Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Blog-O-Versary…

Thursday will mark the one-year anniversary (blog-o-versary) of the PJP blog…which is actually pretty impressive because if you know me, then you know that I’m really good at being about something until I’m really good at being about something else.  But here is the honest truth, I love the blog.  Not because I feel like anything I share here is any better than the million other things you can read on the Internet, but because I’m documenting the PJP story…the good, the bad, the ridiculous, the hilarious, the annoying, and all the other.  And when world pie domination finally happens, I’ll be happy to read back through the journey.

The blog started out of a bit of bravado…a bit of “oh, I’m a lawyer and Jeanne has done this all before, so how hard could it really be to start a business and wouldn’t it be fun to blog about it too??”  And remember Peg’s illness (and subsequent passing) wasn’t really publicly discussed in PJP V. 1.0, so I wanted the effort to create PJP V. 2.0 to be a transparent process.  Baking pies is messy.  Working with your mother is messy.  Figuring out how to run a business?  Even messier.

Also, I wanted to see what I could learn along the way (spoiler alert – uhhhh…we learn a lot).  You can walk into any bookstore and find a whole section of books that will tell you starting a business is easy if you just follow the author’s advice.  Or if you watch infomercials, you’ve probably noticed that you can pay only $99.99 plus shipping and handling for a DVD set with all the answers to starting a business.  And hurry, because operators are standing by and the offer won’t last.  But where is the true story about building a business in the world we live in today?  (Did anyone else just hear the intro to MTV’s Real World in their head?  Let’s all be happy we aren’t seven strangers picked to live in a house to see what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.)

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And all this is to say the blog has really become my very favorite thing about this whole PJP show (except all of my new customer/friends and when Jeanne makes me laugh so hard that I have to sit down on the floor at PJP Buttonwood).  And believe it or not, the blog turns ONE on Thursday.  ONE.  And since we can’t buy a smash cake for a blog or toast it with champagne, we need to celebrate the blog-o-versary in some meaningful way, right?  Because if we have discovered anything over the past 211 posts, it is that I’m a fan of a milestone.

So, I thought, why don’t the readers take over the blog for the day?  Any questions you have unanswered?  Anything you want to know more about?  Any topic you wish we explored more in-depth?  Leave a comment here or send an email to rebecca@pjpies.com and let us know.  Facebook posts and Tweets are totally fine as well.  We will compile and address them all in Thursday’s post…

 

A Virtual Grab Bag…

Tonight I share with you a little bit of everything going on at PJP…a virtual grab bag of pie-related news…

  1. A few weeks ago, the property manager for our space let us know that The Kroenke Group wasn’t terribly happy with our new exterior sign and it was “under review.”  Apparently, TKG didn’t feel the sign “fit the vibe” of the shopping center.  (Bwahahaha…I didn’t know a strip mall with a 24-hour laundromat had a vibe.)  We’ve spent the last few weeks in a panic that we would have to remove all $3700 worth of our sign and the mere thought made us ill (and grouchy).  Thankfully, TKG decided to do us a solid and give us an exemption on the promise the sign won’t rust and stain the building.  Silent Stan, I hereby take back any and all snarky comments I have made about the cash you drop on jet fuel.
  2. Tonight is the autumn equinox.  For a lot of people, all they can think about is Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks.  For PJP, all we can think about is Thanksgiving pies.  We are having wee bit of an internal dispute about how many pies we can produce in those three days before Thanksgiving.  I’m leaning toward 2,000.  Jeanne is leaning toward never talking to me again.
  3. Speaking of Jeanne, from where I write this, I can hear her watching House Hunters.
  4. Feast Magazine, a food publication from St. Louis (http://www.feastmagazine.com), is writing an article about us for their November issue.  The reporter came several Saturdays ago and chatted with us for a few hours and we really felt like she understood us, so we can’t wait to see her finished article.  Last Thursday, the photographer came and took pictures.  And by “took pictures”, I mean “stayed from 8 am until 3 pm”.  We didn’t mind him spending the day with us in the least, but he was probably sick of us questioning what he could Photoshop off of us.
  5. We are providing pies for a wedding this weekend and it is a milestone event because it is the bride and groom are having a triple stack pie instead of a wedding cake.  If you need us this week, we will just be at PJP Buttonwood working up a fair amount of perfection anxiety and terror sweat.
  6. We tried several new pies at last Thursday’s pie tasting…a pumpkin pecan, a ginger pear, and a sweet potato.  All met positive reviews, so perhaps you’ll see those in the store as the weather begins to turn a bit cooler.  This month’s Pie Party was as much fun as always and it was extra special, as it was the last Pie Party of the year.  (We plan to resume the event in May.)  All that said, we are working on a few super fun event ideas for the winter months.
  7. I’ve taken over the Twitter from Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru-Jason.  I’ve tweeted The Avett Brothers and Jason Isbell enough times over the past week that I’m expecting a restraining order to arrive soon.  But I really just want them to stop by PJP Buttonwood when in town for Roots and Blues this weekend.  And hey, Avett Brothers and Jason Isbell, if my incessant tweeting has alerted you to this blog…pie for life if you just visit us, or I would settled for a retweet at this point.  #Justsayin
  8. In response to my blog post about receiving a never-ending stream of bills at PJP, a reader sent me a note and Starbucks gift card.  I may have cried.  A lot.  I’ll say it over and over again, we simply have the best customers in the entire world.
  9. I never end on nine.
  10. Oh, Jeanne has installed a new tabletop on the whisky barrels in the front of PJP Buttonwood on a whim.  It is nothing short of amazing, as usual…

