Is it just me or does it just seem like it was July just yesterday? Because here we are on the cusp of November and I CAN’T EVEN with pace of things lately. Before this becomes the all-Thanksgiving show for the next few weeks, here are a few other things worth discussing…
- We have been all about the weddings lately, doing 14 in October alone. (I’m pretty sure October is the new June and that is either because of global warming or Pinterest. Or both.) But whatever, because we’ve worked with all sorts of sweet couples and unique venues and had the best time over these last four weekends. This is the RSVP card for a wedding we did on Friday. LOVE. #yesIheardtherespie
- Late in the afternoon on Friday, Mac was working on a final cherry pie. We had cut lattice strips smaller than normal because we were working on tarts and he spent a good chunk of time working on a pie that could be his most beautiful lattice work EVER.
- And speaking of employees, you might recall that one of our newer employees, Emily, is launching her floral business, Sugarberry Blooms. We tasked her with taking us up a notch by adding fresh flowers each week on our front table. She brought our first arrangement last week and it was SWOON WORTHY. We are smitten kittens for her nature inspired take on floral design. We are already super excited to see what she brings us this week.
- Every year about this time, there is a shortage of something integral to what we do. Last year, it was pumpkin. This year, it promises to be nine-inch pie tins. The company that delivers to us purchased the last 17 cases available nationwide and I immediately put our name on six of those cases. That means 3,000 pie tins will arrive at PJP Buttonwood on November 7th. If not, we are all going to have to email the Penny Plate company individually until they get so sick of us that we get whatever they make just to be done with us. In the meantime, this is all we have left. But it makes an interesting picture, no?
- We played around last week with possible ideas to market pie & Halloween. Emily worked on an adorable face for a pumpkin pie with a tagline homage to Parks & Rec, one of our favorite shows at PJP. We just tried it out on a pumpkin baby off the 1/2 price table and then I never got around to doing it on a fresh out-of-the-oven pumpkin. I can’t let today go without sharing, so TRICK OR TREAT YO-SELF…
Now that we have a goal for Thanksgiving orders (1,000 pies in one day, remember?), we are starting to look a little more logistics of pie pickup. And the one piece that we can’t seem to decide on to save our lives is the extra space next door.
If you recall, last year we rented that space for the month of November and used it to store extra supplies first the first few weeks of the month and then as our pie pickup location during the week of Thanksgiving. We received a lot of positive feedback for our organization and ease of pickup (which is good considering the previous year was an unmitigated pie pickup disaster). But we did receive some feedback that the spare space next door didn’t have our vibe or our trademark pie aroma or the interest of watching 10 or so people try to make 1,000 pies in 1,000 square feet in one day. (Wait…maybe THAT is my snappy Thanksgiving 2k16 tagline: “1,000 pies. 1,000 square feet. One day.”)
So, I will tell you that Jeanne and I are a bit divided on whether to rent the space or not. I’m leaning more towards renting it and using it as an overflow space for all the extra boxes and pie tins and bags and 30 pound boxes of pecans that we will be purchasing over the next month. And I’m wondering if we could do a bit of a compromise, perhaps allowing people to pay for the pies in our store while they soak in the aroma and watch the flour fly as we bake. Each paying customer would then take a voucher of sorts next door to pick up their pies from our volunteers. Annnnd then I second guess myself on the whole go to our store/go to the store next door process. Is that annoying to people? Would I be annoyed if I were a customer? Possibly. But I would probably also be the first one to not love the plain atmosphere of the temporary space, preferring to wait in line in PJP for the experience of it all.
Jeanne, always a contender for a serious challenge, firmly believes that if we just think through it all and organize well, we could figure out a way to do it all just in our store. She hates to spend the $400 to rent it for the month (which we both acknowledge is not a major expense, but being mindful of expenses is a part of the consideration). And she really didn’t care for the back-and-forth between the two spaces that we all did for that week of Thanksgiving. Each pie had to be boxed, tagged, and bagged and then taken next door (usually in the middle of the night). And for the most part, it just felt like we had people everywhere and just that much more to think about and manage. (And people always ask about an alternative location completely off-site from PJP Buttonwood and we are never that keen for all of these reasons…moving baked pies that have been boxed, plus getting your customers directed to a location that isn’t your normal storefront is a veritable challenge, even when that place is NEXT DOOR to our store.)
So, now that I’ve laid it all out for you…any thoughts from the customer experience perspective?
Well, I waited all day but Tori Spelling didn’t call us up and offer her support for our 1,000 pie Thanksgiving. And neither did Mario Lopez, but WHATEVER. In the meantime, here is some other interesting-ish PJP news…
- I was laying on the couch this weekend watching Steel Magnolias (you know, as one does) and I checked my email to find a Twitter notification that The Mindy Project is now following us. I have no idea how they found us but Mindy Kaling, if you are reading this right now, I ABSOLUTELY ADORE YOU. (And so does Jeanne, now that I’ve explained it all.)
- Now if we could just woo in Jon Hamm, my work here would be done. He loves Columbia and I’m certain he would love us if we could just convince him, so…
- And look, when we haven’t been plotting #celebritypiedomination, we have been getting some legit work done. We had special order forms made just for Thanksgiving orders and I picked up 1,000 copies at Staples earlier today. Which lead me to think two things…1) I bet the people at the Staples copy center either find their jobs super interesting or super boring, and 2) why can’t some office supply store build a store on the southwest side of town? I asked the nice copy guy and he said Staples had planned to but then there was some disagreement with Office Depot and the Columbia City Council. Sounds about right. There is probably just some expensive park sitting at the location I could have been picking up my order forms in near proximity to my store.
- And before you get too impressed with the whole “made special order forms for Thanksgiving”, please know that I accidentally left Peach Praline off the form as an option because OF COURSE. So if you stop by to order and one of us says, “oh Peach Praline isn’t on the available pie list”, blame it on me and tell them to write it on the form anyway.
- Our new super cool birthday candles arrived via UPS today. (They are super cool because the flame burns the color of the candle stem.) They weren’t even out of the box when someone asked if we had candles available to accompany the pie he was purchasing for his wife’s birthday. We gifted him the candles in exchange for a “pie is the new cake” photo of his wife celebrating and we were not disappointed. Thanks for sharing, Kat!