (On a side note, the UPS man for our neighborhood has to be wondering what the heck I do for a living.)  Her vision was to display a nine-inch version of the pie next to the pies available for sale.  So, for example, a glass dome displays a fresh nine-inch apple pie in the box next to the available apple pies for sale.  And so…

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I know, right?  I fall in love a little bit more each time I look at it.  And here is the thing about Jeanne…it isn’t so much that she built it…it is that she never questioned she could build exactly what she had in mind to transform our entry way.  She’s pretty cool that way.

So stop by and see our new foyer soon.  Bonus points if you stop in your tracks and scream “OH MY GOSH, THIS IS AMAZING!  I LOVE IT!”.

120 Days.

PJP Buttonwood is officially four months old and in keeping with all of our other monthaversaries, here are our lessons learned 120 days into building a pie empire…

  1. Rome wasn’t built in a day…and neither is a pie empire.  Patience is a virtue.  Good things come to those who wait.  Insert your platitude here.  My competitive and impatient side is interested in immediate pie world domination.  My pragmatic and realistic side is learning that we will have to work hard for it.  (And if you are thinking I should have already realized that, then you would be correct.  But I’m always late to the party that way, so…).
  2. Someone from the City of Columbia Public Works Department stops by on occasion to review your “Grease Trap Cleaning Log”.  Yeah.  Because we were so new, he handed me a log (a piece of paper with a chart on it) and said he would be back in the winter.  I actually told Siri to remind me in November to Google “grease trap cleaners in Columbia, Missouri”.
  3. Sales tax this month is due on the 20th.  Last month it was due on the 31st.  Who decides this stuff?  Does someone in Jefferson City just throw a dart at the calendar and decide to just go with wherever it lands?  Or does the state have some big bills to pay at the end of August and so they decide to collect early?  I don’t understand…
  4. Getting an exterior sign is really expensive.  That’s all I have to say about that.
  5. We are getting a lot of requests to be open on Mondays and to stay open later.  It is so compelling…we work there a lot on Mondays and there is nothing worse than seeing people disappointed that we are closed.  That said, we also need work-life balance.  So basically, right now there is no right answer.
  6. Spotting someone in a PJP t-shirt that isn’t related to me by blood or marital covenant is completely bizarre.  It is actually awesome.  It just still feels weird.photo-100
  7. All of our people are leaving us to go back to school.  When the lattice-making machine Bailey tried to leave last Friday, I almost threw myself on the ground, wrapped my arms around her leg, and begged her to stay.  We can’t wait to get her back for Thanksgiving.  And Christmas.  And next summer.  We are finally accepting that we can’t do it all ourselves.
  8. We have so many things we want to do (hello, savory pies, I’m talking to you!).  Figuring out what makes sense for us and what is realistic for us isn’t easy.  That said, six months ago, we would have just tried all the things to see what worked.  PROGRESS.
  9. I am 100% less grouchy if I sleep past 4 am for five or more days in a row.  Jeanne is 100% less grouchy if she goes to bed prior to 9 pm for five or more days in a row.
  10. A few times, here and there, when it was least expected…a rare feeling surfaced.  The best I can describe it is to say that it felt like being exactly where we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be.  I think another word for this might be “happy”.

As always…one billion Internet kisses to our families…you get to wear the crowns after world pie domination happens.  And one billion Internet kisses to our customers…we are privileged to have you in the PJP family.

T.G.I…S?

While most of the world counts their week down to Friday night, PJP life means focusing on the finish line of Saturday afternoon.  And after my week without Jeanne by my side, I felt like I rolled into this morning limping toward the finish line.  Without question, a two-woman show being run by one woman is uh, well, trying.  Here are my lessons from this week:

  1. Jeanne cleans weird stuff out of the sink approximately 192% more times than I do.  I won’t take it for granted any longer.  (Although, I think finishing wet blueberries and wet peaches out of the drain with my hand-made me a stronger woman than I was this time last week.)
  2. It is entirely possible that I ran 187 loads of dishes through the dishwasher yesterday.  We were really busy and I’m messy.  There is no panic like the “we don’t have any clean spatulas” panic.
  3. If I’m forced to make a pie with lattice on it before the sun comes up on Saturday morning, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  And sub-par lattice-work.  And cursing.  And maybe some crying.
  4. Jeanne and I will talk an average of eight times a day.  Five of those conversations will be PJP related.  The other three will be related to my kids, our dogs, Ikea, coffee, the weather, Robin Williams, people we know, people we don’t know, the upcoming school year, football season, hair color, Netflix, shoes, purses, perfume, Sephora, Target, and/or all of the above.
  5. Jeanne is infinitely more creative than I am.  It was all I could do to hold my head above water this week at PJP Buttonwood.  If the situation were reversed and she were there, I bet she would have had double the amount of pie and enough Jelly Jar pies to accommodate everyone that walked through the door and asked about them.
  6. It is, in fact, possible to reach a point when you bake so much that you can’t remember what you have baked previously.  Or what you plan to bake next.  You just know you are baking something.
  7. If there is a week of requests like “write birthday messages on my pie” or “do a combination of sugar and Splenda in my fruit pie” or “make all my pies with meringue on them”, it will be the week Jeanne is gone.
  8. If you stand for approximately 60 hours on concrete floors, your back will feel just like you have stood on concrete for 60 hours…for the next five days.
  9. If you spill blackberry juice on your leg, forget, and then glance down and swear you are bleeding out and going to die before you remember the juice incident, you will feel ridiculous.  Note:  this never happens to Jeanne.
  10. Lifting a 50 pound bag of sugar and pouring into a container alone should qualify one for the Olympics.  I’m not sure if “Sugar Hoisting” is a Summer or Winter sport, but when tryouts start, I’ll be the one to watch.

So, Jeanne, if you are reading this…I MISSED YOU TERRIBLY.  Please come back to PJP ASAP.  Lattice work in the early morning makes you super happy.  And we can cover 10 more conversation topics much faster in person.