On a snowy day in 1986 we purchased the Craftsman. It was the second restaurant we'd purchased, the first (The Hobbit House in Schomberg) having been successfully rebranded and sold. To be completely honest, as we moved into our new home and set up shop, we only expected to be at the Craftsman for maybe 5 years, and then we’d move on. But something else entirely happened. We fell in love with the hamlet of Paudash, and with running the Craftsman. We stayed.
Now, 32 years later, it’s again a snowy day, and as we gear up for our last week, our hearts and minds are a flurry with memories. The past three decades have been immeasurably special. What started as a businesses, quickly turned into a community hub.
Jim, the heart of the kitchen, has spent hundreds of mornings chatting with guests, often the same guests, day after day, and week after week... Long before the internet and facebook were even invented, the Craftsman was the place where people in the community would come to visit, connect, share, and laugh. The food has always been great, of course, but it was just one part of the larger recipe. The other ingredients have always been friendliness, inclusion, a great staff that are more like family than employees, and a focus on being real. We know, from all the messages, cards, gifts, comments, and hugs throughout the years that we’re appreciated. But as much as you appreciate us, we appreciate you, even more. Thank you for bringing us your business over the last 32 years. Even more, thank you for your friendship, and for contributing to our small town community.
Now that we’re upon our last week, we’re full of nostalgia. We’re reflecting on the way things were. The regulars we loved, who have passed away or moved elsewhere. The families that have come in year after year, their children growing into adults and coming for dinner with their own kids. Our amazing crew, over the years, that we will always love: Janice, Verna, Janet, Candace, Connie, Sam, Sherry, Kelly, Ruth, Sue, Nina, Michelle, Sean, Leeanne, Amanda, Jean, Marilyn, Kim, Renate, Marcus, Dan, Justine, Kendall, Heather, Stephanie, Becky, Harrison, Laura, Thomas, Shirley, Dawn, Tomoko, Kathy, Nancy, Ray, Ang, Kirk, Gavin, Morgan, Debbie, Kevin, Jennifer, Arran, Danielle, Jamie, Nicky…okay, there are too many to list everyone…but in a nutshell, we’ve been incredibly lucky to have had such an amazing team over the years. Our hearts are full.
Today Ramona is drafting up a staff schedule for the last time. On Sunday, Jim, the heart of the kitchen, will hang up his apron. It seems unreal.
What comes next?
We still don’t know exactly. If you haven’t read our earlier blog post, Winds of Change, you can check it out here. It explains how we’re open to the next chapter even though we don’t know the title. Maybe someone new will take over the restaurant. Maybe that someone is reading this right now. The future is a gift waiting to be opened. But for right now, we’re getting ready for our last week.
We’re opening Thursday morning at 8am, and we’ll be open each day thereafter until 8pm, until this Sunday (Nov. 18) when we close at 3pm. Please drop by and share a memory or two. We’d love to see you at the Craftsman one last time.
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