Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hard not to panic

Sometimes I forget this is a blog of the creation of a coffee shop. It's not a Facebook page or an advertisement. I can say things here that shouldn't be shared anywhere else. Well, just let me say, I am having a very hard time not panicking. Yesterday , I got the electric bill for the shop.....$414 ! Yesterday, we brought in $50. Today, we brought in $50 . At this rate it will take a full week to pay the electric bill ! So much for Scott and I getting any money. On the bright side, a group of 5 ladies found us on Urbanspoon and had breakfast with us. They were staying over on the beach road and still found their way to Canal Road. They seemed to quite enjoy their food and our place,so maybe they will rate us and send more people our way. Everyone has told us September and October would be slow. They were right. I know it will get better, I know it will. Isn't this what every business owner says right up until the day they close ? We are still enjoying living at the beach, we eat good and have a job ....for now. I did go fishing yesterday.....caught bait fish.

Monday, August 27, 2012

No time for a hurricane !

Last week was a great week ! Return customers bring in their friends ,bragging on how good we positive and fun. Now it's Monday morning of a new week. The traffic on Canal Road is flowing west only.School has been shut down until Thursday. Only thing for us to do is fill a few bags with sand and read our books. Looks like a week of no income..... Could be worse . Our new shop could get blown away. it seems waiting for a storm is no fun....unless you drink. I guess hurricane parties are big around here. Never will understand why beer is OK and Pot is not. Oh well, guess I'll spend the next few days reading a book as long as there is light. Here's to hurricane Isaac !I mean tropical storm Isaac !

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Write up in the OBA community web blog

Dancing Cup comes to Orange Beach August 12, 2012 - Orange Beach, AL. - Fresh off a 3 & 1/2 month tour of Florida's coasts come Alabama native Rhonda Hill and her partner Scott Van Tine with good food and delicious coffee. After living in Wyoming for a quarter of a century Rhonda has returned to Alabama to open Dancing Cup Cafe, modeled after Main Street Artisans, a successful gallery/cafe she co-owned in Evanston, WY. The Dancing Cup Cafe brews coffee drinks to order, bakes turnovers fresh daily, and offers a classic cafe menu including quiches. Barbara Brasell, Rhonda's mother, has brought into the cafe a large selection of antiques from the Possum Shop, her store in Thomasville, AL. Several Alabama artists works are on display and available for purchase also. Scott Van Tine, a licensed embalmer and former Deputy Coroner in Wyo has polished off the food service skills he developed in his youth when he worked as a Food and Beverage Mngr. in our country's National Parks. Now residing in Orange Beach, Rhonda and Scott are learning to fish the bay and gulf waters, making new friends, and enjoying bicycling to their cafe. So walk, run, or bike to the Dancing Cup Cafe and taste what these two fifty somethings have brought to Orange Beach, AL.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

another look at the Dancing Cup Cafe

A day off

What a beautiful's cooler than it's been in a long time. A great day to be lounging around the house. I stayed in bed until 8:00 and have already had a wonderful nap. We had Jessie and James crash at our house last night, bicyclist on their way to California. This morning we took them to the shop and supplied them with espresso and a few muffins , then sent them on their way to Dolphin Island. It's fun listening about other people's ride and having someone to tell our story to. Now it's time to start planning for next week. Meal planning and emails to send out. Then maybe a dip in the Gulf this afternoon, maybe a little fishing ....... Right now I have two friends who's mother's are very sick. As I enjoy this day my thoughts are with them. Also my thoughts are with my own mother and father that have been so supportive of my ideas and with Scott's mother that also has help us . Love while you can.....enjoy life.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Breakfast AND lunch

Yes, we serve breakfast and lunch. And one day we'll have people in for both breakfast and lunch and that will be a good day. It seems if we have people stop in for breakfast , that's it for the day. Soon we will have our menus and fliers to hand out. We are told everyday that this is the end of " the season ". We are hoping it is the beginning of the season for us. This is not an easy business to be in ! But I still believe the people here will love us soon as they find us. We need to find a way to share our dream. Which is to have the locals think of our place as their place. We want friends to be proud to bring their friends to our place. We want our costumers to be our friends and not just on Facebook. Even though being our friend on Facebook helps too ! I spent the afternoon trying to find my way around the Al. Sales tax forms. What I learned was , I don't have a Baldwin county or Orange Beach tax ID. I thought I did... I also found out that because we were set to open on the 15 th of June , I should have paid taxes ( or at least reported $0 taxes owed) ...but I didn't. So now I have fees that I have to ask to have them removed. I love this part of doing business....not really. We ride our bikes to the O.B. Public pier every morning to enjoy the sun rising over Wolf Bay. Tonight we went for a walk on the beach. ......that's why we are here to enjoy life

