Happy Birthday, Mom!

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market.

I hope everyone is having a good week!  We are having a good start to our week!  Yesterday was truck day for us.  Our Monday truck has been showing up on Monday, but our Thursday truck continues to be running a day behind, so I assume it will be here Friday.  We are still only receiving about thirty percent of what we are ordering as far as dry goods.  Thankfully, our perishable departments are pretty much getting everything they order.  We did get an extra treat yesterday.  Our specialty foods truck finally showed up!  Apparently, it has been roaming the earth for the last few weeks?  This was from an order that we made a month ago.  Usually it comes in five days, which, I guess, makes it twenty-five days late.  We were supposed to get seven pallets of merchandise, we received three.

We used to call our specialty foods truck our oddball truck.  Several years ago, we started getting requests for lots of organic and gluten-free products.  This was long before they became mainstream items in the grocery industry, or at least in Rocky Hill.  We didn’t know much about those food categories, so we set out to find a distributor to procure them.  We started calling around to distributors, and they would ask us what we were looking for.  The only way we knew how to describe it was “you know, all that oddball stuff that people want”.  As you might imagine, that didn’t get us very far.  I finally ran across someone that had worked in the oddball food industry, so he became our interpreter when we were pursuing a supplier.  With his help, we found a supplier and slowly began to order a few oddball items from them.  Jumping ahead several years, we now sell over a thousand different items from them and have become the biggest independent grocery store account in their portfolio.  So, thanks for the suggestion!  There is still a big learning curve for us on trying to figure out all the things we need in these categories, but we are making good progress.  For example, we don’t call it the oddball truck anymore.

While most of the items we get from them have to do with dietary restrictions or healthier lifestyles, we also get a lot gourmet foods from them.  These would include pastas, rice, marinades, sauces, dressings, and various beverages, just to name a few.  The two most important items we received yesterday were Allegro Meat Marinades and Tate’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I say this for selfish reasons.  The Allegro plays a big part in my beef jerky recipe, and the cookies are my wife’s favorite.  We have done without both at the house for the last month, which may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is at our house.  I will tell you I pulled rank on you and got our supply for the house before we put them out on the shelf for you…perks of being a grocery man!

Moving forward, I want to remind you that we have extended our store hours to 9am to 7 pm on a daily basis.  We will continue to close every Wednesday and Sunday.  Our next move will probably be to open on Sundays.  I want to get a better feel for our supply chain and staff availability before I decide to this, so we will stick to five days for now.

I know I say this every time, but I could not be prouder of a group of people than I am of my staff!  They have done a great job throughout all of this!  We are probably in the most high-risk industry there is, but they keep coming to work with a great attitude, ready to serve you.  They are keeping the store safe for all of us and working as hard as they can to keep the shelves full for you.

I haven’t researched all of this government stimulus real closely, but from what I have heard, most people can just stay at home and come out better financially and, in the case of our business, not be exposed to thousands of people a week.  Obviously, based on that, they don’t have to be here.  They want to be here.  I think it is safe to say, they don’t keep showing up because of me.  They keep showing up because of you and this community!  That says a lot about them, you, and this community!

For the most part, our customers have been super supportive of all of the staff and what they have done to keep us in a safe environment to work and shop in throughout this mess.  We have had a few that have taken out their quarantine frustrations on other customers and more discouraging, towards our staff, especially our younger staff members.

To be perfectly honest, this really pisses me off!  I am super protective of my staff (family) here, so it flies all over me when this happens.  I am the only one here that gets paid to be chewed out.  It is above everyone else’s pay scale.  The staff is here to serve you.  I am here for all other input, so if you feel like chewing someone out, please come and find me or do what I do, mow the yard or go fishing until your frustrations subside.  I will tell you I have done a lot of mowing and fishing the last month.  It seems to help.  They say the pen is mightier than the sword.  Well, some days, I wish I had a sword.  I guess that’s why they only let me have pens around here?

The other reason I try not to stay angry is that it upsets my mother, and then she starts worrying about me.  I know she looks for anything to pass her time while she is stuck at home, so I certainly don’t want to add worry to the list of things to pass her time.  A big reason I write these blogs is to give her something to read to help her with boredom.  I don’t know if they entertain her or put her to sleep, but they occupy her for a few minutes either way.  Another reason I don’t want to worry her is because it is her birthday tomorrow.

She will be a big eighty-five years old.  We will not be able to celebrate with her due to me being around so many people, but I had an epiphany of how to celebrate while writing this.  She will probably kill me for doing this, but you only turn eighty-five once.  It’s not like thirty-nine.

I was thinking we could all write her a birthday note.  Even if you just write “Happy Birthday, Barbara!  Your son is crazy”, it’s the thought that counts.  Her name is Barbara Butler and her email address is:

bbutler551@comcast.net.  If she gets a lot of notes, this would sure help with her boredom, especially on her birthday!  I also thought if you took the time to do it, it could help you pass some time also.  So, everybody wins!

I know most of you do not know my mom, a lot of you don’t know me, and have never been in the store either, but that doesn’t keep us from all being a part of this community.  What makes this such a great community is people taking the time to support each other, friends & strangers alike.  I have certainly benefited from this!  Whether my mom likes it or not, she has become a part of the “Grocery Life” in the last month.  I hope she is enjoying it.  That has certainly been my intention in including her.  The “Grocery Life” has sure been good to me over all these years!

I hope you will join me in celebrating my mom’s birthday!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

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