On July 30th I celebrate the “birth” of this special little coffee shop that I affectionately nicknamed “Perky”. She was a dream of mine that became a reality that day and she is still going strong. She was 433 square feet of sweat equity…but in return she gave a lot of love.
One night while taking a walk, I decided to pick up a real estate guide with the notion of buying a home. What I found instead was a tiny coffee shop for sale. I remember gazing through the plate glass window imagining myself owning it and thinking about all of the great things that I would do if it were mine. My patience and willingness to wait finally paid off and after several months of negotiations, I received an e-mail from one of the owners saying they were willing to accept my offer. That was on Mother’s Day that year and what a gift it was! I had always dreamed of owning a little boutique type small business…a special place where people would enjoy coming to and spending time. I told myself before I even opened my doors that regardless of how things turned out, I was a success. I was a success because I had the courage to step out on my own and give it a try.
My son had prior coffee shop experience and he was willing to work alongside me and train me for a couple of weeks before heading off to law school. That is the only “formal” barista training that I ever received. It wasn’t long before business was booming and it was all that I could do working alone to keep up. It seemed like all of the good employees that I found were already working other jobs so they had limited time available to devote to the shop. After two years of 12-14 hour days and wearing all hats from chief cook to bottle washer, I cried “uncle” and decided to sell.
Early in the mornings as the sun came up over the ocean, I used to sit at the counter having my coffee and talking to God about things. One March morning (the 17th to be exact), I said a prayer asking Him to send me a buyer for “Perky”. I knew that it would be tough and would probably take a long time because the economy had tanked, people had ceased spending money and the banks had stopped lending. God answered my prayer two weeks later by sending me a lovely cupcake lady who also had a dream of having a store front for her home-based business. The timing was right, she had cash in hand and it was a turn key match made in heaven. “Perky” was in and out of my life in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
Other than being a mom to two great kids, owning this little business has been one of my greatest achievements. Below is a list of things that I wrote about the shop a couple of days after we finalized the sale. It reveals a little bit more about her personality, what made her so special and about those wonderful people who crossed her threshold practically every day.
- Perky was a place, an emotion, an experience.
- Perky was a respite for many who needed a soft place to land.
- Perky was fun.
- Perky was homey and full of love and laughter.
- Perky served chicken salad for the soul, great quiche and muffins too!
- Perky was a place where friends gathered, old and new.
- Perky was a place where I could be my genuine, authentic self and people responded favorably to that.
- Perky had the strength to weather the economic storms.
- Perky took everything that I had, but gave back twice as much in the way of memories, laughter and friendships.
- Perky had great music.
- Perky had great ambiance.
- Perky played host to a few “celebrities” too…Shania Twain’s manager and Britney Spears former manager as well as a state senator’s son (John McCain), the movers and the shakers, the deal makers, the ordinary people and the homeless people.
- Perky was a labor of love.
- Perky was a ministry of sorts.
“Perky” is 10 years old!! Happy Birthday to you!!