Well, this seems to be the winter to remember!  A historic December snow storm left a whopping 17 inches here in Easton and this weekend, Superbowl weekend no less, we got blasted again!  I measured about 18 or 19 inches of total snowfall here in Easton.  This makes last weekend’s storm seem like a drop in the bucket.  Personally, I don’t mind the snow, but as a business owner I hate it.  The bad weather has resulted in worse than usual sales during our slow season.  It’s beginning to feel like it only ever snows on the weekend!  I have to tighten our ordering and  scheduling to compensate for the decreased cash flow.  So please forgive me if we are out of your favorite obscure pasta shape.  It will return in due time, just like warm weather and sunny days.

applicationYou may have seen the enormous sign in our window– really, you can’t miss it– it says that our application has been submitted in full and we are quietly waiting for our May 11th court date to roll around. Before you know it we will be able to sell Italian wines, beer, and spirits!! Our staff will be able to give precise pairing suggestions!! We will not fall prey to the young police cadet attempting to fool us into selling booze to his under-age self, like so many other local businesses have. His ID will be checked because we are all women here and we like to know the names of our cute customers. No, we will not relinquish our hard-earned right to sell alcoholic beverages. After all, it has been a 5 month process!!!  Fingers crossed.  My beer distributor rep told me not to worry if our application is protested that day, he said there is a lady who protests all applications and they all pass without a hitch.  I hope that is true.  I have had so many of our customers ask if we sell wine.  Just to set the record straight, we applied for an “off-sales” license meansing that the alcohol cannot be consumed on the premises with the exception of tastings.  A tasting is a no more than 2 ounces, not to total more than 8 ounces per person and snacks must be available.  I am TAM certified, I know these things.

This past Wednesday the 18th was our Talbot County Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony!!  It was a big success, lots of people came, we had lots of great food and most importantly, I got to use the big scissors!!!

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The scissors are really heavy, no wonder we don’t have those hanging around all the time.

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Look at the cute red, white and green balloons that Hopkins Sales donated to us!  That was such a good idea.  Thank you!

Mike Gardner came, a librarian from the Easton Public Library came (and gave me a book), Bobbi Parkett came from Simpatico, Kathy Hanna from Easton Main Street was there, Tim Casgar from Miles & Stockbridge sent us umbrellas, Carla Cronin from Easton’s Promise, Karin Baker from Claybaker’s on Washington St., Giancarlo Tondin from Scossa came…

Catherine made zeppole in honor of St. Joseph’s day, we had 2 or three kinds of bruschetta, biscotti, fruit, Taleggio, Piave, coppa, and salami!!

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Everyday we have something new, or so it seems.  Today I want to annouce the beginning of our prepared foods program!  A local chef has prepared a variety of Italian meals for you all to enjoy!  The menu changes every week and will always include an entree (with meat), a pasta option (or two), a soup and a fresh pasta sauce.

This week we have:

Sweet Italian Sausage and Sauteed Fennel over Parmesan Polenta

Quattro Formaggi Stuffed Shells with Tomato Sauce 

Gnocchi with Creamy Pesto Sauce 

Gnocchi with Alfredo Sauce

Vegetable Minestrone with Conchigliette

also available are:

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Parmesan Polenta

Look for the ready to go foods in our self-serve refrigerator– they are delicious!  And microwavable!

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No, today wasn’t the big day, I was too busy yesterday to write a blog post!  We opened our doors on Tuesday and today we began selling deli items.  The delay on the weighed stuff was due to the fact that programming the scales and coordinating them with the POS computer was even harder than it sounds.  Last night I finally got one scale to work but the “back-up” scale is not formatting correctly.  I think.  Even though I transferred the same information to both scales, one understood and one did not.  That’s why it’s good to have a back-up.  

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It took all weekend to stock the shelves and enter each item into the POS system.   DJ, the assistant manager, my mom and dad, Hiram, and I were here Saturday, all day Sunday, and Monday afternoon until very late.  By Tuesday morning everything was put away and people began wandering in.  The store next to us was having a sale so it gave us a lot of exposure and foot traffic.  Everyone seemed excited by the store and many had already known we were here.  Others asked when we had opened, thinking that they haven’t been in the Talbot Town shopping center lately, and we were proud to answer that we had only been open for a few hours!

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I am still waiting on the light for our bread case, the wiring is there but the light hasn’t been installed.  It hasn’t stopped us from using it!  We have bread!  I love this bread cabinet, the shelves allow the crumbs to fall down to the bottom of the cabinet for easy cleaning and the dowels are unvarnished so hot pans or bread can be directly placed on the shelves!  When we were designing the store I asked for a dry case to be made, I wanted to model it after the one at Marlow & Sons.

Here is theirs, it’s a little different:

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Now please come visit us, we are open for business and we are taking suggestions.

dec4-08_big1In preparation for our electric and HVAC inspections this afternoon, we cleaned the store to make it look more complete.  It turned out to be a great idea, the store looks much better overall and areas that aren’t finished are more obvious.  For example, the cabinets on both walls are missing their top panels:

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Luckily, the cabinets don’t have anything to do with electrical wiring or HVAC installation so we passed those inspections without any trouble.  [thanks to Ryan from DC Electric for posing in these pictures and wiring Piazza]

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The grease trap problem is at bay but another saga is unfolding: the never-ending application for a liquor license.  The application contains many requirements and forms from many separate official offices.  It is the mother of all permits.  

Let’s review the APPLICANT’S CHECKLIST:

– a vaild Maryland Driver’s License

– a complete set of fingerprint cards for each applicant (business owner), one for the state of Maryland and one for the FBI, a check for $10 to process each applicant’s 2 fingerprint records

– three copies plus original of completed application and attachments #1 and #2

attachment #1- a form to be completed by the property owner acknowledging the business owners intent to sell alcoholic beverages, must be notarized

attachment #2- signatures from at least 10 people approving our intention to sell alcoholic beverages, each person must own property in and vote in the same District and Precinct as the location of the store  

– certificate for Alcohol Awareness Training

– Health Department Permit

– proof of Compliance from the State Fire Marshall

– certificate from County or Municipalities Office of Planning and Zoning

– complete list of all property owners as defined in 11-9 of the Talbot County Code (properties w/in 1000 ft of the business)

– copy of current Trader/Business License, issued by the state

 

 

This means that an applicant must be in contact with:

– state police department (fingerprinting)

– property owner and a notary (attachment 1)

– ten immediate locals (attachment 2)

– the board of elections (to verify that they are in fact, registered to vote in the district and precinct they say they are)

– the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association (MSLBA) to obtain Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) certification

– the Health Department (permit)

– State Fire Marshall (compliance permit)

– Town Office of Planning and Zoning (a certificate confirming that you are not within 1000 feet of a church, a school or a park; no small feat in a town like Easton)

– State Comptroller for a Business License

– Talbot County Office for a Trader’s License 

 

Did I mention the $156.00 fee for advertising you application in the newspaper, the $200.00 application fee and the $2000.00 annual fee?

Biggest current problem: the number one bullet on the checklist is something that I do not have!  I do not have a valid Maryland Driver’s License!  I just moved to Maryland two months ago, I still have my Virginia driver’s license.  To quote Tina Fey, BLURG!!