Thursday, July 26, 2012

We're off to a slow start but it's giving us time to work out the kinks. The locals seem to be happy we are here. Today the library's refrigerator went out and everyone lost their lunch. Too bad for them but it was good for us. We need to advertise but I can't seem to find the time to get the info. Together. We need to find an accountant too ! There is so much I don't know anything about. I feel overwhelmed with everything I should do. But right now sleep is all I'm going to do.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dancing Cup Cafe is now OPEN !

We Are Open ! I really thought I would lose my mind before we got our doors open. Now that we made it to this point I'm pretty sure I lost my mind a long time age ! Our first day was pretty slow, mostly people stopping by just to say they were very glad we are finally open. The locals have been watching our progress and are excited to finally have a place to get coffee and a bite to eat without having to leave Bear Point. Our first day we lost a freezer. We only had one. We were able to have Foley Kitchen and RESTAURANT SUPPLY, replace the bad one we bought from them and RITA HAYES AND I went to Sears and bought a " spare " freezer. That was yesterday. Today we went to work but there was no traffic at all so we decided not to open on SUNDAYS. I got a little more prep work done before leaving shop around 10:30. Then Rita , Scotty ,Scott and I went to the beach. It was the first time in 3 weeks we had taken time to walk along the beach. I'm very happy we have pasted the construction part and all the inspections. But I'm afraid now is when the real work begins.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dancing Cup Cafe: Inspections

Dancing Cup Cafe: Inspections: Monday we passed the health inspection, Tuesday we passed the fire inspection and failed the city inspection. No handicapped signa...


Monday we passed the health inspection, Tuesday we passed the fire inspection and failed the city inspection. No handicapped signage on restrooms, circuit breaker schedule taped to inside of box, 3 compartment sink not secure. We took care of everything but the plumbing concerns, those will be remedied today. Seems likely we could receive food Friday and start serving Saturday. We need to make a trip to Pensacola for some water filter supplies and a few other items and we will open!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

there's a fly buzzing in the kitchen

I'm Setting in my favorite chair with a fly buzzing around and ants crawling all over me ,trying not to think about inspections that will take place Monday morning. Did I mention anything about it being just a little humid ? Scott's playing his favorite songs on ROKU and the cat is stretched out on the floor in front of the fan. We took today off to rest up for a full day of cleaning tomorrow. I did go to the shop late this afternoon to work on our chairs .....I put a finish on them and it didn't work out very well. They became very very sticky ! So I had to take the finish off. They are a little better now. We still don't have a mop sink. Jeannette from Oceans Pizza said Barry ( our plumber) was still putting her's in when she was getting their inspection. I guess that's what he's planning to do to me too. Maybe he has a thing for the Health Inspector ! Just kidding. My new, used stove will not be plugged in until Monday morning too. I must say I have not had a dull moment in a very long time. Jeanette also told me today she had 5000 fliers printed and needs to order more . Today I wrote out about a dozen invites to come check out Dancing Cup Cafe. I think I might not be doing it right. Well, there is only one day left of the weekend not that I'm counting. I want to say a few things about this past Friday . The man I found to work on my espresso machine made his long planned visit. I had given him all the info. On all the coffee equipment I have. I told him they were all used and I wanted him to check them out , you know ..just see if they needed new gaskets or cleaning and teach me how to use them. I also ask him to bring a filter for the bracket I had already bought. I had given him all the info on the bracket so he could bring a filter that would fit the bracket I had. He brought a $275 filter ! And not only would it not fit under the cabinet , it also would not fit the bracket I had . Which bring me to another source of aggrivation. The two brackets sold to me by a lady that owns a coffee shop in Mississippi have been out of production for 5 years. There are no filters to fit them ! We found this out after at least 2 hours of investigation. I was charged $187 for .....pretty much nothing. I guess we did learn a little bit about our machine. We also learned they needed to be cleaned. I know next week will be better . I know we will be open by next weekend . I know we will do great running this business. We will ! I know it !

