Monthly Archives: November 2014

PJP Roadshow.

Our panic about the King’s Daughters festival this weekend arrived to PJP Buttonwood this morning and look, if Panic were a person, Panic would have arrived on a horse-drawn carriage and wearing a crown of diamonds and Xanax.  Throw in some trumpets, a 21-gun salute, and a red carpet and you get a glimpse into the overwhelming feeling Jeanne and I had for most of our day today.


We’ve never taken the PJP show on the road.  We’ve discussed various opportunities to sell pies at our own booth and yet, we could never quite commit.  Finally, we decided to just rip the band-aid right off our fear and filled out a booth application for King’s Daughters.  We sent it in with our $350 check without letting ourselves talk ourselves out of it.  And then Jeanne spent weeks running around and telling anyone who would listen that we rented a booth for King’s Daughters and we didn’t have a plan for it.  She was saying it six weeks ago and she was saying it two days ago and she was saying it all the days in between…and she was right, as usual.

One of the many great things about Jeanne is that she can tell you she doesn’t know what she is doing or that she hasn’t a clue how to prep for something and then all of a sudden, 28 crates from JoAnn’s show up at PJP Buttonwood and Jeanne says “oh, yeah, I ordered all of these for our booth display!”  Um, ok.  I accept.

Beyond all the decorating, we had to make some very real decisions today about how much pie we should take.  According to one of the organizers of King’s Daughters, average attendance is between 3,000 to 5,000 over the course of the three-day event.  And so based on nothing scientific, we’ve decided to take 600 jelly jar pies, 200 baby pies, and around 50 nine-inch pies.  And maybe we will sell some of it and maybe we will sell of it…we really just have no idea what to expect.

Behind the decor and the pie selection, we also tried to work on staffing today.  Obviously, the booth needs to be full of Team PJP so that customers can have their questions answered and their payments processed.  And obviously, PJP Buttonwood needs Team PJP on Saturday while we are open from 9 until 1 AND Team PJP needs to keep baking for the storefront and the booth.

And quite honestly, all of this decision-making makes me want to lay in my bed with the covers over my head.  I’m pretty sure Martha Stewart does the same in times of indecision and stress, right?

Make plans to see us tomorrow from 6 pm until 9 pm, Saturday 8 am until 5 pm, and/or Sunday from 11 am until 4 pm.  Or stop by tomorrow or Saturday at PJP Buttonwood and pick up pies.  Either way, please plan to buy a Jelly Jar pie so I can feel justified in making 600 jars with tiny forks tomorrow…


Dear Sir/Madam…

Someone emailed me earlier today and asked me how I knew I was ready to start a business.  Because the email started with “Dear Sir/Madam”, I’m guessing the person didn’t seek me out based on any particular interest, but rather blind-copied a ton of email addresses and is now waiting to see if anyone will respond…


I considered replying that if the person was really interested, they would have at least cut and pasted my name into their template instead of sending a generic query to an unspecified group, but I decided to give the benefit of doubt to the person just this once…because it is the holiday season, right?  Therefore…

Dear Anonymous:

I’m not sure what sort of business you are interested in or how you found my email address, but please don’t sell it for money or suggest that I send my answers in with a money order made out to a Nigerian prince that you plan to return to me as soon as you have entry into the United States.  I can only tell you what I know from my experiences and so these things may mean nothing…or everything…to you as you read on…

