Thursday, March 26, 2009

It feels like it may be spring...

Hi everyone!

Doesn't it feel good today???  I realize my thermometer only reads 53 outside, but we did wake up to clear skies and a beautiful sunrise...  maybe spring is ready to make an appearance?  I sure hope so - tomorrow IS the beginning of "spring break" and all...

So what is going on with the market?  I have been getting this question a lot lately.  I did finish my business class and now have a business plan.  What I plan on doing in the next month or so is to go to the Small Business Development Center to try and work with them in securing a loan.  We all know how crazy the economy is right now, so getting a loan is going to take some time.  And obviously, having money is crucial to starting the business.

While we are on the economy, I want to be clear to you all, I am going to open the doors to this business at a time when I think it will succeed.  I mean, I'm not doing anyone any favors if I open too soon and have to go out of business because my timing is off.  I would love to open in mid to late September.  This is a change from the early August projection...  September would work better for me because that gives me a chance to get my kids settled into their school routine before the craziness of juggling my family needs with the market.

I have also sent a note to the owners of the old Papa Mia's building on Main Street to find out some more information about the space and costs.  This was very exciting because when I peeked in the window there, I saw how  I visualize the market to be!  Space for people to gather, kids to play, space for the market goods.  There is also a commercial kitchen there so I have asked a good friend if she would be into doing some prepared food (salads, sandwiches). This is all so so exciting...  Hopefully the people who own the building will understand the goodness I am trying to bring to our community and support me with a reasonable lease!

Please continue to keep up with the blog, and pass the blog address around!  We are also on Facebook @ The Friends of Sky Valley Natural Market.  I noticed as well, for those of you interested in making comments to my post, you can comment as "anonymous" and it's real easy - please, your comments are ENCOURAGED and WELCOME!

Happy sunny day to you all!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The 2009 Natural Product Expo was AMAZING!

Hello Friends!

Oh my goodness...  I am writing fresh from the greatest experience thus far in the Sky Valley Natural Market journey!  I spent all day Saturday in Anaheim, Ca at the 2009 Natural Product Expo West.  Thanks to my sweet friend Jazz ( ~ check it out if you have a dog) I was able to attend the trade show at no cost to me.  I flew down Friday evening and walked the show with my dear friend Susie and her posse of amazing women ( - my mentor in creating "market magic" :) ).  I learned so much and had a GREAT TIME!'

So the really good news is that there are so many small companies out there with such amazing products, really trying to make a difference in the world.  What was really exciting was that this industry is really big - I mean, the show itself took over the entire Anaheim Convention Center which is no small feat!  I had so many tasty samples and spoke with so many wonderful people, it was really inspirational...  Allergy free foods were very well represented, as well as product made especially for kids.  There is really a wealth of companies out there who are not represented in the larger chain stores here in town - yipee!

One of the insights I had while at the show was that there are some really great products coming out of California, as well as other places across the country.  When I think about keeping things local, I also want to balance that with supporting small companies with yummy food to share.  As I think about my inventory, my goal is to keep produce from Snohomish county, meat from Washington state, bulk/baking goods from the PNW and prepackaged goods from the west coast as much as possible, but stay open to small, American companies that need our support...  Does this sound good to you all?  Its all a learning process for me, but I am LOVING the ride!!!

Another thing that I have been playing around with lately is having a place in the market where I highlight one of the companies whose products I carry.  I want to share with YOU the reasons I do what I do...  Also, in that same area, highlighting a local farm as well.  This is really exciting to me, as part of my vision for the market is to create a place for networking and education.

Okay, time to pick up my boy from school,
Until next post,


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What do I know?

Hi Everyone!

I have begun a list of inventory I plan on purchasing to fill our store...  It is a daunting task...  It assumes that I know what you all want.  I feel as though I have a good idea - you have been great about sending in postcards and filling out the surveys on the blog...  However, it still remains a bit of a guessing game.

For example, many of you have shared that you would like grass-fed, organic beef - there are a million cuts of beef for me to choose from!  Seriously - not a million but MANY!  And what about flour?  Again, there is so much to choose from!  Its all good, I don't mind guessing :)  I just know you will all be patient with me as I navigate my way into this business.  Remember that you all dictate what is offered at the market...  It won't take long before what I offer matches what you need.  Continue the feedback and we will make it work :)

We are blessed with sunshine this afternoon, so I am going out to play...  Thank you all for your continued support!

All love ~ Casey