Thursday, August 14, 2014

My, how time flies.....

It's been an interesting year, to put it mildly.
Shortly after my last post, my DH/partner Maurice had several heart attacks, followed by a stent (second time for that), a blood clot in the groin, and a third recurrence of cancer...this time in his lung.
He had half a lung removed,  underwent radiation, and is now receiving chemotherapy that will wind up in December......and here we are, August 14, over a year since my last post.  

During that time, we celebrated our 25th anniversary here in Carriage Plaza, our younger son got married in Tulsa, and our our older son and his family are also in Tulsa, so we now get to see our  family frequently!  

All these factors helped us see how important it is to slow down, and take some time to enjoy day-to-day living! Maurice & I decided to close the gift side of the shop and focus exclusively on the candy/chocolates.  It's what we love the most about our business, and it's what we do the best.

We started a giant closeout sale on all gifts, and are now down to 75% off all remaining gift merchandise. We have lots of store fixtures and displays for sale, and we're glad to see them go!
We're now preparing to move our front door back  and put up the wall that was originally there when we opened back in 1989!

Some of our wonderful customers are unaware of what we're doing, and when they walk in, they're very concerned that we're going out of biz....not at all! They're relived when we tell them what's going on!

Maurice and I are looking forward to being able to focus our attention on what we love the most and do the best....SWEETS!! 
Of course we'll still have some great little gifts, mostly the kind that will make you chuckle!

Thank you, our dear friends & customers, for your continued patronage during the past quarter of a century!  Remember...we're more than just a candy store ;-)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Feast or famine. All or nothing. Peaks and valleys.  Ever heard those phrases? After 24 years, we still find ourselves seeking balance - with our products, staff, time, and basically every aspect of operating a business that is weighted heavily with seasonal merchandise several times a year.

I generally order chocolate about every 10-14 days.  It seems like it all always comes in at the same time, and before I turn around, the cases look mostly empty.  Certainly not attractive to customers ;-(  
By the time I do inventory, place the orders, and the chocolates finally ship, we're out of others that need to be ordered.
Maurice does the general candy ordering, and he tries to order every single week.  Often when it comes in, many things are on back-order, and by then we're running low again on items we didn't order before because we had plenty, or so we thought.
Same with customers - we try to staff the store based on records from the past.  But it never fails that if we're short handed, we get bombarded with customers who actually have to wait in line for assistance.
On the other hand, if we've had a slow afternoon, we're likely to send one of our employees home for the rest of the day, and then we get slammed!  

Today (Saturday) Maurice & I split the day - I worked morning, he worked afternoon.  He said about 4:30 it was very slow, so he sent not one, but both of our afternoon workers home.  You guessed it...he got slammed!  And he was all by himself! Our customers are wonderful, and they waited for him.  He actually did about 25% of our daily sales today in that last hour, because of course customers come in right before closing, and we're not about to run them off!  He was on the way out the door to meet me  for dinner, when yet another customer called and needed a gift for an anniversary tomorrow.  You have no idea how difficult it was for Maurice to tell him he was sorry, that he had people waiting for him.   We NEVER want to disappoint anyone, certainly not a prospective new customer.
As much as we'd like to, we can't be fully stocked at all times. Nor can we count on a steady, perfectly paced stream of customers.  Although we sometimes feel we only go home to eat and sleep, we can't be 'on the clock'  24/7.  It's all about balance~delicate and often elusive.  Even after all these years, we sometimes have trouble maintaining it, but we'll continue to give it our best shot!  

Happy Weekend, friends!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hello again! Happy Birthday!

Two years and two months...that's how long it's been since our last chat.  I recently rekindled my interest in blogging, and it's been so long, I'm surprised I even found my way here again!
It's sort of hard to recap 2+ years in one blog entry. Wow...where to begin....
Next Wednesday, July 10th, marks our 24th birthday!  
Besides birthday cake, we're offering a 24% discount storewide that day (except coffee).  I know we'll have a great crowd, and we'll be able to clear out some room for new everyday, collegiate, fall, and yes, even seasonal merchandise that is arriving daily.

