It’s been quite a while since I last posted an update. I honestly haven’t been feeling all that great, but with the Commonwealth’s phased reopening, I feel like I should let you know how we are doing.
First and foremost, Top Shelf Cookies is doing great. We have been handling a lot of larger orders for employee gifts, graduate gifts, etc. Your online support has been nothing short of amazing. I’m always grateful to get through a week with the employees and bills paid but given these last few months…I think I’ve been extra grateful.
Moving the bulk of our business online has been a significant challenge, as we are processing more transactions. For example, an order the size of what I normally drop off to a college on a weekly basis, something that typically takes about 30 minutes to drop off, is now equivalent to separate 30 orders that have to be transacted through accounting, picked, packed and shipped. It’s just a heavier lift. Make no mistake, I’m grateful to have a heavier lift than no lift at all. The pivots we’ve all had to make are just different and take some getting used to. But I do feel like we are getting into a decent in a groove here.
Another challenge we’ve faced is that we are unable to bake as much in our commercial kitchen (as of right now) as we normally can. We work in a shared space that serves as a home to nearly 50 businesses and with the ability to work 6 of us at a time. Social distancing guidelines make this particularly tricky, so we aren’t able to actually produce as much as we did before the pandemic hit.
With all that being said, we have made the decision to step back from farmers markets this summer, at least for the time being. There are a few reasons for this. Chief among them is the concern foe the health and safety of our staff. We have a small team and we can’t afford to get sick. Secondly, the new guidelines for farmers markets require a very different setup than what we are accustomed to and frankly speaking, I’m having trouble envisioning how we can make it work for us. Thirdly, this is a situation where I think we need to say “no” now so we can say “yes” later.
We need to focus on getting into our own space in order to ensure a successful fall and holiday season; We typically do 40% of our business for the year in the last three months. So, for the long-term health of Top Shelf Cookies we need to continue with our online operations shipping one time per week for now. If we are able to increase production, we will likely pick up markets again and increase our shipping frequency. That said, if our shipping date doesn’t work for you, please get in touch to see if I can figure it out. I promise I will do what I can to accommodate you.
We are hopeful that you will continue to support us this way throughout the summer as we are really optimistic that we can make a leap into our own space. Our own production space means we’ll be able to increase production, lower our minimum order quantities for all of our flavors, and we’ll have a space that you can come pick up orders from. I have a lot of great things in store (pun intended) for our potential new space.
They’ll be more on this later when we have more to report, but I did want to let you guys know this is going to be our “new normal” for the time being. I’m grateful for the support you’ve given us and hope that you will continue to support us while we make this next big step.
With a grateful heart,