When you own a café & bakery, December is go time. As the weather starts to cool, and the holidays approach, business is already starting to pick up. Add on to that projects that need to be finished, training to be completed, hiring seasonal workers, finding new recipes, and…..it‘s time for a vacation.
Here at Caleri’s though, it’s still a joyful time. The comfortable smells of hot apple cider, and cinnamon sugared pecans welcome in visitors . Our fresh roasted coffee program is expanding, as well as our espresso menu. And we have our Shop Local campaign to look forward to. This year marks the first year that several businesses on main street are making a concerted effort to advertise what makes small businesses in rural towns special.
When the days do get crazy it helps to remember why we do what we do, and the positive aspects of running a small business. The freedom to try a new idea or concept without all the red tape. The chance to make a difference in, and be apart of, a community. The opportunity to play an important role in the young lives of the workforce. The liberty to have a place of employment that is also a passion. The capability to involve family in the whole process. Many times the highlight of the day is seeing children walk in the front door, and hearing little feet run towards the kitchen. Part of what gives us drive is providing for our young family, and hopefully leaving a legacy for them to continue.
Small business runs in our family. In 1995 my father threw caution to the wind and started his own landscaping business. The previous two years were spent at home while my mother, a nurse practitioner who earned a stronger income, worked. After saving up enough money, a landscape company was born that continues to thrive to this day.
Many times when business is slow, or some hardship is faced, I think back to those years when the landscape business was in it’s infancy. I believe those days uniquely helped prepare me for running my own small business. Teaching us the values of hard work, frugality, and thoughtful decision making has stuck with me over the last 30 years. I hope to pass these values on to my two sons, and daughter albeit in a slightly different setting.
The bakery kitchen is a favorite for all of our children. With an seemingly endless supply of cookies, frosting, cake, and other baked goods it’s easy to see why. Our three year old has already started learning proper hand washing techniques, how to scoop cookies, and make cinnamon roll dough. Sending him up to “help” is a welcome relief to his mother, and yields some quality time together at a time when a traditional occupation wouldn’t allow it.
Owning a small business is full of risks and rewards. With the right amount of drive and dedication the risks are worth it, and we will reap the rewards for years to come. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on dollars as a symbol of success, but in our business the reward is a lasting legacy.