Friday, December 10, 2010

The Shop's Volunteers.

Kutter's Cheese delivered our order late yesterday afternoon.
We carry:
  • mild, sharp, and x-sharp cheddars
  • colby longhorn
  • hot wasabi cheddar
  • horseradish and smoked bacon
  • cheese curds
  • Sharp provolone
  • Swiss
  • Jalopena muenster
  • Maple Cheddar
As usual, the volunteer didn't have time to get the cheese out of the box before people streamed in to purchase their favorites.
I love when the vendors arrive.  They have to come down a long hall to get to our shop.  Anyone in the common rooms knows they are there.  Scones fly out the door when Scratch Baking delivers.  The same goes for the cheese selection.  I'm no exception.  I put in a special order for a half pound of smoked gouda and a container of port wine cheese spread.  I never had to leave home.  Just run downstairs (no, I didn't actually run) and pick up my order.
Both Kutter's and Scratch Baking will fill orders by mail.  They are part of my mission to bring things to our customers from locally owned and operated businesses.

My volunteers, in the shop, are the best ever.  I have less than ten active volunteers who keep the shop open 6 days a week, 12 hours a day.  Three more are on medical leave.  I can't wait to get them back.
The average age of our staff is 72.  This is an age when most people are willing to sit back and enjoy their retirement years.  Not my team!  They feel their hours in the shop benefit them in many ways.
They tell me that interacting with their friends and neighbors tops their list.  They feel that they are making a contribution.  They all agree that being active is keeping them sharp and alert.  Many had retail experience in their careers. They know how to solve problems. They know how to deal with people who can be downright difficult at times.

I believe that my team is the real reason for our success.  This little shop, in a very small space, grossed almost $14,000 in it's first year.  Our mission is to provide quality items at affordable prices.  The net goes to the Residents' Council Treasury.  In our first year we gave the Residents' Council just over $4000.

We have a team dinner meeting four times a year.  This is our time to review what we are doing and discuss how we can improve.  The highlight of these meetings is my chance to recognize their service to our Residents' Council and our shop.  I look at them as true gems.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention several who go beyond the call. 
  • Bob, better known as Shop and Stock is constantly looking for new items that would appeal ot our residents and guests.  He has the marketing experience to know what will fly off the shelves.  Without him, the shop would be in dire straights.
  • Dennis, is our off hours clerk.  He is the go-to guy if one has the munchies after the shop is closed.  Dennis will open the shop anytime from 9pm to 9am so that someone can pick up what they want.  Dennis does a booming business from the late night wii games crowd.  Bowling and golf make you hungry and thirsty!
  • Judy is my Friday morning wizard.  She opens on Friday morning and is the person who deals with the candy/chips/etc. vendor.  This is always a big order on Friday morming.  Judy is relentless when it comes to checking that order against the list Shop and Stock leaves for her.  What would I do without her?
  • Bill is my Wednesday and Friday night guy.  He has the pleasure of making hot chocolate or hot tea for those playing bingo or poker on those nights.  Bill loves to talk and he has found a nicheto conduct cracker barrel discussions with his customers.. 
  • Ruth, Maggie, Patty, Karen, and Marlene rarely miss their shifts in the shop.  If they do, it is always for a good reason.  Each of them bring a new personality to the mix.  They have people who will only shop when they are there. 
So, today is my personal salute to my volunteers day.  Have a wonderful Friday.

14 days til Christmas
Did I mention that the wind is still howling and a storm is brewing for the weekend?