Sunday, March 13, 2011


This weekend provided an opportunity to take a mini step back and just breathe. It's good to do that once in awhile. I left my home and 'the store' physically behind and went to a friends for dinner and out dancing. Before arriving at her home however, I did make a business stop in Kingston to meet and talk about purchasing high quality tea from someone recommended to me by the local naturopathic doctor. It was an enjoyable and productive meeting with an alliance in the works.

Dinner was healthy and delicious, an Asian beef salad recipe served with brown rice, mixed fruit and decadent ice cream for dessert. I had brought a healthy banana loaf also...
The dance was in celebration of International Women's Day and included a number of artists performing everything from country to rock to samba...good fun, lots of dancing and smiling, sharing and laughing.

Even at the dance I met someone who does stained glass work....a possibility to get an indoor sign made.

This morning my friend shared some of the book she is reading focusing on the diets of the worlds longest-living groups of people. Very relaxing, informative and reinforcing. On the way home I stopped in to see the naturopathic doctor and was welcomed warmly into her home and work space. We shared life stories and talk of the benefits of specific foods that she recommends I have in the store as well as thoughts about marketing. All wonderful and supportive.

As I look at what I have just shared, I realize that I haven't said very much really that speaks to reflecting. It just felt that I had been rushing all week and that this weekend provided time to allow....also to continue networking, but in a more relaxed mode. I must also share that as time passes now and I put into place the shelves, the cash system and all of the very real and tangible pieces, part of me is a bit nervous. I ask myself, 'Can I do this?' and 'Will it be ready on time?', as I have been told repeatedly that it is imperative to open by the long May weekend. I give space to these doubts, I give them a voice and also to the knowledge deep within myself that the answer to both is addition, I get so much loving faith and confidence from others that buoys me further, and for that I am grateful. I am ready for another week.

PS- I tried uploading my business card pdf file, but I guess that format doesn't work here....will take a pic and post it when I receive it in a week :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

...and that's it for the counters

I drove to Cobourg yesterday afternoon and did buy the one display case and realized two things: one, that it won't be big enough for a cash counter but that it will be perfect as a portable display shelf and two, that the other counter that he has for sale will be perfect for the actual cash counter. With the second counter available for pick-up at the end of the month I will have finished my 'shopping for shelves and counters' and am ready to start the decorating. :):) ...stay tuned for pictures over the next couple of weeks!

I have worked through the maze of layers of online course material and am settling into learning how to use Quickbooks and loving it. I will of course hire an accountant, but it will be good to learn how to use it myself to some degree as I will be doing the data entry.

The other related 'money matter' is the cash register and scale system that I have now ordered. It will arrive over the next 3 or 4 weeks, allowing time for it to be set up and a few weeks to learn how it works and to program the software. I am looking forward to having the company and support of my 'computer geek' son for that, which is perfect...

For the most part I am taking some time-out for me this weekend....and then it will be no stopping until after the Maple in the County festival. I will share my plans for that next week and look forward to seeing and meeting you there!

One more is time to move this blog over to wordpress and in doing so I will change the background colour from pink..actually I just now changed it on blogger...imagine that!!! yeah)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Support from the Universe

I love what I am doing...I have heard it said before (and it applies to everyone in my mind) that it is a prerequisite for being self-employed. I have always loved my jobs, ever since I was young and working in the corn fields, removing the tassels (it was feed corn and the tassel removal is necessary in the pollination process). Subsequent jobs have included a corner store with a fruit and veggie side that was the busiest little store in town and for good reason; working in many areas of child care and research, teaching community college and now I am creating a business out of my passion for healthy food and lifestyle....and loving it.

I believe without question that the universe does give us what we need and want and sometimes we do not get what we think we sometimes it isn't easy...and sometimes it is. Yesterday was one of those 'easy' days. I went back to the store where I had seen the shelf that I thought might work for smaller items, items that don't need a big bin, like herbs and tea. It was still there all right, but it was labelled SOLD, and I of course was disappointed. So I happily asked the folks working there if it was possible that they were saving it for me?...after all I had mentioned to someone a few days ago that I might want to buy it. At first they said no, that it would have had to been paid for in order for it to be labeled as sold and I of course had not paid for it. In spite of this, they decided to dig a bit deeper and in a few minutes I was being told that in fact I could buy it. The universe works in mysterious ways. I actually bought 3 items in the store, filled my car (love that PT Cruiser that can hold a lot in the back!) and off I went, arriving back home just before the weather got really stormy.

I am on a learning curve with the Quickbooks course I am taking through the college. It is actually a computer learning curve rather than the software at this point. I will keep working on it (love the support of the college help group)...and will dig into the actual course likely tonight.

