May The Q Be With You
As our Saturday was coming to a close we loaded up Michelle’s Outback with a substantial amount of barbecue and sides to deliver for a party in a hanger over at Hooks airport. Michelle and I got to spend some time visiting with one of our newer regulars, taking a tour of air planes, cars, trucks, and even a vintage fire truck. It was a delightful visit with wonderful folks living in a hanger at Hooks. I had no idea people took up permanent residence in an airplane hanger. After seeing the set up, I want one too.
To see a vintage air plane and barbecue grill housed in the same place was stimulating.
On the way back to The Craftory, Michelle and I were reflecting on just how many interesting people we’ve had the pleasure to meet and know. Everyone has a story. I love this about our business. Having so many people come, enjoy, and go out of their way to tell us how much they appreciate what we do is a very rewarding thing for us to experience. The kindness is inspiring.
Back in the days when we were selling chocolate at the Tomball Farmer’s Market the Olivers were regular and welcome customers of ours and many other vendors at the weekly farmers market. The Oliver family loves their town. They show this with loyal support of our many local independent businesses. When the Olivers asked if we would host a special private event at our place we were excited to do this for them. Carrie and Brandon wanted to say “I do” all over again and we said lets do this.
Those that know Brandon and Carrie know that plaid rules. Michelle made a chocolate truffle with dew berry, lemon cream, and dark milk chocolate with a chocolate plaid topper. Jane and John Dough made a couple of fantastic cakes for the dessert bar. In true Oliver fashion some locals got together at Carnivores Hall in the New Old Town.
The ceremony theme was Space Balls and was officiated by Barf.
I will say that Dark Helmet is a lot brighter in person than in the movie.
May the Q be with you.
As Robin Hatte pointed out yesterday, Spring looks to have sprung.
Great weather, good food, and kind people were in ample supply.
Bonnie and Clyde paid us a visit.
Clyde was eyeing a large beef rib wondering if the dude scarfing it down was gonna ever finish and leave a bare bone behind.
Fat Tuesday is near so Michelle celebrated by creating another wonderful chocolate truffle.
Her spin on a hummingbird cake flavor profile was rolled up into a chocolate truffle topped by Janie with a festive Mardi Gras style that sold out in hours. Again, we sold well over 600 hand rolled truffles for the week. I don’t know how the ladies get it all done to be honest. I tried rolling truffles one time to help out. I made 3 and decided that chocolate truffle rolling was not for me.
On Saturday the party was on in the front yard.
It felt like a good day in America. The day went very smooth even though we were short staffed for the day. We were sold out at 3:30 leaving us with thoughts of ways to increase our capacity. Sales for February 2017 over February 2016 are up 48%. We are running at near max capacity so we’ve got some big decisions to make. We’re kicking around the idea of moving chocolate making ops into a nearby building. This frees up room for seating and will help us figure out a better beverage station. The idea would be to get folks through the line more efficiently and have more places for them to sit. We’d still retail our chocolate in the same space, but produce it in a nearby facility. We’d like to get our chocolate production up so we can consistently make bars again which is where this whole ride started in the first place. We want to get back to telling the story of single origin cacao with hand crafted chocolate bars.
It’s pretty cool to see a business with humble beginnings like ours grow into something more. More new customers also means more expectation setting. We are going through another round of people discovering whether we are or are not for them. We are getting to know each other is how I see it. There are 6 places in Tomball that serve barbecue. I like the lane we are in. When we get to tell the chocolate story the way I want to we will go through a big round of expectation setting. It’s heavy lifting but I’m up for that…most days anyways. 🙂
We recently had another employee hit the one year mark with us. Chris Gist aka Marlboro Man or Crazy Ivan, buses tables, replenishes condiments, and tends to our cooker well into the late hours. While we all partied on Saturday, Crazy Ivan went to work on his weekly chore of cleaning the cooker.
Don’t let this image fool you. Gist loves this work. A weekly deep clean of the cooker is a dirty job that needs doing. Crazy Ivan can clean The Black October like no other. I was thinking of starting a Go Fund Me account to buy Crazy Ivan extra bath soap. I feel like he needs more soap than most in order to clean up. Feel free to contribute to the soap fund as you see fit.
About a year and half ago there was an empty old house on N. Elm Street. Now there are 12 people that work and live in your community that were not doing so previous. You helped us do that. Thank you.
See you around soon okay.