The holiday season at PJP Buttonwood is notoriously rough on Team PJP. For the past two years, we’ve tried to plan time for a legitimate Team PJP holiday party…and it has never happened. The date is inevitably chosen and then plans aborted after we all work a 14 hour day and face a 2 am start time the next day. You know what Team PJP likes for Christmas? Bengay in bulk.
Over the last month, we’ve added a lot of staff who have no clue what they face in the coming fall months. More than a few of you have stopped by and noticed our baking space packed with new faces. There was one day last week where I actually broke into hives thinking about the amount of payroll accumulating by the minute in our 1,050 square foot space…but then when a massive baking schedule was finished by noon, I decided to get over being itchy. (Remind me of this when it is time to pay the quarterly payroll taxes.)
So with all sorts of new people and all sorts of people in transition (Mac headed to Ireland for the summer and Mitch headed to Denver FOREVER), we decided to finally have the long overdue holiday party. In June. Which could be the most Jeanne and I thing ever. (And as it turns out, Jeanne couldn’t even be there…making it definitely the most Jeanne and I thing ever.)
In short, I cooked an absolute ton of food (but not pie) and most of Team PJP showed up at my house. We ate a lot and had conversations that weren’t interrupted by oven timers. We also watched a lot of Naked and Afraid together, which I believe signifies the fact that we are all comfortable with each other because eating ribs together while criticizing the decisions naked people make in the Cambodian jungle requires a special level of chill.
In other news completely unrelated (yet important) news, we’ve decided to close for the day on Tuesday, July 5th on the theory that everyone will be tired and bloated from a full day of holiday fun on the 4th. Ourselves included. I’ll second guess myself the entire day, but would you expect any less?
Jeanne and I were long past due in making some solid decisions about several fall events that have quickly approaching application deadlines. (Even though it is 100 degrees out and having a legit conversation about whether it will be chilly by late September requires a fair stretch of imagination.)
First up, we’ve been thinking a bit about participating in Taste of St. Louis in mid-September. Held in Chesterfield, this event promises to be a haven for every foodie in a 500 mile radius. And honestly, I was more intrigued by the event than Jeanne ever was…but probably because I thought more about how much fun it could be, while she sobered me up by reminding me that somehow we would have to get a lot of pies from PJP Buttonwood to PJP Chesterfield over the course of three days and that probably wouldn’t be easy. Also, the participation fee is $2,000, so the stakes are high to succeed at an event that we’ve never been to before. Great event, but not for us this year. But next year…
Just a few weeks later in September is the Roots N Blues festival in Stephens Park. Deciding to participate wasn’t even a question because we had great success (and so much fun). But the festival organizers ask for a drawing of our proposed booth and also a proposed menu, so Jeanne and I had to put a little early thought into our plan for this year. (Knowing a little more about what to expect this year because it is our second time to participate is a huge help.) Now I only have to figure out a) how to woo Jason Isbell to the PJP booth that weekend, and b) how to not massively fangirl if it happens.
And finally, in the most difficult decision to make…Holiday Festival (formerly known as King’s Daughters). We’ve participated in this annual shopping event at the Holiday Inn Expo Center for the past two years and well, we sorta love it. We sell a lot of pies, make a lot of new friends, and get to shop for ourselves (because, priorities). So imagine my dismay when the application hits my inbox and it is scheduled for THE WEEKEND IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THANKSGIVING. Gah. Could we make hundreds of tarts and jars and baby pies and sell them over the weekend AND do all the prep work to make over a thousand pies on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday? And not be dead by Thursday? The old us would say yes (and in fact, the old us actually did because that was the exact schedule our first Thanksgiving). But the more wise versions of us are quick to recognize that agreeing to do that is crazy…even beyond our realm of crazy. And so it pained me to respond and say that we couldn’t participate this year because of the scheduling, but I did it. Let’s all have a cheer for burgeoning entrepreneurial maturity.
But if Jason Isbell was performing at Holiday Festival…well…
Well, as it turns out Jeanne’s blog posts from last week weren’t posted to Facebook (although they were on the PJP website). If you missed out and are curious about PJP from her perspective, you can find her posts here, here, and here. Oh, and my favorite here. Read them and I think we will all agree that Jeanne is happy tonight that I’m making the shipping labels for tomorrow and that she is most likely already in bed. (Though I did see that Hulu just added “Hopalong Cassidy”, so she could be 81 episodes in and high on William Boyd…that is possible too.)
Speaking of shipping, we learned this afternoon that our sweet Jelly Jar pies are featured in the July issue of Entrepreneur magazine…
Available on newsstands nationwide, July’s Entrepreneur has a short feature on several companies with innovative packaging and design and the editors included PJP. I KNOW, RIGHT?
Because I lack zero chill when it comes to thinking about World Pie Domination in full color for sale across the United States, I went immediately to Barnes&Noble and purchased every copy available. And when I checked out, the clerk said “huh…another guy just came in here and bought the same magazine…”, which was funny because I was certain it was Aaron Ottis, who was responsible for the beautiful images of the jars (and who got the photo credit in the magazine).
By way of backstory, I was contacted two months or so ago by the person who wrote the piece and we had a lovely chat. I sent her a sample box later that week and shortly thereafter, a photo editor from Entrepreneur emailed me with an urgent request for high resolution photos of the jars. I was so very thankful to be able to include Aaron on the email loop so that he could jump in and take the lead, making us look like a polished and legit company (because without him, I probably would have had to offer to text her an iPhone pic…super classy).
So, there’s all that. If you happen upon PJP in the next five weeks or so, be certain that we will whip out a copy and show it to you. World Pie Domination on newsstands in America, available now (except at the Columbia Barnes&Noble because I bought them all).