Running a small business is difficult. I watched Annie , Margo and the rest of the crew create a successful restaurant and I learned a few things.
Connect. I don’t mean ‘make connections’ in the business glad-hand way, but truly connect. Talk to the people in the neighborhood. Tell them what you are thinking , what you want to do , what issues you are facing and how you want to deal with them.
At one point, the Vine took reservations. But this was actually blocking business. The restaurant could be almost empty, but they couldn’t seat anyone – because reservations were headed in. Annie talked to a lot of people before she stopped taking reservations and the transition went smoothly
Let people help. in the case of the Vine – painting , tables , etc wouldn’t be there without help. And it is another way to connect , of course. A little community ownership never hurts.
Be open, frank. I know a bunch about the financing of restaurants now. I know why Salmon is a big feature on the menu. I can tell you all about the restaurant advantages to kegged wine. Annie’s openness about the business side of things, made it really easy to be frank in return.
Love it. No matter what you do – some days are just drudgery. Yes, Annie loves food. but she also loves the restaurant. There has always been pride and pleasure in her voice when she talks about The Vine.
Exactly one month from my 50th Birthday. I was reminded of this yesterday. It is interesting , because it does not feel particularly significant. When I was a kid, I though 50 was old, but I am long past that now. The most significant thing about this age seems to be that I have friends that are 30+ years older and 30+ years younger.
It is however, a zero birthday – so a good time to reflect. and a good time to think about where I want to go.
There isn’t a lot I want to change. I have a job a like, a great husband. I live in a great neighborhood and a beautiful place. I have a lot of friends of all kinds. I have more fun. Despite diabetes and asthma – I’m in good health. I stick to plans , but I can flex more than before.
So which way is forward?
Do you support local business? Where do you shop? As much as I can, more and more of my shopping goes local or small business. Not all , because if you look at my blog I do get ebooks from amazon . ( no local book store ! boo!) But when I can , I spend my money in local and small businesses.
I have a few reasons why. The first is that local businesses are responsive. My local small grocery store ( Mr. Mikey’s) is always asking if there are things they should carry . Recently they added a small produce section. Our local glass bead maker made beads inspired by a local customer/friend. And The Niles Pie Company is always interested in feedback.
The second, local business support the local community. A number of the local business have been involved in helping support the Niles Plaza concerts. Both with money(thank you, Iron Dog ) and with time ( Thanks, Wayne). The local business also support each other . The Niles Pie Company recently had a party for their kickstarter at the Vine.
I support local businesses by shopping at them. I also spread the word about them – and we also help. My DH has helped with a number of projects for local business by donating his computer expertise, and his woodworking skills., and sharing his music. And we help by donating Money. As I said above, the Niles Pie company has a kickstarter going on. A kickstarter is away for a business to raise money . People donate money and receive something ( a service or goods) in return. A donation to the Niles Pie Kickstarter is a gift to the owner, a gift to you ( pie!) , and a gift to the community ( expansion means hiring people) .
Niles Pie is not the first Kickstarter I’ve been involved in . I do think it its a great place to start ( I like Pie) . However, there are a lot of small ( and local ) businesses you can support. Explore kickstarter and see what a little bit of your money can do. It is fun to watch the donations come in and then to see the progress of a project.
A couple of years ago we made a floor for our dining room – from a tree. We also put down a slate floor in the kitchen ourselves. And then we took apart a fire place and hauled bricks down the street to make a patio( we didn’t build the patio ourselves) . I couldn’t explain to anyone why we did it . But I just looked at a Ted Talk by Mike Rowe ( dirty jobs) about work. Meaning labour. And it explains things. There is a certain satisfaction in work. My dad has said this ( and done it ) . My Dh lives it. and I get it.
Watch him. He is entertaining and his conclusion are something my DH and I have been talking about.
No embedding – here is the link
I had never heard of parkour until I started the book I am reading now I wasn’t sure how real it was . It is real . I would call it urban survival running.
otherwise known as the bunion derby. I hear about this as I am contemplating the 3 day walk for breast cancer