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's looking good

Too tired to write very much but I just wanted to let every one know we have inspections scheduled for Monday morning ! The new stove should be here tomorrow, the fire suppression finished tomorrow,our first coffee order should be here Monday, food order Tuesday and more art and antiques this weekend ! Next week we will be open....

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I see the light.

We're so close to that opening date. I'm telling myself we'll be open one week from today. Now I just have to go in and tell everyone else we will be open on Saturday and they ( the construction guys ) need to be out by Wednesday. Scott and Linda Heltzel are helping me become more assertive. I really wish I had started this adventure being assertive, maybe we would be open by now. I know the weather is so humid right now, that to work 12 hours a day in our little coffee shop would be very nice. Next week we will be getting in art and antiques, food orders and permits ! We will be open one week from to day ! We will! Maybe on the side I'll start stress management classes and a consulting business. One more note. The traffic here was so bad the police had a man hand directing traffic even though the lights were working. Vince ( our electrician ) said it took him one hour and twenty minute to drive from Gulf Shores to our place. This drive on a normally busy day takes ten minutes. We're going to do a great business.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting close ?

I'm not 100% positive but I think we are getting close to that opening date. I think we have come to that point where it's time to start doing all those last minute things,Telephone, gas hook up , ordering foods, and all the things that I've not thought of yet ! It's time to panic ! We are within 3 weeks of the doors opening. Yes, I am sure I have said this before but this just might be " it" . In so many ways I am not ready but my check book says I need to be ready. It's an exciting and very scary time .

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We get to do some painting

It felt good to do some physical work in our place. So much of it has been meetings, planning, searching for best priced equipment.
The walls are up, food prep areas almost covered with FRP? shiny white material required by health dept., the other ones Rhonda and I are painting blue.
Rhonda at work in office (with helper kitty cubby)

new floor tile

grout floor tile guy got on wall

our blue that we bought at the "Restore"
Some of the floor tiles are down, that task is turning into a problem. The guy doing it is not a professional, is trying to do it around another full time job, and that is not working out well for anyone. The landlord contracted him to do the job.

Monday, June 11, 2012


OK, this will be the last time I refer to my day as a stone or a diamond. But today was good. My first call today was Vince, our electrician telling me he met with Craig, the fire marshal. They decided I had enough fresh air coming in the building and will not have to buy an intake fan. ,!!!!!! We are so happy ! Also Scott followed a lead on a credit card processing company and it is the best so far. My Father is working on our stand for our prep sink. I met Neil Bush. He is Johna Bush's husband. Johna is one of our future artist. Anyway, he was very positive about our shop and our location. I love positive people ! Today I also finished our menu board. Today was just a good day. Now, with all that said Scott and I road down to the shop tonight to see if the guys remembered to turn the aircondtioner off. The lock box had no keys ! And the back door was unlock. Not sure what happened, but I am sure tomorrow morning someone is going to be unhappy.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Stone soup

Yesterday, Vince, our electrician called and wanted us to walk thur the layout to be sure we had everything the way we wanted it. Fun and exciting, until.... These two guys I don't know walk in the door . They are there to see about hanging the hood for the stove/ oven. Ok, this is good. Before I know what has happened I find myself being bombarded with questions I don't have the answers to. Questions that is easy to tell are leading to me spending lots more money ! I'm ready to quit ! I ordered the hood the city said I needed. A hood that every contractor that sees it and the delivery guys says is the smallest hood they have ever seen . None of them can understand why the city is making me have a fire system with my hood . These comments drive me crazy ! It makes me feel like the city is requiring me to do ridiculous things just to see how much I can deal with. So , I now own the smallest hood system in the world ! A hood system that doesn't have aN intake fan . The city requires an intake why don't I have one ? I have the exhaust fan but no intake . Why ? Why ? And how much more is this going to cost me ? I would quit if it made any since at all. I feel all I can do is continue with this money sucking adventure ! Why do I want to cook muffins ? Homemade soup ? Pastas ? I should be happy ordering pre made foods and just reselling them like most all restaurants do. I hope that in a few years I will read this and be laughing all the way to the bank ! Tomorrow we go to our first Chamber class, Chamber 101. they will show us the many ways they can help our business. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Some days are diamond some days are stone

