Wow - This Business Is Hard
Wow - This business hard.
But oh, so sweet (more on the candies pictured later in this post).
We’ve been open for almost 2 years now and I haven’t had much time to update this blog of late. I felt now was a good time to reflect on the past two years after I’ve just returned from a Food and Wine show in Atlanta (it was a long drive).
Looking back, the first 6 months are a blur. We opened, honed the menu, went through staffing changes, etc. Since then, we’ve slowly begun to figure out what the heck we are doing. And boy have we had help in doing so.
We have been so fortunate to have some really key staff members that feel as invested in this dream as The Barbers. Austin, our head cook, is loyal, dedicated and conscientious, all qualities that make us appreciate him each and every day. He shows up early for his shifts, makes suggestions of improvement, keeps his spirits up (most days) and looks forward to our long-term view of providing fresh, great food each and every time.
We have had the pleasure of employing some fantastic people, we now call family. You may have encountered Meaghan and Stephenie on one of your visits. They will soon be leaving us, but they’re leaving us a better place. Their faces have become synonymous with our brand as “The Cheese Cottage”, because they totally believe in what we are doing. It will be hard to replicate their enthusiasm for all things cheese.
We have several new folks that exhibit our commitment to customer experience. I tell all potential employees it’s not all cheese wheels and salami but they have vino in their eyes. Tables get dirty. The heat is relentless. The days get long. And they want to come work here anyway. Take it easy on us as we work towards the level of customer experience you have come to expect.
Also, we are moving from working “in the business” to working “on the business”. We’ve added an on-line ordering feature that will allow folks to order and pay for their menu items, then carry them out much more efficiently. We have started offering our dips and sauces for guests to take home and use in their own recipes. We transitioned our cut cheeses to a grab and go case to allow people to get what they need. We updated our menu to add 7 new sandwiches and 2 additional salads. These are exciting times for this little cottage and its staff. We hope you enjoy the changes as much as we do.
Regarding the business, we are anxiously awaiting the opening of our neighbor, Old Majestic Brewing. Their presence on the block will certainly enhance our business. Also, we have a special “Brewery Menu” that will be available for ordering once they open. This menu has been lovingly drafted to pair nicely with their beer. This has been in the works for months, so to finally have it so close to implementation is exciting.
On a personal note, a few key things are worth highlighting. I haven’t killed my husband Bubba.
All joking aside, working day in and day out with your +1 is certainly something we had underestimated. Those that have been doing it for years and are still together – WE COMMEND YOU. It is work. It is hard. It is rewarding. We have made it out of the other side and are a better couple for it.
We are also able to see our granddaughters, aged 3 and 4, as much as they can bare. The oldest one is even a cheese monger in-training. She comments on the string cheese quality and insists she wants to “help me with my business” all of the time. Upon her interview, I asked, “How do you greet a customer when they walk in?”. She immediately said, “Welcome to The Cheese Cottage!”. I hired her on the spot.
So what about those peppermint candies pictured in this blog? Those two candies signify why we are doing what we are doing. Sarah, a customer now friend, dropped these off at the shop after meeting our granddaughters. I looked at these 5 cent candies and thought, “Such a small gesture with big impact.”. That’s our shop: A small gesture with a big impact. That’s what we are.
Come in when you get a chance.
Until next time!