What’s Up in the Store?

The sitting area by the wood-stove and windows. Store dog ready to assist.

We are new to the retail business, and we’re finding out how to create a satisfying store.  We weren’t sure what to expect after the Christmas-New Years season, since this is our first year.  Sure enough, the darkest post-holiday days of early January were pretty quiet, which was a good thing, so we could regroup.

Lately, though, we have a steadily growing stream of customers coming through the doors.  We’re finding out who our neighbors are, building our following of local friends, who keep coming back for their syrup and treats, and discovering visitors to the area as they discover us.

What fun it is to share the beautiful barn with everyone who drops in!  First-time visitors are awed by this space (shout-out to Scott Henry and his crew!)  It is a wonderful place to spend some time by the wood stove, sipping a cup of Mocha Joe’s, meeting some of our crew, watching birds in the wetland out back.  Neighbors from the Putney area run into old friends here and meet new ones.

Our tasting table is a hit– a place where customers can try the different grades to see what they like before buying.  Many who come in are confirmed fans of one grade or another– “I’m a B man all the way,” one guy said today.

Grades Fancy, Medium Amber, Dark Amber, and B- what do you like?

Between the jerky and the chocolate--Maple books.

“My mom uses B for cooking and we put Fancy on our pancakes,” another customer said.  When customers who are new to maple syrup ask for advice, we can always guide them to the tasting table because everyone is their own expert on what they like best.  And it’s REALLY fun to hear the conversations when people start discussing what they taste with each other.

Between the jerky and the chocolate--Maple books.
We’ve added maple fudge and a small section of maple cookbooks and reference books recently.  Maple cookies won’t stay on the shelves– they’re just too tasty– and we’re always looking for new sources because apparently everyone else is buying them up, too, and the makers can’t keep up.  Bee balm, hot sauce, and honey are selling well.

Sugar season is just beginning.  Two weeks ago the sugarmakers were in collecting their barrels.  Now they’re out in the woods drilling holes.  We expect that in another two weeks, we’ll see the first of this year’s crop arriving, and we’re looking forward to the tastes of the new season.


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