Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quantum leap

A lot happened in the last 24 hours. They built 6 handcarts at Kin Products! Barry went over to see them this morning and couldn't believe how wonderful they were...1st class all the way and exactly to the specs to fit the trailer. 
Barry and I went to Traders' World today for a preview. We only saw one produce vendor. We spent lots of time watching the steady traffic to his tables. We made notes of prices and products, and talked to several other vendors to get the feel for the procedures. On the way home, we stopped at Sam's and bought 4 table umbrellas and some safety floor mats. When we got home, Jeff came by with the money from the Findlay vendors, and we spent another hour "gushing" about the handcarts, the umbrellas, and the possibilities for the future. If Jack is able to get the trailer rigged up, Barry and Jeff are going to try to open up at the flea market in a week or two. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Moving Forward

Jeff got the trailer and dropped it off at Kin Products. Barry and Henry completed final measurements and engineering designs for the handcarts. They've decided to build 6 handcarts initially that can be rolled in and out of the trailer. Chris Kin suggested they custom design the ramps because of the long incline that will be required to roll the carts into the trailer.
Barry spent a big part of the day reading State of Ohio government regulations to confirm what's needed to formalize the business. He's also ready to open the checking account and set up insurance. Good news was that no workers' comp is needed for Barry or Jeff.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shopping List

Jeff bought the trailer and is making arrangements to pick it up. We got together last night and came up with a list of stuff we need to buy right now in order to get started...t-shirts, cashbox, scale, plastic and paper bags, sticks for price tags, markers, counterfeit-checking pens (amazingly cheap), and hand sanitizer. The plan is to open for a few weekends at the local flea market as a trial run. That way we can get the set-up process down and fine-tune the pricing. Barry and I are going to check out the flea market this weekend to scope out location and to see the produce competition. We want to see how many items they offer and how things are priced.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Barry got the estimate back from Henry on the cost to make the carts. It's "doable" so now we need to figure out how many carts we need. Jeff has his eye on a trailer. Once that's firm, they can decide just how many carts will fit in the trailer and get started on making them. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's Official!

Bought the domain name today. I'll start working on the website immediately and will plan to tie this blog into it. I need to get the book "Groundswell"...It must be a great social media reference book. The secret seems to be to tie everything together...print media, blog, website, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. I'm pretty excited about Twitter possibilities. With produce, everything has to be fresh so Twitter offers the chance for quick, daily updates about what products we have that have just arrived that day...Also would be easy to offer discounts and freebies based on supply and demand.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rain, rain go away

Orders down today for Findlay Market...all day rain on a Saturday doesn't do much for business. When you stop and think about it, the produce business is totally weather-dependent. I guess in that respect, it's a lot like the homebuilding business.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Big Order Today

Two loads going to Findlay Market this morning. The vendors who went for the lower price last week decided to come back to us this week. Quality and delivery make the difference. Everything I read continues to reinforce that idea: The things that separate successful businesses from the rest of the pack are quality, service, and value.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Setting Up

Barry has spent the last few days working on the design of the produce stand we will call "Daisy Mae's Market." It has to be easy to transport and easy to set up...something one man can do alone. He's played with the idea of a rolling cart and has a couple ideas on the drawing board. He met with our engineering friend Henry at Kin Products today to go over a few design issues.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Field Trip

I made a visit to Findlay Market today. With the nice weather and Mother's Day tomorrow, I wasn't the only one who decided to go. Cars and people everywhere...Lots of folks were buying annuals and potted plants, but the vegetable stands were really busy as well. I was checking out things like signage and price tags, displays, arrangement of items, banners, etc. Took a few pictures so I'd have something to jog my memory later. Found out they sell the reusable grocery bags for $4.99 each. Quite a few folks did bring along their own bags---the "green" movement is alive and well. Lots of people were having sandwiches at the tables along the sidewalk. An outside grill had $1 hot dogs and drinks among other things. Several musicians played throughout the market and that gave it a real festive feel. The beer garden was open and most of those tables were taken, too. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Market and the Meeting

We didn't have many orders for this morning at Findlay Market. It seems a glut of tomatoes had come on the market. Someone beat our price by a couple dollars per case. Jeff did the delivery of those orders we did have and spent a lot of time talking to the vendors to try to get the scoop. 
Meanwhile this afternoon, Barry had his first meeting with the Economic Development Director in the community we're targeting for our own market. He felt like it went really well, and the guy is taking our ideas to City Council and the City Manager. We should hear back sometime next week. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Findlay Market is booming!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Vendor's License

We found out we would get a vendor's license from the Hamilton County Auditor's office...$25. If we decide we need a transient vendor's license that comes directly from the Ohio Department of Taxation...$25 as well. I suppose this gets us into "the system" as a legitimate business. 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Yes, We Have No Bananas

Another early morning---5:00 am and off to Findlay Market again. Barry found out he had picked up the wrong kind of bananas for one of the vendors. This added some time to his trip because he had to return them to Jeff. Who would have thought there were so many different kinds of bananas? 

Friday, May 1, 2009

It Pays to Get an Early Start

Barry and Jeff were at Findlay Market this morning before the sun rose. They delivered 130 cases of assorted vegetables to their regular vendors. They think the vendors are starting to gain confidence in their reliability and in the quality of the products. In fact, they've got more orders for Saturday and Sunday. This whole delivery-wholesale aspect is a gigantic research project...What sells? What are the different names and grades of the products? How should the items be displayed? What do you need to transport the products and have them arrive in perfect shape? In addition, it's a chance to build relationships with the Findlay Market vendors who have a wealth of experience to share.