For the past few months, we've been brainstorming ideas for expanding our storage for cold pies in the front of our store. If you've stopped by PJP Buttonwood, you'll know that our vintage refrigerator is adorable and functional to a point...but it is small and we've heard customers exclaim more than once that they didn't even know we had cream pies for sale because they thought the refrigerator was simply decoration. Here it is shortly after we purchased it in April, 2013...(and I still have a soft spot for those tea towels, by the way).
So when my father-in-law called with the news that he had a lead on some reasonably priced glass front coolers, we were compelled. (If you've looked into the glass front cooler market, you'll know that they cost about a gazillion dollars...if they are used. If they are brand new, it is more like a bazillion dollars.) These coolers he found though were eight foot wide each and could be set to either a freezer temperature or cooler temperature. AND, the guy wanted to sell them both for $1,000. WHAT?!?!?!?!?! ENTHUSIASTIC THUMBS UP.
Before Jeanne began to swoon about all the chicken pot pies, quiches, meringue pies, pie shells and more that she planned to stock in this massive amount of refrigeration, we needed to measure our front door to see if we could even get the coolers in (we remembered that our current commercial refrigerator and freezer in our baking space was about 1/16th of an inch from not making it our front door when we moved in). And after measuring, we learned that there was just no way those new coolers would make it into our front or back door (even removing the doors didn't help).
That is just about when Jeanne hatched a grand plan to have the entire front plate glass windows removed from our store to move in the coolers. (I didn't even know that was an option, honestly. It seems to me that contractors would just make the doors to commercial spaces bigger in the first place.) Also, because the coolers can't be turned on their sides, the entire front right side glass of our storefront would need to be removed, then coolers moved in, and then the glass reinstalled for about $500.
And once we broke out our tape measure, more problems began to roll in. Two units that are eight feet wide each is a lot to ask of our current space. At the minimum, we would need to relocate the menu board (and undoubtedly re-drywall its current location). And if the menu board went to the wall where the fruit and nut pies are located, some reconfiguration would be needed to allow for enough space (probably moving the soda cooler or losing it all together). And even so, would it look unbalanced to have two large coolers on one wall and pie display on the other wall? I'm not sure, but my guess is that it probably would and the lack of symmetry would slowly make me crazy.
Honestly, it feels like a game of Tetris that we just can't win. I think we need another 1,000 square feet and an unlimited budget and we would be a veritable Pie Emporium with pie options for days.
So, I have no idea what is going to happen. Jeanne is a bit more convinced we can make it happen in a cute and functional manner than I am (but remember that she has serious skills in the design department, so she is probably right). It seems like one of those projects that seems impossible, but give us a slew of slow days in January and suddenly, relocating the menu board doesn't seem like the worst idea in the world.
So I guess if you stop by in January and we have no front glass, well...