The Devil Is In The Details...
So far, this process of PJP V 2.0 has been easy sailing through smooth seas. Sure, we've learned a few things (I'm looking at you, costly surety bonds) and been waylaid by obstacles (I'm looking at you, city permit office), but overall, well, overall we've had the most fun. And now as we are TEN days from the crown jewel of pie holidays - Thanksgiving - we are knee deep in the details that will come together to ensure that pies are ready for pickup on Wednesday, November 20th. Those of you who own a small business, feel free to roll your eyes, groan, and waste some time on Pinterest while we work through the gritty reality of our to-do this week. Everyone else, read on...
Our One Week and Three Day to Thanksgiving Countdown Must Do List 1) Pie Tins - Believe or not, 12 inch is an exceptionally rare size for a retail pie. Most grocery store and bakery pies will be an average of nine or ten inches. Those pie tins are readily available in bulk quantities from all sorts of websites. The 12 inch? It's like looking for a needle in haystack. We found a supplier finally and placed our order for 500 tins. Then we got a call saying that they only actually had 300...not 500 and they don't know if they will EVER get any more. Really? It seems to me that if you sell enough plastic containers to deem yourself a "CITY", then you should probably have a grasp of whether you plan to sell a certain product in a time frame longer than two weeks. (Anyone else notice a theme here with the two weeks? http://peggyjeans.blogspot.com/2013/11/really-really.html). Goal today: find some 12 inch pie tins. 300 will cover us for Thanksgiving, but gives us no margin for error and no margin for caving and saying yes to late orders. Moral of this story: our pies are even more special because they are 12 inch and are sized the same as a Pyrex pie plate.
2) Pie Boxes - I almost ordered several weeks ago, but when I added the 500 boxes to the cart and it calculated shipping, the boxes cost $377 and the shipping was $298. So I can own 500 boxes for $79 more than it costs me to ship 500 boxes? Oh, the irony of paying to ship boxes. I just couldn't hit the "place the order" button because of my indignant outrage. That said, we can't hand out pies on the 20th with indignant outrage and a caution to hold your un-boxed pie carefully in the car. Caving on this one will be necessary, but not until I uncover every bakery box supplier that speaks English and has a website. Moral of this story: if I think about shipping boxes for too long, my brain short circuits.
3) County Food Permits - The Elks Lodge is in Boone County, not the City of Columbia. This changes the game of permits and licenses. We have to complete a Commissary Agreement with the Elks and then turn it in to the county food inspector. ASAP. Moral of this story: these people mean business and this should probably be moved to #1 on my list.
4) Food Supply - we are getting orders every day. If you haven't ordered yet, remember that you can order from our website: www.pjpies.com. If we do fill 300 orders, we need to estimate and work with our food broker for how much flour, sugar, pecans, pumpkin, etc we are going to need. We also need to confirm with the Elks that we can have a delivery sent there on Friday. Because if not, and it comes to my house, you know my neighbors are going to wonder why exactly I have 400 pounds of floor on my front porch. Moral of this story: my math skills are sub-par at best, but they are even worse under pressure. Order your pies early so we have longer to work on calculations that show how much sugar one needs to make 100 French Silk pies. Thanks:)
5) Our Lease - the offer is being presented tomorrow and we should know something after that. I have no idea who receives that offer, what their name is, where they are located, or if they like to eat pie. Since we can't focus on brain waves on that person, let's all just direct them to our agent, Mel. Mel, please make this work for us in a way that doesn't cost 50 billion dollars or take 3 months.
He has a face that looks like he could pull that request off, don't you think? Moral of this story: I lack patience.
6) If number 5 works out to perfection, my next plan is to call Contractor Steve and tell him to dust off his hammer and give me a go date. We have a VIP party to plan and a pre-Christmas open date to select. Also look into effective ways to not drive your contractor crazy by asking a lot of questions and demanding things be done faster. Research whether offering bribes in the form of pie and Sonic drinks violates any sort of obscure Missouri state law. Moral of this story: I consider a Sonic drink a bribe. That may say more about me than I ever wanted to share.