When we started to plan our hours for PJP Buttonwood before ever opening our doors, we considered a lot of different options. And honestly, we originally looked at the model of just closing each day when we were sold out of pie…whether that was noon or 4:30 pm. But by some stroke of maturity (or divine intervention), we realized that we don’t have the personalities for that sort of environment and set hours would be much better. (Primarily because one of us would have tried to convince the other one that it was okay to bake five pies and sell them in five minutes and then close the store early on Saturday after a long week.)
And so our current hours of 10:30 – 5:30 Tuesday – Friday and 9 – 1 on Saturday was based on nothing scientific and chosen only because it “sounded like it would work.”
Except it doesn’t really.
What has become clear to us over the last year is that we actually need to be open MORE. And while we’ve heard the rumblings from customers for at least the last six months or so, we’ve covered our ears and ignored it on the theory of “we are tired”. Sounds like a legitimate business principle, no?
But here is the truth…an extra 30 minutes in the evening would provide some extra time to stop by after work for a lot of our customers. As Columbia continues to grow and the city continues to install traffic circles every 27 feet, traffic makes getting anywhere in our town a near impossibility on a time schedule at 5 pm or after. And 30 minutes later – 6 pm – isn’t the worst thing to consider. A lot of days were are still there after we close at 5:30 as we try to clean up and prep for the next day.
But here is the bigger issue to consider…SATURDAYS. Saturdays have always presented a problem because we are never certain how busy we will be. Some Saturdays are slower and some are absolutely packed. We also aren’t open on Sunday to sell off pie at half-price, so we are careful about our baking schedule and avoid overproducing so we don’t have lost product. Around this time of year, we start baking around 5 or 6 on Saturday morning and by 10 am, we are still asking each other “well, do you think we should bake more?” And then the other one says “I don’t know…do you?” And then the other says “I asked you first.” (Another piece to consider in this puzzle is that almost without exception, Jeanne and I work the Saturdays alone to keep payroll down.)
Most weekends, it is pretty quiet at PJP Buttonwood until about 11 am. By 1, we are trying to close our doors as the customers are streaming in and asking what is left…and the answer is usually “absolutely nothing.” Awkward.
We are considering 10:30 to 4 on Saturdays, with the realization that someone else would have to work at least the afternoons because by 1 or so, Jeanne and I are ardently 100% over our week. But we don’t know…and we need your feedback. Would you stop by PJP Buttonwood on Saturdays if you could do so in the afternoon? Would it help with planning your weekend events if you could pick up pies later in the day? Comments please.