Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Marketing Genius

The popular local grocery supermarket in my city is a family owned enterprise. It has expanded out of our local area to PA, VA, NJ, MA and is always in the top 100 businesses in an annual account of thriving area business. It also usually ranks, by their employees, as the #1  "best places to work". I have blogged about this business in an earlier post.

That's just a little background so I can tell you this story.

All of the stores in this chain have a dining area. People can buy a meal and then go to the dining room and eat right in the store. There are microwaves in the dining rooms although you can also buy a meal from a steam table which is just the right temperature to eat on the spot. All of the dining areas that I have been in, though they're all differently decorated, are extremely pleasant places to take a meal ( some with upholstered couches and chairs, big flat screen TV's, blown up vintage photos of a local nature) and sure beats messing up your own kitchen to prepare, then clean-up after a meal.

This past Summer, on Friday evenings, the ultra keen marketing gurus have hired local big bands (of the Benny Goodman type) to play dance music from the 40's and 50's (Swing) at supper-time. The band strikes up about 5:30 PM and plays until 8:30 PM. The diners/dancers are almost 100% seniors/retirees. They get something to eat for dinner, bring it to the dining area, have dinner with friends, then dance the night away. And for most seniors, 8:30 PM is time to call it a night.

A little "aside" - this is just about the time that the younger generation is getting ready to go out on the town.

How clever of the marketing department to think of such a delightful way to get shoppers into the store on Friday nights.

Sometimes I stop in the store after work on a Friday. I get out of work at 5 PM. When I walk in the store that is near where I work, I actually enter the store through the dining room and it's already packed with seniors. The tables are filled. It looks strangely like "dinner theater".

I never have my camera with me because I don't expect to have any reason to use it. I then have to resort to taking pictures with my phone. I just can't resist this opportunity. I apologize that they are not the best quality.

The last Friday night, a few weeks ago, that I observed this event - and I think I might call this the "piece d' resistance" - a store employee/chef (dressed in proper chef attire) wheeled a tea cart into the dining area about midway of the 3 hour event - loaded with sweets - and SOLD them - at less than the rate that the diners would have had to pay for them at the cash register !!!

This scene and the others I have witnessed at different times and even different locations of the grocery chain always remind me of the local dances I used to attend as a teenager. Girls all dressed up, worrying about how they look, running to the ladies room every few minutes to apply another spritz of perfume, freshen their lipstick and blusher, fluffing up their hair, guys gussied and smelling of aftershave, all having that certain "far away" look in their eyes............     It's the same scenario but one is populated by teens and the other by retirees and the only real difference (besides hair color)  is time.

As far as I know this program is just a Summertime event. It will be interesting to see what surprises they have for us to wile away the dreary Winter months.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Holiday House Tour

On Saturday last, myself and my two "house tour" buddies went to The Federated Garden Clubs of New York State Candlelight Holiday Tour. There were six houses on the tour and each was decorated in holiday finery by the Garden Clubs which means that the outside of the houses as well as inside were bedecked by flowers, greenery, berries, seed pods, pine cones, ribbons, etc. It was glorious to behold.

You could visit the homes in whatever order you chose. The first house we visited was the Stone-Tolan House, built in 1792, the oldest house in our county. The docents in each house were encyclopedias of the history of each home. When Mr. Stone and his pioneer family lived in this Federal-style structure, it was part of a 300 acre farm. The house is such a classic style that it looks like it could have been built last year.

anonymous tour goers waiting in line to see the home

Evidence that the Garden Club was here
no electric blankets - you put live coals in this tin box-then pop in under the covers
no Wegman's either - you preserved meat in a smoke house like this one
tester bed - handmade coverlet
Heart of the home - soups - stews - pies - biscuits cooked here
this is what the modern bathroom looked like in the 18th century


Because this home is now a museum, pictures were permitted to be taken in it. Not so with the other homes on the tour. Suffice it to say, this was the house I enjoyed visiting the most. There was another, an 1840 house, that was a close second. But people lived in it. It was scrumptiously fitted with antiques of the period plus filled with Christmas. I did take a couple pics of the garden there. Here's one:

My friends and I always enjoy a leisurely lunch when we do a "girlz day" like this. All in all, a totally delightful outing.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Primitive Kitchen Cupboard

One of my favorite haunts is Country Craft Sales. Usually these are "Girls Day Out" events and sometimes involve a long motor trip. This particular Show took place in a town about twenty five miles from where I live.

When I saw this primitive wooden shelf unit, I fell in love immediately. I could just "picture" it hanging in my kitchen. My kitchen is small-ish and has only three walls. Two of which are home to countertop, closed door cupboards and stove. Wall #3 houses the fridge and an whole empty expanse (this is the space I want to "gussie" up). On the forth side is total openness into the family room - creating a greatroom space.

I would gaze and gaze at this open available space and try to imagine what to do with it. I did have a large watercolor hanging in it at one time but that picture looked lost in the midst of all that space.

At this Craft Show, I saw the perfect solution to my dilemma. The primitive shelf unit !!  I could fill it with primitive collectibles.

I purchased it from a carpenter who had his huge truck parked behind his showroom booth. His truck was outfitted like a carpenter's work shop. Lathes, saws, sanders, etc. The smell of freshly hewn trees, intoxicating to me. He put the finishing touches on my unit and loaded it in the back of my car. It measures 33" high and 44" in width. Perfect for that wall.

note the roller skates belonging to my boys on top shelf-their marbles on 3rd shelf

Now the next hurdle is to convince my husband to hang it up. He's not too keen on making holes in the walls. Plus, after having been married to him for a very long time, I knew better than to harass and nag him to get it done. That would have just cemented his resolve to never suspend that thing in his kitchen. So, I waited..........................

And then one day..............................done ♥♥♥

note sewing items-threads-needles-buttons
I love it. It makes my kitchen feel cozy and warm like kitchens of yore. It's not at all sleek and clean, spare and functional. It's full of memories, warmth, hominess and nostalgia.