"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Spice Business, Christmas 2014

It is two days until Christmas and the spice shop traffic has not abated.  We have such loyal customers who love good spices!  They have come every day, bringing their friends, co-workers and family in to show them the shop and introduce them to our spices and blends.  Our huge new sign which sits in the back of the 1978 Ranchero helps people to find much more easily. I think it is beautiful and it matches the colors of the Ranchero, my mom's car for years, which makes it even better.  (Of course I don't have a picture of the sign/car. Who has time for that kind of thing?
     One of the spices we are currently nearly out of is one of the biggest sellers in the store: Peruvian Chile Lime. Yes, we ordered lots of it in preparation for the season. It  made no difference, we still sell out every week. Next year we'll order more of it…sooner. Everyone likes this blend, even Gary the elf!

Here are some shots of the buzz that has been going on for weeks now in the shop.  

No, those people aren't caroling as we jarred spices, but it does look like it.  They had happened to meet up there, friends who were out and about, shopping on Western Avenue.  Able is "the hat guy" around town; that's his signature. 

    Here Samantha is telling this woman the difference between the various spice books we have available while Kari runs the register. 

All four of us were on deck that Saturday, the last week-end before Christmas. Not just the A team but the entire team, something that almost never happens.  There are three people who work only one day a week who weren't there that day….we could have used them, and here's why.

You see that stack of boxes in front of Priscilla? Is was six boxes high and four boxes across. Those are boxes that hold 12 jars of one kind of spice or blend.  These are the back stock and really should be filled as soon as they empty.  These boxes are usually kept down to about eight or so behind the jarring table out in the store.  But during Christmas TWO cabinets in front were full of empties and then there was this stack in the back.  Every time there was a lull in sales on Saturday, Priscilla and I sat back here and jarred as fast as we could. However, every time went out to get labels or to help people,  we would do a little restocking of the shelves and end up taking another three or four boxes back to the back with us. At the end of the day this stack was this exact same height, but made up of completely different boxes. I never saw anything like it. 

       That was Saturday, on which we set a record in sales.  Then there was Sunday, on which Able, Kari and I worked ourselves into little bits of frayed cloth, and then there was today.  Today it was Able, Priscilla, and I by ourselves.  It felt like a busy Saturday all day.  I brought little oranges, a summer sausage and a bag of fritos and Priscilla brought delicious toffee/almond Christmas cookies for the troops.  We needed them all by the end of the day.  At one point, while I was sitting in the back, jarring various kinds of chilies, the air became so thick with jalapeño dust that everyone's eyes were running and the sneezing was beginning to rum rampant through the shop. We threw all the doors open and turned the exhaust fans on high. Hurrah!!  Outside it was a beautiful 64ish degrees and people came flooding in, along with the fresh air.

       As always, it is gangs of fun, though exhausting, working hard with a team.  Everyone is coming early and staying late. My family has come to the shop many evenings to help build gift sets or jar spices. They feed me supper and/or breakfast whenever I stumble in and fall asleep on a couch or some little person's bed. (Yes, I still have not found another place to live.) Every Sunday Zach and Audra come by the shop when I am working and bring me their boys for me to hug and love on, as well as a iced Diet Pepsi to boost my energy level.  The boys play hide and seek in the cupboards, rearrange the extracts, cheer everyone up who happens to be in the shop, and relocate all the tasters.  Great times. If we aren't busy we let the boys practice putting spice in jars. Zane often sits on the front counter and 'takes notes' on a little not pad of paper.

    We know business will slow down considerably after Christmas, but there have been so many new faces in the shop these past two months, I know many of our new customers will be coming back around for refills and additions to their spice pantries.  Once you taste the good stuff it's impossible to go back. 
      Here is the whole crew from Savory Spice Shop OKC wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New year in 2015! 

P.S. This shot was taken after closing time on Saturday. All five of us were tired beyond words and, just as we were getting ready to close up shop, this woman came in and wandered around for another thirty minutes. That's fine, we stay open as long as anyone is in the shop and heaven knows we had plenty to do.  She is the one we roped into taking our picture at the very last minute before she checked out. Such a good sport.

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