A lot has happened leading up to this 24th birthday. The last time I blogged, we had quietly inked a deal to sell The Candy Basket to a local man who was a customer and musical acquaintance.  He was to take over July 1st of that year, and we were looking forward to working for him part time and easing into retirement!
Life has a way of throwing a curve ball or two.  Suffice it to say the buyer was unable/unwilling to fulfill his contractual agreement.  It was a heartbreaking time, and when we finally 'repossessed' the store seven months later, it was like we were reborn!

Maurice & I were invigorated again! We added new staff (all the former staff left during that difficult 'honeymoon'). We're restoring our reputation as a place to find fun & funky gifts! 

The shop has been cleared out, cleaned up, and lots of color has been added.
Our shelves are stocked with great new merchandise, and our selection of MIO (Made in Oklahoma) products is expanding.
We scouted out some incredible chocolatiers whose artisan chocolates are being shipped to us in small quantities in order to ensure freshness.

We reinstated our traditional Friday the 13th sales. 
We're now doing candy buffets for parties and receptions.
We're hosting Private Chocolate Tasting Parties. 
We're very active on fb (do you follow us?)
Our electronic newsletter (Candygram) is now going out
to over 4,000 customers every few weeks. If you don't
get it, drop us a line at and we'll make sure you get added to our list.
Maurice & I are definitely starting to feel our ages, and entertain notions of slowing down. We often dream of being able to take off to go visit our kids and grandkids, all of whom are now in the Tulsa area. 
We know retirement will happen eventually, but in the meantime we're happy to be doing what we love...operating the best little candy store around!!
Many of you have been with us from the start, and we value your friendships and patronage more than you could ever know!
Let's raise a glass to 24 years together!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Long time, no see

I suppose ten months is long enough to make you eager to read another blog post!
So much has happened...where to start?
I could bore you with details and go over every event, but I'll spare you the time, and let's just pick it up right here, right now...May 11, 2011!
We've had a great Spring so far, but today's weather was miserable...enough so that I found plenty of time to sit at the computer and write this blog!  
Here's a display we did this week.  Sometimes I don't understand why everyone doesn't love
some of our cool things as much as I do!  These apple candles are a great example...
I loved them, had to have them, ordered them, got them in the store, and there's been basically zero interest in them:-(  
I love that they're unscented, since we can't allow other aromas to mix with our chocolates/candies/coffee aromas.
I love that they're the cool color...they're like a permanent apple display for someone's kitchen, and they're still HERE...not on customers' kitchen counters!  WTH?!

 Anyway, Melissa never did like them and didn't want me to order them, but I was determined, and managed to spend a pretty penny buying so many.  Oh well, maybe I'll just have to change the color scheme in my own kitchen!

That's the thing about owning a retail one of my reps once said "It's all a crap shoot", and by golly, I think she was right!  I'm amazed at how quickly some things sell, while others (like these glorious candles) just sit and collect dust!

Anyway, the dust-ables will hopefully be gone Friday, as it's our traditional "Triskaidekaphobia Sale" which we have every Friday, the 13th.   Everything in the store is HALF PRICE (except food and drink), and we usually have a tremendous turnout.

So maybe, just maybe, our apple candles will appeal to half price!
Till next time,
Remember - an apple a day keeps the Dr. away!!!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Oddly delicious!

We're always on the lookout for new and unusual chocolates, and the folks at Cocopotamus in New Mexico don't let us down....Woohoo!
New flavors of Coco-P. fudge ball truffles are here! 
Their diabolical chocolatiers have been cooking up 4 fab new flavors of  handmade dark chocolate fudge truffles for our awesome customers (that’s YOU!)  Good news?  They are yummy and they are in the house! 
bopeep.jpgBO PEEP – Meet Bo Peep, the black sheep of the Cocopotamus family.  Deeper, richer and of course darker.  She’s a darling at a stunning 88% dark chocolate.  Infused with a double dose of pure Mexican vanilla and just a sheepish hint of organic black raspberry. 
Rolled in Swiss fort brut extra dark cocoa powder.

mangotango.jpgMANGO TANGO – Meet the extreme fruit around town, Mango Tango.  It’s organic mango like you’ve never seen it before – the fruit flavor explodes!  Enhanced by a pinch of lime and ancho chili (or chile, as they call it in Albuquerque). 
Topped with a dollop of cute mango frosting.