I have made some calls and emails about double sinks and hope to learn that there is an industrial one available to buy soon. I could 'make do' with a standard household laundry sink, but have a stainless steel industrial one in my 'vision', so will give it some time to present itself. The other piece of furniture I need is a cash counter and I will likely go to Cobourg tomorrow, weather permitting, to buy one that I think will be just perfect... or close enough with some adaptations. :) (will need to measure the back of the PT one more time, just to make sure that it will go in of course....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

wallpaper borders

Thank the heavens for friends for many reasons, but removing wallpaper has got to be one of the most time consuming and frustrating tasks. One of my friends commented after 3 of us had worked for more than 4 hours, that supposedly new wallpaper is easily removed....not so, at least none of us has found a simple solution! If you know of one, do share, as I have at least 2 more rooms in my home that will eventually be treated to borderless walls! In the meantime, I will just endure and be grateful that the colours and patterns could be worse...At any rate, with the help of my friends we got the wallpaper border all taken off in less than 6 hours. Before making the final decision about paint colour (and I am getting advice for sure in this area!) I will get the ceiling light replaced.....just in case the ceiling needs to be painted also. I am getting ready to put the order in for bin replacement parts, making a final cash system decision, buying a wonderful shelf for some of the products that will be stored in smaller containers, starting the course on Quickbooks, talking to other businesses about alliances for Maple in the County (I am listening to the message that people would like to tell me what they would like me to stock in the store and hope to use the community event to gather some of this feedback..:))....I love being up at 3:00 a.m. as it gives me just a wee bit more time, and although I am enjoying every minute of 'the Pantry project' the to-do list is of course endless...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

soup...can never get enough

Although I am now focusing this blog on the developments of bringing to life Penny's Pantry, I will be throwing in the odd recipe and pic of food....after all I am still eating and even cooking and baking, just not as frequently. I made a soup recipe from Vicki's Veggies that I picked up last weekend at Picton's Seedy Saturday. Seedy Saturday is an event that I also attended in Toronto in the past, and basically it is a fun event for sharing both knowledge as well as seeds for spring planting. There were also baked goods and herbs for sale and information about growing food in general. With Maple Parsnip as the title, this soup was easy (as most soups are) and deliciously different. Basically just clean and chop a bag or 1-1.5 lbs of parsnips and add then to a pot that has browned an onion and a couple of garlic cloves...after about 5 minutes, add 4 cups broth (veggie or chicken) and cook until the parsnips are done. then add 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup real maple syrup, some nutmeg and about 1 Tbsp dijon mustard....blend it all and enjoy!!!
Simple and delicious...

website and hinges

I believe that it is often said of an entrepreneur or small business person that you need to be a Jack/Jill of all trades...I am grateful for my streak of independence and interest in learning so that I can figure out how most things come apart (and go back together) as well as how to muddle through the 'how-to's' of modern technology. I have now registered a website and will be working to 'get it started' in the next couple of days. With an amazing upcoming weekend event Maple in The County at the end of March, I am mobilizing to be there with business cards and a venue for folks to 'tell me what they want to buy in the Pantry'...It was a fantastic weekend, with a good friend here with her tools to cut apart and modify shelving as well as make suggestions for signage and the cash counter. This week I will have a couple of other friends here to help remove wallpaper border and give decorating advice. This is another area that I 'need a little help from my friends'...I have been told (at times with good reason) that I have no taste. I will heed the sage advice of a small business consultant, to ask for help in the areas where I do not have 'gifts' and interior decorating would be one!!!

..pic is of one end of the 'Pantry' with the renovated bin shelf (stationary bike will be returned to my friend-sorry, there is not room for the fitness part of health lol)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Count down...

It has been said both of me and by me that I am happiest when I have a project...the birthing of Penny's Pantry is indeed a project. Today my tasks ranged from chatting to a company that sells refurbished cash and weigh scale systems, having an initial discussion with my primary distributor so that I can get their catalogue, meeting with a graphic artist and taking apart, cleaning and putting back together the amazing gravity fed bins (pic of one taken apart) that I have bought. I also have been doing some online research to source new scoops and in thinking creatively I may use something a little bit 'outside of the norm' and 'colourful'....looking at shelving for the storage room as well as possible solutions to putting a door at the bottom of the stairs going to my private living area....went out for a walk to the local dollar store to see what I might find there in the way of scoops. Although there was not anything appropriate in stock, the owner may be able to get what I need for much less than I can get it online and in addition, another customer overheard me telling him what I wanted the scoops for and he got very excited to know that there will be a bulk food store coming to town. It is this feedback from folks on the street that fuels my energy. I know that I won't be able to keep in stock everything, or even close to everything that everyone in town would like, as I will have the capacity of maybe 1/10th of the Bulk Barn. However with special orders an option, I trust that I will be able to meet the needs of most of the people, most of the time. I also chatted with the woman who works in the dollar store and she shared a business card for herself and her husband, who may be able to help me reduce my internet and phone costs. Building alliances are what small business in the county is all about, helping each other and keeping as much of our business local as possible. It is now getting close to my 'witching hour', but in closing I want to mention that both a telephone and skype chat with 2 different friends with expertise in areas where I am limited (bookkeeping and graphic design) reminded me of how my friends have continued to support me every step of the way where they can...other friends who are skilled in woodworking and plumbing are soon to be on the scene. :):)