I sure do appreciate the adventures of a good road trip and working with mindful people. It was great to engage with the public again too. But first let me mention very good people who went out of their way to make the trip successful. First, I am grateful for the demands met by my staff. By staff I mean my production assistant Janee. We worked into the night and next day, and I am grateful she is with me on this journey. We continue to navigate the most efficient way to make our products. Funny history about us is that we were in the same place in the late 90’s—Sullivan High School. She attended as a student and I was there as a teacher. I appreciate her meticulous nature and taste buds. Our production facility is a shared kitchen operated by Majani Restaurant. I am grateful to use their space and it comes with the added benefit of over 50 years of vegan experiencing.
I am also grateful my daughter, a food and beverage manager at a Florida resort, was able to give her Dad an assist. This was the first time she saw the operation up close. I mean very close as you can see. We packed up most of the goods in my suitcases for the first trip in DMV. But I had to ship some to the hotel. Somehow I forgot to tell them and the large box arrived as a bit of a surprise. Mike’s Vegan Fudge was kept cool in the refrigerator however and it was just fine. Keeping our product in hotel freezers and refrigerators was very critical for vending on the road. Each hotel was rewarded with some great fudge for going above and beyond.
Making products is one thing, but I am very thrilled to have excellent people join me in the booth to promote and sell Mike’s Vegan Fudge. Life is indeed like a box of chocolates, and I did not know what I was getting when two people signed up to help in two different cities. Amaris and Andrew both knocked it out of the park. They picked up the product and ran with it; it was a perfect match, a pleasure, and a real sense of achievement to listen to them talk about a product I created. A product I call the “greatest accident that happened in my kitchen.”
Amaris had not had fudge in several years and enjoyed the product when she was in Chicago. Her pitch was awesome, I literally stood back and listened. Her insight in our business meeting afterward helped prepare for the next weekend in Dallas. I added a variety and combo packs the following week and that kept our product moving.
Andrew was a shot in the dark. We had no prior history, but he came highly recommended by Cherie of Mashup Market, who I never met but had meaningful entrepreneurial telephone exchanges. Andrew was a quick study like Amaris and blew me away with his service, people skills, and kitchen background. I was on fumes at one point and he more than picked up the slack while I walked away from the booth for a break.
The pictures in Dallas were taken by another person I knew from online; Cicely and I met for the first time in the middle of a rush. After a hug and greet, she dashed out and got us bags while Andrew and I powered through the line.
I just smiled at how blessed this two week adventure was. The DMV Chocolate and Coffee festival crew were first class all the way. My Vegandale rep Linda is also exceptional in her assistance and attention to detail. Majani Commissary, the great hotel staffs at Hilton in Chantilly VA and Addison TX, I am super grateful to witness customer service in person for well. It was a giant leap of faith to take on these road trips, but I can tell you, I am glad I did not play small. These were giant steps for Mike’s Vegan Fudge.
Enjoy post-pandemic interactions as we re-emerge from a global pandemic. The world is what we make of it, and each of us can make it a better place one choice at a time. Cheers and be well.
Enjoy the journey!