Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our first month open

May 1st was our first day, and all I can say is thank you to everyone who has welcomed us with such open arms over the last 27 days. I'm so happy with how everything has turned out and only wish that my mind was less foggy with business details to fully appreciate everything that is happening and changing around me.

The Oregonian printed a big article about us on the cover of their Food Day section (what?), which was fantastic press for such a new and little business. I wasn't sure how the article would go over, but the morning that the article came out, I went into the shop fresh from a conversation with my mother-in-law, Bev, about the ongoing struggle for women in business and as mothers, and how the inequities are just less obviously socially acceptable. When I walked in the door, one of my dear neighbor business owners, Garland Horner, welcomed me with a high five, and then two elderly women with canes walked up to me and said that they had just seen the article in the paper, and wanted to come over for coffee and to tell me how proud they were of me. They left a $5 tip. I started to well up thinking of what they had probably gone through (Bev had just been telling me about how she wasn't even able to get a credit card after her divorce because they were typically only given in the husband's name)... I'm not usually such a sap, but this business development process has made me see that we're really not there yet. No lender would even consider me for financing unless my husband was put on the application with me...

And although the press has been very kind to us, there were a couple of items I wanted to address from the article that I think were misrepresented or false:

1) The opening quote makes it sound like we nurse our babies while customers wait for us... the reality is that that quote was said to me from one of our baristas who was nursing her baby, and I was asking if she needed me to make drinks for her.

2) Our mothers, and probably all mothers for that matter, are smart as tacks and love their kids. All of our mothers (except me!) has been a barista before, so if things seemed to take a long time to learn, it was probably either because they were training with someone else that had no experience, or because they wanted to continue practicing to perfect their skills. And they were all really happy to come home to their little ones after.

3) We have a wonderful relationship with everyone at Ristretto. Someone wrote a scathing note to Nancy Rommelman in response to her quote in the article, but I want to be very clear that the quote was completely misconstrued... for some reason, the word "deserve" has gotten a negative connotation these days.

And as a general note in response to the article, I want to reiterate that we are a family-friendly coffee shop, not a kids coffee shop. We are a hardworking group of women (and Pete - our token guy), some of whom have children.

P.S. If anyone is curious, being a parent is much much harder than being the owner of the a coffee shop.