Some days, it seemed as if this day would never come! But here we are. Our doors are open, and we even have a few days under our belts. And, what FUN it has been! The learning curve seems steep at certain points in the day, and you have no idea how much we appreciate everyone's flexibility as we navigate the waters of our new business.
There is so much to learn, and I wanted to share some of the biggest things we have learned so far. First, the generosity of heart of the people of Hardwick, though not unexpected, is truly inspirational for us as we learn our new registers (installed Wednesday), figure out how to navigate the kitchen with 4 people (which couldn't be done until we opened) and decide how to handle multiple orders at once. You make us want to learn faster and do better for you! Training will end at some point, and then we won't need as many people around.
Second, and for the more constructive lessons, no one likes a cold donut! Who does, right? This darn pastry case is bound and determined to freeze everything we put in to it so as our broken record goes, we appreciate your patience as we try to figure out the best way to make it work. Third, 'grab and go' is not a Hardwick fave. We hear ya but we are hoping that in our efforts to improve our speed of service and knowing that everything is freshly prepared as needed throughout the day and using only the best local ingredients, you will give it a try. These cucumbers are out of local gardens in the salads and would be super convenient to grab on your way to work!
Next, no one is quite sure where to order. So, here's the deal - the gals at the registers can take your order and they are located behind the beam. But, if you are seated at the counter and want to order from your seat, flexibility is the name of the game, and we can take your order from there. If you order at the registers and want to eat on the new patio out back, that works for us! Want to eat on the porch? We can find you out there as well when your order is ready. Simply let whoever takes your order at the register know and get comfy.
The list of what we need to learn is longer than some of what we have learned and I look forward to making that list smaller. We hope you will keep coming in and helping us get better! So what do you say, Hardwick? Can you spread the word? See you on the Common!
Another major hurdle crossed on our way to the finish line. There is so much going on at the coffeehouse, it is hard to keep up with it all! I am so very excited to share that we received our official permit to operate a food establishment. That was the last of the big items on my to-do list, and with it officially crossed off, we are almost ready to open our doors.
The brick and tiling are complete, the new bathroom is done, the painters have finished with the walls, and the landscaping transformation has officially begun. I know lots of you have popped in to take a peek at the progress, and I hope you are as pleased as I am with the new look. The final reveal is almost at hand, and we are all so ready!
Stephanie has been working hard on putting together an amazing team, and has her office all clean and repainted in the basement. While I work from afar, she toils away tirelessly under sometimes frustrating circumstances, and I couldn't have done a fraction of what she has accomplished in such a short time.
Please look for Steph at the Farmers Market on Sunday on the common. The coffeehouse may not be ready to open its doors just yet but she will be there to serve up some great iced coffee, cold brew, hot coffee and other menu items you will love.
It is so much fun to finally have a working kitchen - well, sort of. Stephanie and I have been here all week playing with all of our new equipment, and we cannot wait to share it all with you. If you see us working in there, we hope you will pop in to say hello!
Gosh! So much is going on at the Coffeehouse that I hardly know where to begin. The counters are in, the cabinets are done and the wall tiling has begun - such progress! But the most exciting news I have to share is that I have hired a manager in whom I see such great things to come. It is my great pleasure to introduce Stephanie Korzec as the General Manager of Mimi's Coffeehouse.
Funny enough, I'm the newcomer and she is the one who grew up down the road so her name is probably familiar to many of you. I feel so lucky that she said Yes to our grand adventure, and I believe that her experience and enthusiasm will benefit us all.
Stephanie and I will be at the coffeehouse next week to start setting the kitchen up and getting all of our new equipment fired up. We still have a little ways to go before we are ready to officially open our doors but if you would like to stop in and check on our progress, please do so. You may even smell a pot of coffee on to brew!
Just to keep the excitement building, we are also ready to start hiring baristas, and hopefully you will notice a new page on the website. The job application is available to download on the website. We will be accepting completed applications some time next week, so stay tuned for a schedule of when to turn them in.
One parent asked me what kind of people we will be hiring; specifically, does each candidate need to already know how to pull a good espresso shot. Great question! A barista is simply someone who makes and serves coffee (such as espresso) to the public. We will be hiring baristas but the coffee part is something that we can train. The quality that is more important is being able to talk to people, and that is the part that we cannot train. We will be looking for those individuals who like to be around people and who want to please someone by simply providing great customer service. Who doesn't appreciate that?
I look forward to seeing you next week!