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154 Days.

Today is a PJP Buttonwood month-aversary…we ushered in our fifth month of existence this morning with a nod to the milestone and two large mochas from Caribou.  And in our tradition, here are our thoughts about five months in…

  1. Our space is finally starting to feel like it belongs to us.  While writing a check for $1560 a month to The Kroenke Group for rent and triple nets is a harsh reminder that we will only be at home for the next 54 months with an option to renew, the addition of the wooden display unit, the bench, and a few other touches make us love our 1,000 square feet like we built it ourselves.
  2. Speaking of building, we’ve learned that going through the construction process on our own space was overwhelming.  Working in our space while construction is in full swing on the units next door, well, that is enough to make us crazy.  Our new neighbors are required to install a firewall between our spaces.  I don’t know what a firewall looks like or what it is made out of, but I do know that installing one requires hammering, sawing, and drilling incessantly.  If a chunk of our wall fell out and a construction worker rolled onto our floor, we likely wouldn’t even notice.
  3. If Jeanne is in the back of PJP Buttonwood and I’m in the front and we are trying to have a conversation, she will ask me to repeat myself after every word.  I’ve suggested her first official Tweet be to Beltone about some informational brochures.
  4. At least twice a week, the phone company people call and try to convince us to pay a hefty sum to be listed in the yellow pages.  Apparently, they are suckering some people into believing that this is still 1987 and that people actually still use the yellow pages.
  5. Being a new business in a town that is home to the number one ranked journalism school in the country will mean that dozens of young and inspired hopeful journalists will ask to interview us, record us, photograph us…or a combination of all three.  We pretty much say yes to them all, even if it means we have two or three in PJP Buttonwood at one time.  A few weeks ago, we had seven different students from the same class interviewing us.  We didn’t mind, but I would guess the professor of that class probably rolls his or her eyes at the mere mention of PJP.
  6. I struggle with saying no to telemarketers, advertisers, donation seekers, and all the like.  But I’m making true progress with sorting out what works for PJP in terms of our growth and budget and what doesn’t.  When I finally took the big plunge and said “no” to a particular person, I felt guilty for the next 12 hours and apologized profusely.  But by the time the fourth person rolled in that week and I had to say “no, thanks” for various reasons, I only felt guilty for about seven hours.  Progress.
  7. The Missouri Department of Revenue collects sales tax on different days depending on the month.  I’m sure there is some legislative logic behind it like:  “If a month has 30 days, then collect it on the 22nd.  But if it has 31 days, then collect it on the 29th.  But if it has 28 days, collect it on the 21st.  But if it is a leap year, then collect it on the 15th.  But if you want a 2% discount for filing early, then e-file the week before.”  Do we think that the committee who made those rules was really that oblivious to how annoying it is to collect it on different days each month?  Or do we think the committee knew just how dumb it was and they just wanted to see if they could get a legislative majority to think it sounded like a solid plan?
  8. Our accountant completed our partnership tax return this week (we needed an extension from the April deadline because it didn’t occur to me to consult someone about our taxes until April 13th-ish).  One brief glance through the return left me scarred and shaking in the corner.  I am so very thankful we have someone who is qualified to do that sort of thing for us because I could only have answered “maybe” to most of the questions on the return.
  9. I didn’t even know we had anything gas powered in our space until The Kroenke Group called two weeks ago and wanted to know if I was ever going to put the gas from Ameren UE into PJP’s name.  My response was “uhhhh…we have gas here?”.  Once I got the service switched to our name, I immediately received a bill for a $300 deposit on the service.  Apparently, Ameren UE keeps the $300 for 24 months and then if you’ve been paying on time, you get it back.  And I guess I begrudgingly get that some people just leave their gas bill and never pay, but I can assure Ameren UE that we won’t do that.  Therefore, I would be super happy to not loan them $300 for the next 720 days or so.
  10.  We still believe in world pie domination.  Even after 152 days of early mornings, late nights, epic throwdowns spurred by complete exhaustion, and feeling like we don’t know what we are doing.  I have no idea who said this, but the whole “the dream is free, the hustle is sold separately” thing?  Completely legit.