Last week I had a fantastic week at the bakery. Business is up from last year. More new people stop in and the regulars come back. Life at the bakery was good. This week I’m trying to figure out if I stay open, or shut my doors (I’m a grab and go – no seating inside). Do I attempt to do curbside pick-up and pre-orders. What do I do?
I remember sitting down with my dad a few years ago to run something by him. He was a successful business man and I wanted his input. I was pretty sure I knew what he was going to say but I guess I still needed to hear it from him. I was, and still am, in a partnership with my sister of a real estate company which I enjoy but it wasn’t what I dreamed of doing. I sat down next to him and said, “Dad, what do you think of me opening a bakery?” He knew I loved to bake and share my baked goods, which he always appreciated. He was quiet for a moment, thinking how to respond without bursting my bubble. He said, “Do you know how many cookies you would have to sell to make what you make on one settlement?” He wasn’t being cruel, he was being realistic. He knew I didn’t have experience in running a bakery and he knew having a bakery would be hard work. He also knew it would take a lot of cookies to make what I could make in real estate. I think the conversation was short and sweet (did you catch that). He really wanted me to love real estate, for my own financial sake.
As you know I decided to take a chance and open a bakery and hopefully sell a lot of cookies! I also figured out a way I could do both – own a bakery and do real estate. What I didn’t realize is when I decided to do it mom and dad would become my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. When I opened they were there. They loved coming over to the bakery. They loved talking to people and visiting with everyone.
As all of this swirled around in my head today as I baked my chocolate chip cookies, I had my own personal pity party. I was overcome with emotion. The office was empty, the bakery was empty. The streets are quiet, The world is different and my mom and dad are gone and I need them. I need them to give me advice. To tell me what to do.To guide me. To help me. So I cried, a lot! When I stopped crying I knew they were there.I felt them. I heard them inside my head. They were telling me stop feeling sorry for myself (that was my mom) and they told me this was a time to be thankful for all I have. To reach out to others who may need something I can give. To watch and listen to people in my community and see where there is a need and then do what I can to help. I wiped my eyes and knew they were right. I was also reminded that although I can no longer see them they are always with me and I felt a calm come over me.
So here’s my plan. Tomorrow morning I will brew some delicious coffee to give to people with some homemade chocolate chip cookies. It will be by donation and the money donated will be used for gift cards for our local grocery store. Those will be given to our local school district to be handed out to families who have lost their income, have children at home, and are in need of things we often take for granted. It may not be much or it may be a lot. All I know is my little bakery was created to be so much more than a bakery/coffee shop. It is a place for me to continue the way my mom and dad lived their life – with the firm belief and constant proof that our community is our family and we help when we can.
I look forward to seeing everyone this weekend as we serve you curbside. I hope for a brief moment it will bring some type of normal to the world where normal no longer exists. I am so thankful for my little happy place. A place where community comes together to remember and sometimes to forget. It is a place my mom and dad loved which makes it everything I ever dreamed it would be. As always, I know mom and dad will be with me tomorrow, smiling and happy and knowing there is power beyond money in a homemade chocolate chip cookie.