I'm not sure what makes the difference between the two. Some days everything makes me crazy. Yesterday the contractors were pouring cement to fill the holes they chiseled out to put the plumbing in. I was a nervous reck ! Today they put up walls. I was so excited , happy , and could see my future. Like I said , I'm not sure what makes one day different from the other, when both are the same. I'm starting to narrow down who I want to buy coffee from. I have picked out a tea supplier. I'm going with Adagio teas. Still not sure who to buy my syrups from or what brand to buy. We have been working with US Foods for our food supplier. Got our first batch of cups and other paper products from cup . Not 100% sure I can't get a better price but for now they will work. No shipping charge ....that was good. Today we bought mops ! Oh what fun .....buying them was the most fun I'll have with these items . It'll be down hill from this point on ! We also bought paint for our new walls.....from the Restore. Blue....flat...not bad, I'm sure it'll be just fine ! The price was great , $40 for two 5 gal. Buckets. We'll love it ,even though our colors are orange and brown. Picked up a few more chairs from the WaterFront Mission store. Can't wait to see what all this second hand stuff looks like when we get it in place. It's coming together and it feels good. My mother sent me a treasure box of office supplies today . : ) very nice. By the way, my parents have been great! They have helped us so much.I'm sure I would never have gotten into this without their support. Thanks Mom and Dad ! Wonder what tomorrow will or stones

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Build-out!

J This is unbelievable to me ! I'm doing this .... It's because of me this is happening. I'm paying these people ! WHAT WAS I's so scary and so exciting. While these guys are working hard building my our new shop I am sending my time trying to make sence of accounting,books and taxes ! Now that's really scary. Ok, these things are scary but the fact that I'm just now learning how they work ......what was I thinking ? ! All will be good . We can do this . We are doing this . It's great.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Paid and done with !

Judy at the Water Authority help me see how the city works in Orange Beach. For the city to tell me they had no idea about these fees , well is just an out and out lie. And for our Landlord to not tell me about these fees was also deceitful. Maybe he forgot about these fees or maybe he didn't realize how they worked. But in his defense , he gave us a great deal on our rent for the next 3 years. This great rate will make up the difference. So now it's done and construction starts tomorrow. Hope to get pictures, so check back. We're off to Mobile for the day to spend more money ! Oh boy ! Get to buy insurance too ! Oh I'm so excited .....

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's a new week

I've moved on. I'll go talk to Judy at the Orange Beach Water Authority tomorrow and give her all my money, then continue on with this dream. As therapy , I tell everyone I do business with, how unfair it is that no one tells you about the astronomical in-pact fees they have here in Orange Beach until you go to have your water turned on. At this point is is very hard to back out of your plans even if you have no idea where the money will come from . I think it's bad business for the city to treat it's tax payers this way. I worked hard today, Cleaning used equipment,moving money around, paying bills and making plans to spend more money. The more I get done , the more I think to do. I really feel I need to develop a filling system before we open the doors. Keeping things on the computer is hard for me. I tend to forget where I put them. This is going to have to be Scott's job. I feel good about today. I feel good about the Dancing Cup Cafe. Soon we will be up and running !

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Orange Beach is a mercenary municipality, and we go to an auction

$12,000.00 Water Impact Fee! are you f@#%^&g kidding! Rhonda is crying, curled up into a fetal position on the couch, I'm counting out what is left of my savings (I'll have $1600.00 left for the next 4 months trailer rent) and this start up is costing us $60,000, about $10,000 more than than we have. F#!k!

Monday, May 14, 2012

We got our permit to start construction !

It's been a long hard road but now we move forward ! Today we got our permit from the city of Orange Beach , Al. To start the construction of Dancing Cup Cafe ! There were so many times I never thought this day would come. There were days when I wasn't sure I wanted this day to come ! But now that it's here , I am so excited. I can not wait to be putting pictures up the concrete being hammered up, the walls going up and cabinets being built. Scott and I went to Thomasville for Mother's day this weekend. While there, we stopped by General Sheetmetal Of Thomasville and were invited to watch Virgel cut out our Dancing Cup Cafe sign. It's the most beautiful sign ever ! It feels so good to be having fun with the creation of our coffee shop. Like I said too many times , this has been a long hard road. I know there is still so much work to be done but for today , all is good !