Start a business if…

  1. You are willing and able to consider your new business as your newest family member.  You’ll need to think about it constantly and give it everything it needs without resenting it.
  2. You can accept that you won’t know what you are doing a lot of the time.  Entrepreneurs who tell you they always know exactly what they are doing and they are super good at what they do are insane.
  3. You have to have a fairly good sense of your end game…if you are looking for retirement benefits and managed expectations, this isn’t for you.  If you don’t think about pensions but rather think about just working until you own a private plane with your face on the side of it, well then…
  4. You are prepared to be happy, satisfied, confused, exhausted, and/or clueless.  Or all of those things at the same time.
  5. You don’t need a rigid routine to be okay.  If you grocery shop at 10 am, fold laundry at 2 pm, answer emails from your bed, and stay up until the house is quiet to watch Netflix in peace and that makes you completely happy, this might work for you.
  6. You would rather work 16 hours in a row for little or no paycheck rather than attend a weekly leadership meeting wherein everyone shares their talking points about a topic that isn’t even particularly interesting.
  7. You aren’t a fan of 8 am start times, 5 pm stop times, one hour to eat lunch, or asking permission to eat a 30 minute lunch so you can leave 30 minutes early in the evening to pickup kids from daycare.  Sigh.
  8. You are completely okay with being the CEO and also the person that shop-vacuums the floor, takes out the trash, and writes all the checks.
  9. You can accept that some people will think you are making a mess of your life by leaving the comfort of a predictable routine and steady paycheck.
  10. You thrive on the unexpected, the unpredictable, and the unknown.

I have no idea if you will find any of the above thoughts to be pertinent to your plans.  If you think I’m completely wrong and have no clue what I’m talking about, you could be right.  Take it for what it is worth.



PS…World Pie Domination




PJP Was Here…

Earlier this week, we were tipped off to an amazing sale at Hy-Vee…Land O’Lakes butter for $2.99 a pound and evaporated milk for .88 cents a can.  And believe it or not, those are much better prices than our food broker is able to offer this week.  Because those sale prices end today, first on our agenda this morning was to stop by and basically buy all the butter and all the evaporated milk.  We planned to shop even before we had our morning mochas from Caribou, so you know this was some serious business, INDEED.

This may not surprise you, but people look at you oddly when you load 100 cans of evaporated milk into your cart.  I have a whole new respect for those Extreme Couponers because finding the deals and loading the deals into your cart and keeping track of how much you have of a product in your cart while others look on is well, it is strange.  Once we secured the evaporated milk without incident for the hundreds of pumpkin pies headed our way in the next week, we headed straight for the butter.

Remember that butter is the very heart and soul of PJP.  And here is the thing about butter…the market price fluctuates wildly.  I have no idea if there is some sort of National Board of Butter or how the pricing is set, but it can only be by a complex formula that takes the number of sticks of butter sold in America in one day divided by the number of people who simply thought about butter times the number of people who think Country Crock might actually be butter.  I can’t think of any other explanation for the wild swings in butter pricing and so when Hy-Vee announced $2.99 for Land O’Lakes, we said, YES PLEASE.

Which is how we ended up with this picture…


As you can see, we wiped the stock clean.  If you wonder about those Land O’Lakes boxes to the right in the picture, those are what Land O’Lakes calls “LIGHT BUTTER” and clearly, that product won’t be joining the PJP party.  And in case anyone was on the hunt for the $2.99 special on the Land O’Lakes butter, well, we felt we should leave a note to make everyone else who came along after us aware that we take responsibility for emptying the stock.

After checking out with about $300 in dairy items, Jeanne decided that simply pushing the cart back to PJP Buttonwood would be far superior to standing in the freezing cold and unloading the butter and milk into my car, driving to PJP, and then unloading the car and carrying it all into the store.  So she did what any sane(ish) person would do…she pushed the cart to PJP.  I drove along side her at a snail’s pace and with my window down, like we were training her for some sort of bizarre running event.



While all this was going on, a woman drove by and looked at us like we had lost our minds…or stolen all of Hy-vee’s butter.  While I drove around to the front, Jeanne went to our back door and knocked.  Our two employees – Mac and Mitch – opened the door and didn’t even question us…they just rolled the cart right into PJP…


We unloaded everything and returned the cart like it was just any normal PJP day.  And perhaps that is why I love PJP so very much…no one’s normal day starts with buying 50 pounds of butter and pushing it in a grocery cart through a massive parking lot on a cold fall morning.  Except ours.  Sounds legit.