Typically, I’ve been providing weekly updates for you on Wednesdays, and for those of you that have been keeping up with us, I appreciate it. I’m honestly surprised so many people are following our little cookie company through this. That said, it’s definitely not Wednesday, it’s now Sunday. We’ll probably shift our updates to Fridays, as it’ll be our new reset day going forward…for now…again.
The last seven weeks have been surreal. The support you guys have showed us online has been humbling to say the least. We have had people that never ordered prior to March 11th (a day I commonly refer to as the Day of Panic) who have now ordered 4 and 5 times in just the last few weeks. We’ve seen people get cookies as gifts and then turn around and order cookies for gifts. We’ve seen people treat themselves. We had a couple rough weeks at first where the notes we received were those of condolence, but mostly now the notes are those of thanks and gratitude. This week I had a mom in St. Louis order cookies for her son here in JP. She normally sends him homemade cookies but had already told him she wouldn’t be able to. I felt really happy to be able to help make that connection. My heart ached as I wrote out a note from someone’s Auntie that just missed her nephews. I’m missing my nephew (I know I say it almost every blog) and my brand-new niece so much.
So, it’s been an absolute honor to bring some comfort and connection to so many. My heart and my car’s trunk are full on the way to the post office. Thank you so much for your orders.
Since Mother’s Day is next week, we are going to push up our order deadline to Wednesday at 8:00 PM. We will ship on Thursday. In fact, we are going to do that going forward…for now…again.
Working out of a shared kitchen is a real challenge right now. Our kitchen is home to 40+ businesses and normally accommodates six businesses at a time. At the moment, however, we are down to accommodating one at a time. Also, a key piece of equipment in the kitchen broke down prior to “all this”. This has hurt our ability to bake as many cookies as I would like, and we are working so hard to make sure we don’t run out of certain flavors as well as trying to bring in some other ones into the mix. Going forward, I will be updating the inventory on Fridays and that will be all we have until Wednesday. So, if you see a flavor you want – catch it while you can!
Prior to this, we have been working on a plan for a home of our own. In fact, on March 11th/Day of Panic, I looked at a space that would have been perfect for us for us to keep all our operations under one roof. It needed a significant buildout and we’d need to buy equipment. On March 13th I didn’t really feel like I could make an offer on the space.
I’m not sure that I have a choice now.
I’m tired. I know I’m not supposed to tell you that, but there it is. Since the Day of Panic, we have been in straight-up survival mode. I feel a lot more confident that Top Shelf Cookies will weather the storm now thanks to all of our amazing supporters. I still have a lot of unknowns about when it will be safe to do events and even then – will we want to do events under social distancing? The idea of trying to talk to folks wearing a mask is one I’m not sure I’m ready for. We won’t be able to sample; that’s a big part of events for us. Being six feet away from folks is also going to be a challenge. So many of the orders that we are getting are from folks we have gotten to know well over the years and I miss seeing them. I miss Roller Derby, SoWa, Braintree, Stoneham, and the Sam Adams JP Brewery, just to name a few.
Each week has been one new challenge after another, which is kind of normal when you run a small business – but it’s harder to find the answers right now. So much is up in the air.
My small apartment has become less of a home and more of a warehouse. Essentially, we bring our cookies back to my apartment (which is not large) and my sofas hold all these bins of packaged cookies that we have made. My dining room table has become a shipping station. My dining room hutch no longer houses pretty candles and glassware. It now serves as a box station. We pack and ship for about 12 straight hours and then we fill my car and make anywhere from one to three runs to the post office. My cat is beside himself and I had to send our CDO Brady to go stay somewhere else so that I don’t amp up his anxiety and I’m able to focus on the business. The rest of the week I’m spending in my office focusing on paperwork, wrangling ingredients, lining up staffing, etc. I’m so grateful to have these problems, as many of my friends are at a standstill with their businesses. It’s just a different way of doing business and without knowing how long this will last, we can’t really bring in more help for sure.
It’s been a grind, and it’s been exhausting. We’re all grinding and beat right now. I’ll end this here: thank you again for filling my order queue this last week again. We are keeping up with payroll and our bills. We are so thrilled to offer comfort and connection with our cookies.
With love and gratitude,