wine office We will be working for wine from here on out (everyone except Hudson or Alex).

We did it, we have been approved to sell beer, wine and liquor for consumption off-premises.  That means no glasses of wine with your lunch and no bottles upstairs.

It does mean that we are having our first wine tasting this Saturday from 2-4 pm!!  We will be trying three wines (not sure which ones yet) and two cheeses!  Very exciting.

A few customers have expressed concern about where the wine will physically fit in the store.  Don’t worry!  The layout of the store is like a puzzle, I will contract and relocate other things to find space for the wine.  The wine is not going to take over the store, we are a deli that will now carry wine.

I also want to mention that at the liquor board meeting two hearings preceeded ours and both were for violations.  DJ and I watched two local stores receive fines and suspensions for selling alcohol to the same underage cadet.  Most importantly, we got a look at the cadet!  He is two months shy of 21, at least 6 feet tall, clean cut andfairly responsisble looking.  But the law is the law and both stores sold him beer, one even LOOKED at his vertical (indicates that he is under 21) license and STILL sold him the beers.  The board was not happy that the cashier who made the mistake is still working at the store.  If you don’t ask if your customer is 21 you can expect a $600 fine and a two week suspension of your license!  You can ask to pick which two weeks to serve your sentence but the board will ultimately punish you when they please.  One of the store managers tried to pick her two weeks.  I thought that was a little bold…

To avoid any confusion and violations of our own three of our employees shuffled off yesterday to a Techniques of Alcohol Management class.  Currently 5 of the 7 employees are TAM certified and at least one will be on premises during operating hours.

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Most restaurants and delis use a  service to provide, launder and deliver their daily linens.  In our case, we need fresh aprons and bar towels each day.  No big deal, I thought, we will rent our linens just like everyone else does.  Beginning in October, I was approached by three competing linen companies, each claiming to offer the best weekly rate and each was willing to beat any competitor’s price.  I thought that all three companies offered pretty much the same product for pretty much the same rate and that it wouldn’t really matter who I chose.  I assumed that the decision was in my favor, I thought that I would benefit from choosing any one of those companies and every week our aprons and towels would arrive neatly folded and fresh.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

First of all, it turns out that the great quotes that I received were calculated over a long term period of three or four years.  This ‘detail’ was not mentioned at any of my initial meetings.  We’re talking about APRONS and TOWELS here.  Our STORE is only leased for three years!  I asked each company about a week to week service and they all told me NO.  They said that the industry standard is a long term contract because essentially we are leasing the materials from them which doesn’t pay off for them until 2 years down the road.  I asked about a lower priced laundry service if I provided my own linens.  They said they would not launder linens that they did not provide, the same policy extended towards the doormats.

At my old store, the Bedford Cheese Shop, we used a weekly linen service that did not require a contract.  Ah, Cascade was the best!  One of my employees told me that her old restaurant has weekly terms with one of the linen companies that refused to offer me anything less than a two year contract!  What’s the deal?!

My last meeting with a linen sales person was the day before we opened.  By that point, I was done shopping around for a linen service, I had made up my mind that all linen services were offering  long term contracts and they were all bad, but I was meeting a salesman one more time because he insisted.  I told him that I had bought my own towels and aprons that day and I was going to wash them myself for a week.  He was clearly aggrivated and nervous.  He threatened me with bullshit, ‘in a week you’ll call me, you’ll be so sick of washing those’, and ‘the towels are all lint, they are a fire hazard for home dryers’.  He had brought in a bundle of aprons that he pushed me to keep as a ‘friendly gesture’ I refused them because I knew that there were strings attached (*ahem, literally).  Also, the aprons smelled like rancid grease.

What a comforting sight!  This morning I received our first delivery of refrigerated foods!  Everything looks and smells so good, it was comforting to work with food again.  Truth be told, I have been working indirectly with food for a couple months, and I have been (literally) surrounded by cases of odorless, shelf stable foods but I haven’t bothered to unpack them.

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We received several types of salame, some speck, mortadella, pancetta, pepperoni, proscuitti, and mascarpone…just for starters!

Our store is not making headlines in the newspaper but the news is affecting us.  I have applied for small business credit cards and have been denied all over town.  The problem is that our credit record is blank; we have no annual income so far and have been a business for less than 6 months.  Maybe a year ago creditors would have looked at our blank record with optimism.  Today, they do not see potential for our business, the glass is half-empty.  

Luckily, a credit card is not absolutely necessary for us to complete our store but, it does mean that we must make some changes in our scheduling of purchases.  Ugh, it just makes everything a little more difficult and you know, it’s depressing to be denied credit, even if it’s understandable given the current conditions.