Yes! We're open! Finally!
You might have noticed in recent years that we've been opening for the season a little later than usual. You might also have noticed that this year we've reduced our hours. There's a good reason for it.
We're old now.
Wait, what? We're old? No. When the heck did that happen? Okay, okay, we're not old-old. We're not ancient. But we're certainly not the same young family that purchased the Craftsman 32 years ago. Our daughter grew up. Jim got glasses. Our hair turned grey. Technology got confusing. We're grandparents now. We don't have the same energy we did back in the day. And you know what? That's totally okay. We're embracing this aging thing.
Every year for the past few years we've said, "oh, this is probably our last year open. It's just about time to retire." The winds of change have been whispering to us for some time, but now they've gotten loud enough that we can't ignore them any longer. We're retiring. It's true. But like so many things in life it's a process. Because the Craftsman hasn't just been our job, or just been our business. No, no, it's been so much more: it's also been our home. Our staff and regular customers feel like family. We've lived here on the property for over three decades. We have roots here that run deep. While we've been eyeing retirement for some time now, it hasn't felt right to just up and leave. We LOVE the Craftsman, and moving on is hard!
But while we love The Craftsman and the community it has become, each year we find ourselves a bit less interested in branding, marketing, and forecasting, and a bit more interested in gardening, reading, environmentalism, and walking our dogs. We've been gradually transforming into advocates, turtle rescuers, heritage seed savers, putterers, old fogeys. Yes! There are perks to aging that often get overlooked.
So what does it all mean? What now? The short answer: we're not really sure. The longer answer: we're waiting for a sign.
We're putting it out into the universe that we're ready to pass the Craftsman torch to someone else. We don't know exactly what that looks like. A few people have asked if our daughter and son-in-law are going to take over, but they already have a successful business of their own. Maybe someone will want to buy the Craftsman and the property to do what we did: run a family business with some rental income on the side, and enjoy the barn and acreage out back. We've often thought that a multi-generational family would love this property because of all the options for extended family to live on site. Or perhaps, while we figure out our next move, someone will rent just the building and run their own restaurant or business, while we continue to live in the house. Maybe someone will want to take over the Craftsman and continue its legacy. Maybe we'll stick around and do pop-ups, or transform the restaurant into a little retirement business. We're really not sure. The only thing we are sure of, is that the winds of change are upon us, and we are happily transitioning, albeit gradually, into retirement.
We're not doing a ton of advertising this year. Our focus isn't on growing, or increasing sales or volume. Partly because, yup, we're older, and we can't work the long hours we used to, but also because we want to take this opportunity to revel in the community that has become the Craftsman over the last 32 years. We told many of you last year that 2017 would be our final summer, but we realised over the winter, that we hadn't had a chance to tell everyone, and we hadn't had a chance to say goodbye properly. So here we are, open this season, one last time (we mean it this time, really!).
We want to chat with long-time guests, and hear about what they're up to, what their kids are doing, what their plans are. We want to sit, and have a coffee and butter tart with you. We want to enjoy our staff for one more season. We want to take some photos. Eat some pie. Make some hungry people smile, with real food, cooked from scratch. We want to work in the gardens, and trade tips with our neighbours. We want to enjoy the summer at the Craftsman one last time, and we trust that whatever the winds of change bring, will be the right thing.
On a side note: When we say we're old now, we're partly talking about our type of business. Old-school Mom and Pop shops are becoming dinosaurs. There are very few of us left. We've either aged and retired, or been replaced by more modern models. There's lots to be said for progress, but small independent businesses have an authenticity, and real-ness that's hard to duplicate in a franchise or corporate model. We can't compete with the efficiencies of franchise-run chain-restaurants. Not that we actually want to; we've long considered ourselves proponents of the 'slow food' movement (you can read all about our values and food philosophy on our website).
But back in 1986, when we first took over the Craftsman, there were lots of 'Mom and Pop' shops: small, family-run businesses, with an emphasis on community and authenticity. We're not going to go on a diatribe about the evils of mass-corporations here, but we will ask you this: support the little guys. Go to the small businesses, and discover their uniqueness. Even when our own business is gone, please remember to take a break from the ultra-consistent-franchise-model, and stop by a small business. Because they're awesome, and if you don't, they're going to eventually disappear. We're happy to say we've seen a resurgence in new small businesses over the last few years, as millennials enter the business world, and re-invent the Canadian economy. We're cheering them on, and supporting their businesses. We hope you will, too. Remember, we vote with our dollars everyday: so shop local and support small business.
In the meantime, summer is here, and we are ready for the season! If you have a chance, come by and see us. Enjoy a meal. Tell us what's up. Connect with us here, while we're still here. We can't wait to see you!