It is said that the only time you should ever look back is to see how far you have come. We had reached that point long ago where going back was no longer an option and when I hope to speed things along, I find it useful to look back at where we started and see the progress we have made. It truly is dramatic. The new cabinets have been installed and the appliances have been delivered. And the bathroom is ready for a whole new look.
We received approval from the town Planning Board, and with team-building firmly underway, my excitement is starting to build. What had started as the seed of a dream has sprouted and is growing as well as the trees on the common. Many more changes are still to come but I can finally begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have said it before, but everyone I meet has been so supportive and could not be any more helpful as we take this journey. Their enthusiasm is infectious and as we inch closer to opening, I find that I am even more determined to take the great suggestions I've received and incorporate them into the final plan. So bear with us, and stay tuned for more updates!
Any great business is only as good as its people, and we have come to the next phase in our exciting plan where we need to start putting our team together. As I see it, the key to taking any enterprise from the drawing board and breathing life in to it is to understand what is the essential lifeblood for that business. In my many years, I have worked in so many different kinds of jobs. My first job was in our very small town's McDonalds. During college, I was a security dispatcher for campus security. I've taught at the high school and college levels, worked as a secretary but my longest tenured job was at Barnes and Noble, holding almost every job they had from bookseller, café barista, department leader, community relations/bookfair organizer, head cashier and others.
In every instance, the most important skill that determined success in any given situation was the ability to relate to people, to be able to understand what people needed and to respond to that need in such a way as to make them feel a connection however brief.
I have written the job description and if I were to describe what it is that I am looking for, I would say it is that person who is able to speak to the brain surgeon and the tradesman but more importantly be able to build the environment where they will speak to each other. The link for the job posting is below, and if you can think of someone who may be a good fit for the Coffeehouse, I hope you will encourage that person to apply. We won't exactly have the theme song from Cheers playing in the background everyday but we look forward to learning your names and being part of the great Hardwick community.
It sounded like so much fun a few weeks ago - picking everything out - paint, cabinets, counters, tile and all new fixtures. But when it came right down to it, it was actually rather intimidating. Will these cabinets work for everything? Will this refrigerator/freezer fit in the space and hold all that we need it to hold? How will everyone like the paint color? Can we get it all done in the time frame we had hoped? And, of course, the big one - can we make all these decisions fit in to the budget we had initially set for this project. As the choices piled up, so did the pressure. Someone asked me the other day if I was nervous about the whole thing, and the answer is most assuredly yes! But that is kind of the fun of it, isn't it?
Today, I can say we have made most of the big decisions we needed to make, and I am so excited for the day when they will all be put together. Because these items are already checked off the list, we will choose to love them and make them work and there is a certain amount of relief that comes with this stage. I count myself blessed to have chosen to work with Ron Keddy as our contractor. He makes great suggestions, accommodates my requests and has a great team. When my daughter, Bridgette (who was there to help answer questions from the DIRECTV and Comcast technicians) accidentally locked her keys inside her car, with her 2 little angels still inside :( the Keddy men sprang into action and soothed a frazzled mother's nerves until help arrived to free my grand-babes. They are gentlemen first and contractors second. Even the Comcast tech, Nate, stopped his work to lend a hand!
These are the kind of people we cannot wait be with when we open. Every time we are at the building, we meet someone new who is just as nice as the last. So, Hardwick, I hope we have made some good decisions that you will like but I have a feeling that you are a pretty flexible group, and we look forward to meeting more of you!
Taking the first step of any journey may not show you your ultimate destination. One doesn't need to see the whole road to take that first step, either; all you need is a little faith. This project is definitely a leap of faith for us!
One week ago, we took the first step on our new journey and completed the purchase of 12-14 Barre Road. We are so excited to be a part of Hardwick and look forward to sharing our progress in bringing Mimi's Coffeehouse to life.
This week, we started making changes in the old Lazy Mary's pizza restaurant. Hopefully, you will see more changes in the next few weeks as we work on the space. You can tell from the photos that the pizza oven is gone as well as the other larger pieces in the kitchen so we can update the fixtures.
It may be hard to tell right now, but this space is going to get a great makeover in our quest to create a comfortable place to call home for an amazing cup of coffee. You can even see in one of the photos our first customer hoping for a latte! We've met so many interesting people, and can't wait to meet more.
Check back on our progress, and we will keep you posted on our milestones. And, since we have our very own Post Office right in our building, I feel comfortable saying neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor heavy pizza ovens will keep us from creating the best gathering spot on the Hardwick Common!
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