It has always really bugged me

that organic produce is priced so high as to be out of reach for folks who want, or need, to eat better. One of our ongoing battles here, is to really run a tight ship cost-wise, and really nail down our break-even point, so that we can offer that high quality food, for a price that folks can afford. It’s an ongoing battle, but it’s doable. And we’re definitely not the only ones doing it. I do hope you can find local growers, and/or local buying groups, who can help you get high quality foods, for less than the boutique pricing that you’ll find at the farmers’ markets. Let the folks who can afford to shop there, shop there. I’m positive that with a bit of elbow grease, you (or anyone) can find the same high quality, for a lot less. And of course I applaud your efforts (and anyone’s) to grow as much of your own foods, as you can.

I am working my coaster business big time right now

I had a craft show this past Saturday. I had built up my stock to double what I usually take. More on that in a minute. The church that had this craft show did not advertise well and the weather was cruddy in the A.M., rainy and nasty. However about 11:00 it started clearing up. Dh and dd were there to help me and dh asked the lady if she was open to some constructive criticism. She said yes. When he was relating this to me later I knew what he had talked to her about … advertising. Any of you in business knows you need advertising so people will know who you are and what you’re doing. He suggested she take 1/2 of what they took in on booth fees and food sales and put it back for advertising the next show. (They are trying to raise money for their ladies ministry.) He said they would have less money for the ministry right now but getting the word out will bring more shoppers. You see, these organizers, whether a church or a community event, gets their money up front no matter how the vendors do. The vendors need shoppers to encourage them to attend again. Who likes all the prep, travel, sitting there all day and tearing down with little or no sales for all their efforts? I can sit at home all day and not make money. It is not that I expect to get rich but would like to see a nice profit for my effort. At this show I sold one set to a customer and traded a set with another vendor.

I built up my stock to double what I normally take to craft shows because I have 4 more shows, each of the next four Saturdays. Whatever I sell at a show needs to be replenished before the next show. Obviously I don’t have a lot of replenishment this week which could be a Murphy type event.

However, having a lull in work and my hands itching to do something, I got out and stirred the pot a bit today. I went by the store I am wholesaling to in my town. Just to check on things and see I find out if they needed anything. I was speaking with the manager and she that last time they ordered some for customers that she ordered some extra stock so, no they really didn’t need anything. About the time she said this, the owner came out and saw us talking and she said, “We need to order some coasters!” I also showed them a trivet design that I thought would sell well in their store, I had the actual trivet with me. They ended up ordering 22 sets of various monogram coasters (number 1005) and 6 of the trivets (#T-1025)! Wow! I went from a “thanks but no thanks” to such a big order.

After getting home from work and stopping by the gift shop where I wholesale I realized I didn’t have enough 4”x4” tiles to get much done so I had to go to the flooring store. The sales person there is a really nice lady named Jill. She knows I am in several upcoming shows and said she’d check her stock to make sure they had some for me as I go through these sales. I ended up getting 6 sets made this afternoon. I am going to get another couple of sets made tonight. I have all day tomorrow to work on this order. However it is not promised till Thursday afternoon.

On the store front side, our retail business, we have rented a storage unit down the street from our store. We don’t have much space in our store for back stock and had already filled a storage container. We needed a place to store fire retardant work clothing. Dh spent the afternoon getting things organized between the two storage places. He is hurting tonight from all the physical work. Hurting so bad he has taken some Tylenol and has been on the heating pad sitting on one of the recliners since supper.

We are doing some work in our retail space as well. Rearranging some merchandise, cleaning up and getting ready for Christmas. After the first of the year, if sales the rest of the year are good, we will replace some flooring and rearrange where the check out area is. The flooring will set us back some and we want to be sure we don’t lower our reserves too much. It will be cash only and will end up being the first big expense for the retail space since we split this store and the other one with my brother 1.5 years ago.