Monday, August 30, 2004

Winding Down

We took Lucy to the beach yesterday. Stopped in Astoria, where it was cool, damp and misty. Browsed through their "Sunday Market"—they cordon off three blocks of their downtown every Sunday during the summer for this open-air market. Mostly produce, baked goods, and bead jewelry. Some cute little cottage industries are starting to appear, under the sodden canopies. The market has really expanded since the first time we visited it about two years ago. Bought a little baby peach pie and brought it home…we’ll have it for dessert tonight. Well, at least I’ll have it. Husband is still working to drop the last few pounds to his "Weight Watchers" goal. He’s already lost over fifty pounds and looks great. I have to say, he’s aged better than I have…
From damp and gray Astoria, we headed down the coast about ten miles to Seaside, where it was sunny, warm, and just lovely. It was like a completely different day. We walked on the beach…it was crowded, as Seaside was the terminus of the "Hood to Coast" run that took place this past weekend. There were scads of folks hobbling around town on blistered feet, or cruising about in their painted-up "support vehicles." But, all Oregon beaches are just about endless, and if you walk far enough, you get away from the masses. We threw the ball for the dog until she was so tired we had to drag her back to the car. In Seaside, many of the local businesses leave buckets of dog water on the sidewalks as a courtesy to potential (human) patrons. After eating a ton of sand down on the beach, Lucy emptied at least three of these on our walk through town back to the car.
I’m enjoying a little three-week hiatus between events for the business. Our last one, the North Plains Garlic Festival, was just this side of a disaster. The last one of six in a row, and I was really hoping for some good things. Then, at about 6pm on Saturday night, the heavens opened up.
We got a monsoon the like of which I have never seen in August in Oregon in the twenty ears I’ve lived here. In fact, it started on Saturday and rained for a week, which it never does here in summer. Needless to say, my hopes for decent business at the festival were literally washed away. We didn’t really do too bad, considering it was our first year and the weather SUCKED. But I really was hoping to catch a break…
Our next event is in Coburg---the Antique Festival. It’s a one-dayer, but it surprised me last year…it was one of our best events of the season. I hope we can repeat our success this year. I’ve changed the menu a bit, and changed some things around so that we shouldn’t keep running out of food like we did last year when it was busy. Hopefully, that will mean an even better performance…but I’ve given up trying to predict these things. I always guess wrong.
So, once again, apart from the Junction City Scandinavian Festival, the business has enjoyed a "so-so" year. I made some changes to the menu and the operation that made it so we squeezed more profit out of the dollars we DID bring in, so that was good. But my new goal, rather than to have most of the year off, and then do a rush of events in the summer (which leaves me exhausted and beat up), is to have at least one job a month year-round. We do about twelve events a year now, most of them during July, August, and September. That, of course, is mostly when the kinds of festivals/fairs we do take place. But I’ve assembled the equipment to be able to do indoor events, and that opens a whole new world for us during the rest of the year. By george, I might just make a real business out of this thing yet. (With all the money, blood, sweat and tears I’ve invested so far, I guess it’s about time…)
One result of this new business strategy is, I won’t be going to school to get the incredibly expensive "Le Cordon Bleu" Patisserie certificate that I was lusting after last spring. There won’t be time, and I SURE don’t have the money. After investigating financial aid, and finding out that there is really a negligible amount available to me as a "rich" middle class homeowner, my second thought was, that if the business had a really good year, I could pull the money from there. Well, I sure didn’t make an extra $20,000 this year (I wish). And I just couldn’t justify adding another $200 or more monthly payment to our list of responsibilities right now. Especiallysince we are fairly certain that, with the exodus of manufacturing jobs overseas, my husband’s job will probably be going away within the next few years. We need to get rid of our debt, not add to it. When he loses his job, and we go bankrupt, then I can go get that spendy certificate on the government’s dime (LOL!)


  1. You say you can't plan and look at this.  Flea markets are a huge thing around here with some drawing thousands of people in a weekend. There is one company that rotates towns one weekend a month, so the advertising is there ahead of time, and the draw is huge.  I wonder if something like that could be a good supplement to festivals during the slower time of year.  Love then ending, btw. Hopefully, our votes this November might throw a kink in that plan.

  2. Sorry you can't go to school but something will take it's place.
    I love antique festivals......I really like all kinds.  Happy you got away to enjoy.

  3. Lisa, I missed the memo, could you tell me what dish exactly do you specialize in?  I think I read once that you had a bakery before.  Do you have a delicious treat that you sell and ship out?

    When I casually looked into booths and such for my Longaberger baskets, the prices were astronomical, mix that in with the dos and don’ts from Longaberger and I would have been one broke pup.

  4. Your weekend sounded nice.  I think your idea of having your business be year round is great.  I know you'll do well.  Good luck with the next one!

  5. I can relate to the middle-class hole you have found yourself in. You make enough to struggle along but too much to qualify for anything. I paid for college out of pocket. No easy task. I had to forgo a lot of things in order to do it. Are we what they call the working class poor? I guess I shouldn't complain. At least I have health insurance. Maybe as your business grows you'll have the money to do the school. But, of course, then you'll probably be too busy. :-) ---Robbie

  6. Oh, it sounds like you actually get to go to such fun things!  I realize it's work, and you described one as a "disaster," but at least you get to go to new places!

    I am sorry that you have to postpone your plans for going to that school, though. :-(

  7. I admire your courage in working for youself.