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!