Sunday, February 22, 2009

Holding pattern

Last week just a bust on the cheese shop front. After applying for licenses and permits galore, I learned that, in a nutshell, I can't get a liquor license that will give me the freedom I want in the shop. I appears that in order to have public tastings, I would either need a liquor license that dictates more than 50% sales from alcohol, or I sell unopened bottles and have no ability to give people tastings. There is one other option I'm going to discuss with my lawyer tomorrow morning that will hopefully resolve this issue, but if it doesn't work then I'm back to spreadsheets and business plan drama, editing everything I've worked so hard on to create a different type of store. But I'm not going to count on anything yet.

This weekend we got away for a bit and shot down to Newport, OR for the Annual Newport Seafood and Wine Festival. We ate the best Penn Cove mussels I've ever had, downed many a Rogue ale, trooped through two tent's worth of drunken, post Mardi-Gras idiots to taste dozens of wine, and then stuffed ourselves silly with more yummy things from shells out of the ocean. I now have a very good selection of Oregon wines to add to the inventory list. Among the shining stars of the afternoon were a Willamette Valley Syrah and a Columbia Valley Merlot, both of which are absolutely toe-curlingly fantastic.

Then I took advantage of the drive home to shove my nose back into my library of cheese porn; books full of the most luxurious photos and descriptions of cheeses the world over. That, a relaxing Sunday evening back with the furry children, an ice cold Brutal Bitter from the Rogue warehouse sale, and a hunk of Seastack I'd forgotten about, and call me good.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A few more steps towards Cheese Vixendom...

A LOT has been happening lately, hence the lack of posts because I've been out of my mind busy. Last week I checked out a potential space just 4 short blocks from my house - take that 20 mile commute! It was a teeny raw space on the ground floor of a new condo development. Yes, I know they are still popping up everywhere but dammit, if the location is this perfect who am I to judge? Turns out 573 sq. ft. feels like a lot less than you'd think, and the real estate agent and I hopped over to the space next door, a comfortable and spacious 900+ sq. ft. and still *just* in my budget.

Since then it's been conversations with just about everyone I know who's ever said the words "real estate", and scrambling to get the damned business plan finished so I can move on this baby. Maybe it's the 7 years of New York in me, maybe it's just dumb luck, but after only 3 years here in Seattle I'm amazed at how well networked I am to call in favors to help me along just about every step of this process. Derek Hermsen is the husband of a super awesome volunteer/intern at the shelter last year, and he is worth his weight in gold. Not only is he just plain nice and easy to talk to, but he knows his shit up, down, inside and out. He works as a tenant advocate so he's now going to work for me to negotiate terms for the lease on this fantabulous space.

In the meantime I'm making mock concept sketches for the landlord, getting the rest of my business plan strings tied up, and just today I got my LLC paperwork in the mail and my EIN, which was like magic, it was kind of scary how fast and easy it was. Tomorrow I open my business account, turn in my loan application, and hold my breath for 7-10 days. Luckily I have a whole lot of wine tasting to keep me busy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Short and sweet

I haven't gotten nearly enough sleep lately, have been absolutely consumed with some other projects at the 'ole day job, and the pinched nerve or whatever it is in my left shoulder is surely going to take up the entire hour of my massage therapy this week, but it's all worth it because this Friday I am doing a walkthrough of the retail space I've been salivating over a mere 4 blocks from my abode. From there I'll be finally submitting my loan application and the real fun begins.