Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Final Countdown

We had about 2 weeks before we'd be open for business. There was still a huge list of things that needed to be done.  We also needed to throw 3 pizza parties before opening and train 7 new employees at the same time. The first party was for friends and family, to thank them for all their help and to have a chance to start training our new employees. The second 2 were VIP parties for certain people that contributed to our kickstarter campaign. Our friends were helping constantly in those final few weeks. We never would have made it with out each and every one of them.

Do we look like we're close to opening for business?  Our friends must have thought we were crazy.

We were trying to get some homework done at the same time.  Mostly, we had all but given up on doing things like homework.

Getting legs put on the tables that Jason and his dad built.

More pretending to do homework.

In the final weeks, the one employee that we already had, Brandon, got a new job helping us get ready.  We quit running the other pizza cart completely while preparing to open this location.

Dan helped get the wiring and lighting in the dining room done.

Our friend Borden and our home teacher helped out a lot in the last few weeks.

Trying to make up our minds on colors.

It seemed that I spent hours each day on the phone.  Trying to work out permits, licences, financing, etc. Coordinate workers, deliveries, food, etc.

More lighting in the dining area.  Jason built these lights.

Finishing touches before Friends and Family night.

Training new employees.  I didn't get any pictures of the friends and family night because it was so hectic.  In reality, we were not really ready.  In the process we found out about a lot of little things that still needed to be done.  My friends, Ivie, Kim, Tori and their families were there all day cleaning and prepping and we barely pulled it off.  It was incredibly overwhelming.  We only had one employee that came with us from the cart, everyone else was new and knew nothing. I felt like things went so poorly that night that I had a bit of a panic attack after the party. I sat in the office and cried. What have we done!? This is never going to come together!  We had 2 more parties to do and those people weren't just friends and family.  I was terrified.

In the end, we did the other parties.  They weren't perfect.  Far from it, but people were nice.  They knew that we were trying to iron out all the details before opening and they were patient with us.

We now had less than a week before opening our doors for business. There was still much to be done. Again, our friends and family were there to help us along the way.


So we did it.  We opened our doors almost a week later on December 11th 2014.  One day later than we planned, but that's okay because we didn't tell anyone that we were opening.  We just put a sign up and opened our doors. We still had a few months of some very long days.  80 hour weeks for each of us, but we did it.

A year and a half  and tens of thousands of pizzas later, The Pizza Cart lives on. Who would have thought that when we started this journey over 7 years ago, we'd end up here? We have 12 employees, not including our family. Our boys have each had the opportunity to learn to work here. I am still overwhelmed with gratitude for all those who have helped us along the way, including a lot of help from above.
While the journey is far from over, we've learned a few things.  Most importantly, whatever the future brings, we know we'll be okay. Because we know that, together, we can do hard things.

To Build an Oven (Part Two)

With the oven now set in place, there was still much to do. Don't ask me what. That fell under Jason's expertise.  All I knew was that it looked really hard.  It took another two months to finish it up.

My contribution... I added a few screws.

Chimney is on and the first fire is going!  This was a very exciting day for us. The chimney is a whole other story in and of itself. Let's just say it was a huge milestone for us.

I had the honor of cooking the first pizza in the oven.  Up until this point, Jason had no idea if this oven would work.  We didn't know if it would perform the way we needed it to in order to produce the pizzas that people were used to buying from us. There was a bit of a learning curve with fire management and temperature control because this oven was WAY more efficient. But with a little practice, we couldn't have been happier with the results. With our little oven on the cart, we couldn't do more than 20 pizzas an hour.  This thing can pump out 50 or more pizzas an hour. We can cook 8 pizzas at a time instead of 2. If anything, the quality of the pizzas were better.

Now for the tile!

This was as far as we could get before we opened because we ran out of time.

We closed for a week during Christmas, so with the help of Jason's parents, we were able to come finish up the job in the few days after Christmas.

Tedious, tedious job.  On the lower half we were able to use the sheets of tile, but on the upper sections we had to cut them into small strips to make it work.

And...we're done!!  Almost.

We grouted the oven and painted the pipe a year later.
What a beauty! Jason is amazing!