Monthly Archives: February 2015

Instagram? Yes, Please.

I shared some thoughts last week about what makes social media work in a business.  And before you think I know anything about the subject, please know that on last Thursday alone, we gained four new Facebook fans, lost one, and had one person elect to unfollow all of our posts, but still be our fan.  And suffice it to say, I spent more time than socially acceptable thinking about those unlikes and in particular, the unfollow.  (On a side note, someone should totally create a Xanax vending machine that dispense JUST ONE to you in a 90 day period without a prescription.  Because I could have used it on Thursday.)

So, this is just my long way of saying that I couldn’t sleep on Thursday night.  Between obsessing about people I don’t know, people I do know, and 12 other things that likely don’t even matter, I found myself listening to “Not Ready to Make Nice” by The Dixie Chicks eight or 15 times in a row and updating apps to my new iPhone 6…because that is relaxing at 12:45 am, right?  As the new Instagram update loaded, I decided to commit some time to learning how Instagram works for business.

In full disclosure, my baseline Instagram knowledge is limited.  I know that all THE KIDS these days (hint:  people 25 and under) prefer Instagram to Facebook.  I know it is the preferred social media medium for posting an artistic photo of your dinner.  I know that whomever invented flattering filters for photos that instantly make you look younger and thinner should be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize immediately.

Two hours after logging into the PJP account, I want seven new puppies, a labor intensive manicure, and a ticket to Paris immediately.  In short, I TOTALLY GET THE INSTAGRAM ADDICTION.  Like a compelling twist of Facebook and Pinterest, Instagram is my spirit animal.  By its very nature, you can look through endless streams of photos without providing any sort of commentary.  Search for #pies on Instagram and find 1,930,444 different pictures.  Search for #pieishome and find 22 different pictures.

As I started to add pictures to the PJP Instagram account, I felt like I could be a little less formal in what goes out via Instagram rather than Facebook or Twitter.  On a daily basis, I think of something or see something and really have to work through whether that would be a good Facebook post…would people like it?  Would the tone come across as anticipated?  If I post twice in one day, will someone roll their eyes and unfollow us?  (Clearly, the answer to the last question is YES.)

But here is the thing…Instagram is decidedly more low-key.  I like that I can simply like someone’s picture without providing my “SO CUTE!!!” commentary.


While this likely isn’t something that I would post to Facebook because the audience that will appreciate it is probably a bit more esoteric than our 2,635 Facebook fans.  But yet, in terms of branding our image, this is pretty spot on to how both Jeanne and I think on occasion.  Maybe Mindy Kaling is my spirit animal, come to think of it.

If you want to check out my margarita selfies, find us on Instagram at “Peggy Jean’s Pies.”  No, Jeanne doesn’t understand how it all works (her feelings on the topic are “Insta-Who?”)…but my feelings are pretty clear, because it is like Instagram already knows me…


Righteous Indignation 2015

Prepare yourselves for my first righteously indignant post of 2015.

In today’s mail, we received a bill from The Kroenke Group for $1,224.97 for “CAM and Insurance” adjustments.  And because our monthly Triple Net & Rent includes our portion for the insurance on the commercial building (that we don’t own, ahem), I assumed this was one of those weird bills you get this time of year that isn’t really a bill, just a statement to tell you where all your money went for 2014.  EXCEPT IT WAS A LEGITIMATE BILL.  The $1,224.97 is our portion of our yearly shortfall for insurance and monthly maintenance.


The bill also included an itemized listing of the expenses for the Rock Bridge Shopping Center in 2014.  Please sit down before you read any further:

  1. Maintenance and Repair $127,710.28
  2. Electricity $14,888
  3. Refuse $998.68
  4. Canopy Light $6,267.00
  5. Landscaping $19,272.25
  6. Sweeping $45,441.25
  7. Mowing $14,746.43
  8. Asphalt Repair $20,791
  9. Snow Removal $50,082.65
  10. Striping $5,725
  11. Roof Repairs $3,172.06
  12. Custodial Service $21,787.50
  13. Security Line $1,770.45
  14. Storm Sewer $1,177.48
  15. Labor Cost $2,543.72
  16. TKG Office Management Expenses $9,100



My absolute favorite part of the bill was the itemized listing for “Holiday Decorations / $0.00”  So, essentially what this statement tells me is that we have holiday wreaths from 1967 and yet, the annual bill for sweeping is $45,441.25.  And someone please email me immediately and tell me that the “sweeping” on the bill isn’t the sort of sweeping you do with a broom because $45K buys A LOT OF BROOMS.  Also, I’ve never seen anyone sweep our parking lot or sidewalks.  Ever.  And every single morning, we vacuum our outdoor rug to get rid of the stray dryer lint dust from the dry cleaners and I feel like if I’m paying $21,787.50 for generic custodial service, we should get a day off from that now and then.  Or maybe we should get to meet the custodian.  Also?  I would like a pamphlet on the security line.  And I know I’m getting on my soapbox, but we had enough snow in 2014 to warrant $50,000 worth of removal?  Are you getting my righteous indignation vibe quite yet?

I’m sure the requirement that we pay these additional charges were buried somewhere deep in our lease agreement and in my zeal to start World Pie Domination, I skimmed right on over it.  (I like to think though that if there were an extra charge for sweeping, I would have noticed.)

All that said, I would be highly supportive of letting Silent Stan pay it all since HE OWNS THE PROPERTY and I would guess these items are the cost of doing business in the world of commercial real estate.  And if we are all going to share in the costs, then perhaps our rent should just be raised to compensate for it…it is much better than getting a pricey bill during the slowest retail time of the year.

Just saying.



300 Days.

Here we are at the 10 month mark of PJP Buttonwood.  And I’m starting to worry that even five years from now, I’ll be compelled to mark each milestone in terms of months.  As in “oh, PJP is 70 months old today…”

Here is what we know:

  1. Understanding the person you own a business with is an evolving process.  I know Jeanne…as in I KNOW HER.  I could walk into a store and buy her favorite lipstick and her favorite bottle of wine without calling to ask her either.  We can have an entire conversation by only looking at each other.  I can finish her sentences.  But I’m still learning about her thoughts about the quest to World Pie Domination.  And I’m never disappointed.
  2. Whatever we lack in competitive hourly pay and benefits plans, we make up for in snacks.FullSizeRender-37
  3. We excel at hosting a super fun party.  Or we excel at drinking wine and showing people how to bake a pie.  Either way.
  4. Jeanne does not care for playlists that feature all the hits from the 90s.  But turn on Peter, Paul, and Mary…
  5. We need someone to serve as our Director of Procurement.  The only qualification is that you don’t wait until we are on the last box/bag/sticker/pound of butter/pint of strawberries before noticing we need more.  Because if we are going to go that route, I can just keep the job.
  6. In effort to accomplish more, we’ve started making ourselves a weekly list and hanging it on the wall in the baking area.  And the only lesson learned here is that sometimes it takes a village into goading us into getting stuff done.FullSizeRender-38
  7. During the winter months, The Kroenke Group lays down enough salt melt in the parking lot and on the sidewalks to whittle away the polar ice cap.  I would guess the budget for salt melt pellets is 98.7% of our monthly common charges.
  8. Being super busy is 982% better than being super slow.  I’m super serious.
  9. Writing on hand pies in cursive dough letters is not in my wheelhouse.  But Jeanne is down with it all day long…FullSizeRender-39
  10. We would not be anything without the exceptionally kind love and support from THE BEST CUSTOMERS EVER.  One day, when I write the story of PJP, I’m dedicating it to you.