lovepotion.jpgLOVE POTION #10 – Meet their darling romantic, Love Potion #10.  Inspired by Grandma’s pie,  it is organic strawberry and a generous dose of Mexican cinnamon.  Sweet, bashful, romantic.  She’s a darling!  What’s not to love? 
Topped with a cute dollop of strawberry frosting.

cowgirl.jpgCOWGIRL – Meet the feisty new girl on the ranch, Cowgirl.  She’s deep (infused with spices), she’s rich (kicked up by molasses), she’s sweet (that’s the organic honey talking!)  Cowgirl is a Honey BBQ fudge truffle, mole poblano style.  You’ve never tasted anything like it! 
Topped with a drizzle of ancho chile frosting.

We'll continue to carry the most delicious, unusual chocolates from around the world, and we'll keep pursuing new avenues of culinary excellence!  It's a challenge sometimes, especially when customers are a tad skeptical or assume it's too unusual.  Our jobs...MY to introduce Candy Basket customers to the best chocolates we can find!

Happy thoughts (of chocolate)...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ah, yes, I remember.....

Since it's Father's Day, I've been thinking a lot about my Dad, Robert G. Summers.  He was a great guy - very smart, an accomplished musician, disciplined, thrifty (in a good way), and devout.  
My dear daughter-in-law sent me this, and it made me think of my days growing up in my Father's home.  I think his thumbprint is on everything I do, from being a parent to being a shop proprietress.  This one's for you, Dad.....I miss you.

How's This For Nostalgia?

All the girls had ugly gym uniforms?

Gym uniforms for girls were fairly ugly

It took three minutes for the TV to warm up?

Nobody owned a purebred dog?

When a quarter was a decent allowance?

You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?

Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?
Opaque Thigh Highs with Lace Top

You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time? And you didn't pay for air? And, you got trading stamps to boot?

Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?!BiYfh5g!2k~$(KGrHqMH-DsEsMi7PV-rBLOo-JD!!Q~~_35.JPG

They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed. . and they did it!

No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never

Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?

Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?

When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home?

Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat. 
Summers filled with bike rides, Hula Hoops, and visits to the pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.

Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles.

Coffee shops with Table Side Jukeboxes.

Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum.
Hey, wait.....we still carry these nostalgic gums, but they're definitely more than a dime, or whatever they cost way back when!
Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, 'Yeah, I remember that'?

And with all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today.

Happy Father's Day, fellas.  Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane!
Until next time, I remain Bob's little girl,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Initially Yours

Welcome to June!  June always brings Father's Day and weddings - lots of them! It's hard sometimes for me to think of a good gender-neutral gift for the newlyweds.  But this year I have a store full of perfect gifts for both Dad and newlyweds, and I think you're going to like it when I tell you we're offering all of our Mud Pie glass initial gifts at HALF PRICE throughout the entire month of June! This includes this gorgeous barware you see here, plus lots of other great, functional pieces for the home...perfect for Dads and newlyweds!

The  cool decanters pictured below are our favorites.  Think outside the box with these - they're so versatile!  Fill them with bath salts and put them in the bath...or load them up with peanuts or gumballs for a desk or side table!  Do something creative with them now - the timing's great, because they're one of the initial glass gift items HALF PRICE!                            

Another great gift for throughout the home are our initial frames.  They're heavy glass, hold a 4x6 horizontal picture, and feature the same bold font. UBER cool for men and women!                                         

These great little bottle stoppers are not only useful, they're the perfect add-on gift to let someone know you're thinking just of them.  Might as well think of yourself, too, since they're now HALF PRICED through June!
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these trays!  I've personally given them as gifts on several occasions, and they look even more attractive at HALF       PRICE, don't you think?!   If you ever wanted to put out some cheese  and crackers, add some grapes, and maybe some apple slices, these   are the perfect serving pieces!                                                                                     
So we obviously have some great personalized gifts, and obviously I am ready to let them go  HALF PRICE for a limited time, namely the month of June.  It's a perfect match!  I do hope y'all will take advantage and will come shop and stock up on these great gifts!