Happier Days 9/17/2020

Quick things:

Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week! Check out the website for everything we’ve got right now!

Happy Thursday evening! I’m happy to report that I’m in a much better mood than I was last Thursday.

For one thing, today we got word that our application for the Department of Agriculture’s COVID-19 Fresh Food Financing Initiative will receive partial funding! This will enable us to purchase some equipment to help us adapt to the supply and market volatility we’ve seen (and are seeing) as a result of the pandemic, some additional equipment that will help us fill and store online orders, install an air filtration system to make the space safer for you and for us, and help offset some of the costs of acquiring and deploying all new systems (like that new Point of Sale system we sure didn’t think we needed, and the new website currently in development) to enable continued online shopping and curbside pickup.

We are really excited and thankful for the funding, and also it is helping us breathe a sigh of relief. I think over the past few months a significant part of our business plan has been something like, “Do what we feel like we have to do and trust that it’ll all work out it the end.” There have definitely been days when I have struggled with that trust, especially when I look at the difference in cost between the POS that was in our budget and the one we’re deploying now, or the investment we’re making in e-commerce, which wasn’t in our budget at all. This funding helps bridge the gap between those numbers, and helps take it from leap of faith to viable business strategy. So thank you, Department of Ag, and thank you, taxpayers. 🙂

Perhaps less Big, but also exciting — today I scanned that cremini barcode on the new register and — IT WORKED! And then I scanned thyme and a whole slew of other things and some of them it turns out I haven’t actually loaded into the new system yet, but many of them WORKED! It felt like a huge leap forward. On the other hand, our onboarding specialist this week confirmed for me that a number of key features the salesperson promised us either don’t exist in the version of the product we’re getting (the next step up is four times the cost and a boatload more complicated) or just actually aren’t offered by the company at all. One of the things in the latter category is near real-time inventory syncing with e-commerce. They’ll sync once a day, not the every five minutes the salesperson promised. This is, apparently, non-negotiable and, like, maybe a completely unreasonable thing for me to want. “None of our other grocery customers have ever requested a data load more frequent than daily,” they tell me. “This is how all the grocery stores are doing it.” To which my unspoken reply is, “And you think how grocery stores have been handling e-commerce inventory and fulfillment the past few months has been satisfactory?”


But, we’re moving forward because at this point, how can we not? Lead time to implement something else would be months, and I’m not interested in waiting that long. We’re working on strategies to mitigate this bombshell, and hoping that maybe all those other grocery stores know something we don’t (but that we can learn!) about how to make it work. On the other end, I’ve started updating product descriptions and photos in the new site (if we carried national brands like a “normal” grocery store all this stuff would auto-populate based on UPC), and it’s far enough along that I can see what it will eventually look like, so that feels like progress, too. Everything (except time itself) moves more slowly than I want it to, but it is moving.

In completely unrelated news, back in June a little cat trotted up into our yard. We fed her a can of tuna and…she never left. We’ve been in denial for three months now, but as of this week it appears we have accepted that this cat is ours. Or we’re hers. We belong to each other.

And so I give you Cora Cat — short for Quarantine Cat or maybe Corona Cat.

Don’t worry — we won’t let her come to work with us.


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