Celebrating 15 years of Perk

Thank you to everyone who came out Wednesday night to celebrate Perk's birthday. Each of the 15 years Perk has been open has been as challenging as the previous year, but at the same time filled with daily successes, growth and sweet memories. The party was a night to focus on those sweet successes and celebrate the challenges we have overcome.

Among the victories are the 100+ employees have each left their mark making Perk the special place it is. We have had many employees leave for education or careers, and come back on a part time basis, and seeing their growth has been one of the most rewarding parts. We have had others that have been here through high school, college and then graduate school and on. We have others that have found their home with us, after many years in food service.

Here are Perk, we are a family. We respect each other and we stick together. We help each other. Once we are bonded from working at Perk together, we share a bond that I believe will stand the test of time, no matter where we go from here.

Perk would not survive if our teammates weren't so tremendous. It's not unusual for a Perk team member to work a double because the business or a teammate has a need, which means they could have come in at 6 a.m. and leave at 9 p.m, just to do it again the next day. I's also not unusual for a customer to grab me outside of perk and mention what nice, over the top service they received by one of the members of the team.

Any new hire is taken aback by the work ethic of the rest of the team, and by the sheer amount of work there is to do. Most survive, forever changed by what they now can accomplish in a day and how fast they can wash the family dishes. To the Perk team, I thank you, I thank you, I thank you.

Perk would not survive if we hadn’t received amazing and unyielding support from all of you that came out to celebrate, and to hundreds of people who could not , either because the schedule didn't work or because they are no longer with us.

Regulars who have kept an eye on Grace during a rush we were understaffed for, strangers who have helped me unload my car, friends who have given us candid feedback that was difficult to deliver, customers that have referred other customers. Our friend Phil, who has done it all, from treating us to “Pizza with Phil” nights, to dump runs, BJ’s runs, given us rides and all around the perfect Uncle to all of us here at Perk.

We thank you.

Parents and family of the staff have pitched in, whether it's helping to unload after a long Durham Fair (thank you Bill and Harry Hall) or by being daily wonderful customers. You all have been forgiving, encouraging and loyal. We thank you.

My siblings and parents have helped in so many behind the scene ways ; My mom, in particular has wiped tables, done dishes, made salads, catered, made countless trips to grocery stores and offered tireless amounts of support. She also came out to watch Grace in the wee hours of the morning, so that I could go to work in my business. My brothers and sisters have scrutinized balance sheets, strategized, provided hours and hours and hours of legal advice, reviewed leases and bought many a crepe. Any of course, Mark, who is a machine behind the espresso machine worked for many years at Perk.

Local businesses have locked arms with us, whether it's Diane at Nature Works with her perpetual facebook plugs or Heath at Carmines letting us borrow basil, again! or one of the many other businesses that have helped champion us. We thank you.

I cannot comment on the last 15 years, without mentioning our social mission “to help bring forth a socially just and environmentally sustainable human presence on earth."

To the local growers, famers and businesses who supply us with produce, maple syrup, delicious yogurt, honey, flowers, cards and soaps, Thank you! This year, because of all of you, we will have purchased 4521 lbs of fairly traded, organic coffee, supporting the average output of more than 2 family farms.We have purchased 1338 lbs of organic fairly trade nuts that we use in our smoothies, crepes, almond butter, granola bars, chicken salad etc.

This year we teamed up with Blue Earth Compost to haul our compostable material away. Cantaloupe rinds, onion peels and all other food scraps along with compostable paper products are separated at each Perk location because we feel food waste does not belong in the waste stream and every pound counts. Between our 3 locations, we are averaging 1400 lbs of food scraps per week, which means that Perk—meaning our STAFF and our CUSTOMERS are averting a total 72,800 lbs of compostable material from the waste stream. Thank you!!!

We will continue to be outspoken on social issues particularly issues that affect the LGBTQ community, the environment and the food system.

We are first and foremost a community gathering place- a place to talk, break bread, and be a part of a community. On Sunday, a woman from Madison came in and asked me if I was the owner. When I said yes, she said “I have been having my share of bad days, and I’ve learned how to get through them. When I feel really fed up, I get in my car, drive here, have something to eat or drink, stay a bit, and go home feeling like a new person.”

Cheers to all of you, our loyal customers, to our family and most of all cheers to the Perk team. Happy 15th Birthday!

In peace and love

I haven't blogged in quite awhile. I have been off doing fun things like getting married and moving Grace and me across town, renovating Perk on Church and going full speed ahead on opening Middletown. Here's a pic of me with my handsome husband, who I love showing off.

Here's a couple pictures of the renovation in Guilford, which really brightened up the place and made the works space 100 x more functional.

And here's a couple of Middletown in the works.

Things are lining up to be a great year, and it's all possible because of our great team, and because of you. We are here to serve you. Thank you for supporting us.

CT Small Business Week

I am happy that small business week is over, but boy, did we have fun. 

When first nominated for the SBA Woman Owned Business of the year award, the overwhelming sentiment was 'uncomfortable.' Connecticut is a big state with many incredible businesses owned by sharp women, and I couldn't help but feel that mine was so imperfect. We have so far to go, so much work to do – yet we were being recognized for such a prestigious honor. 

When we won the award, I had to pause for a moment because there was no choice. Leaders of the SBA visited us, along with Congresswoman Rosa Delauro which was quite the honor. We attended the award ceremony in Hartford at Infinity Hall. We made the papers, and hundreds of people came in to congratulate us. We received emails, phone calls, gifts, notes, and cards.

And so we took time to reflect on the many, many people who have helped us along the way, the sacrifices that have been made, and the hard work of our team, both past and present. We took a moment to reflect on what went right, what’s gone wrong… and how close to the edge we have endured. More than anything, we have endured. We are enduring. 

Small business week has come and gone, and I’m back to making crepes and washing dishes (the more the merrier!) But not without my head a little higher from taking a good look at how far we have come, rather than just thinking about where we need to go. And certainly, with immense gratitude to each and every one of you who has supported Perk along the way.