Monday, December 7, 2009

enter henry.

it's been a while and i've been feeling the need to post an update on the progress of little skips but found myself too bogged down by all the nuances of the business. sometimes i forget that i am running a business, not just trying to bring to life my funhouse and food joint (aka cafe), but the past few weeks have driven that fact home.

going into this venture, i knew it would be hard and there would be many obstacles along the way but i never expected it to be this hard. i've lost count of the breakdowns i've had since i started. one time, i remember walking with rosie to little skips and just wanting to stop in my tracks, fall into a ball and scream 'make it go away!' then, i felt rosie grabbing my arm to hold me up screaming some form of encouragement.

so i kept going.

recently, i came to the realization that i could no longer make it on my own and the possibility of pulling out of the game and calling quits was all too real. enter henry. unofficially, my new partner. together, for about a month now, we're pushing forward. soon the major part of the build out, which is creating a functioning kitchen and installing the coffee equipment will begin. basically, once this is done and we get inspected by the health department, little skips should be ready to open, in a perfect world.

tonight i'm working on a response to an email from BushwickBK. i thought i'd share and use it as a chance to catch everyone else up as well.

1) Tell me a bit about yourself, where you're from, school, age, whatever you think is relevant or interesting. And how long you've lived in the neighborhood (if you do live here).
2) What made you decide to open a cafe, and why in Bushwick?

i'm a whopping 29 years old and hopefully a full 5 feet tall. i transplanted myself to east williamsburg from st. petersburg, florida in july 2007. i first lived along the L train and loved it. i moved to bushwick off the JMZ for cheaper rent early this year in february. bushwick has a strange charm and a dangerously romantic appeal, something completely different from the areas along the L train. soon after moving here i fell in love with the place. but after many days of wandering the new hood looking for a place to grab good food and a decent cup of coffee after one of those long nights (or if i was feeling fancy, a foamy cappuccino), i realized around where i live in bushwick was the perfect place to bring a cafe. i still think it was fate. random events occurring together at the same time to make something happen. there is change happening that is good for the neighborhood for sure. this is great for me since i plan to stay in the area for a while and want to be a part of helping to develop a sense of community. little skips is an idea more than anything. i want it to be where everyone is welcome and different people can share in common interests, spreading the love, creating the bonds. i know this sounds a little cheesedick but it's completely true and i'm working on toning the cheese-factor down ;)

i went to business school at usf in tampa and had random 'real' jobs but moved to brooklyn to be more creative (whatever that means; it just sounded nice at the time). i came for probably the same reasons as most other transplants. i wanted to take classes and work in film production, maybe do some acting, some writing. maybe in this dream world where i could sing or play an instrument, i would become a local rock star!

what i do know is that i love entertaining and being the 'little' hostess as my friends can attest to. we called our house the little skips party house and even got to host dave bazan on his house show tour. amazing! cooking was done multiple times a day, everyday. i still experiment with new recipes and am learning to eat healthier, cutting down a lot of processed foods and animal products. this is what i want to bring to little skips; the sense of community and learning to care and love each other and the earth. bla bla cheesedick ;) and so we move on...

3) Tell me about what you'll be selling there and how the interiors will be. And if you know what the storefront was before, that's fun info.
4) When will you be open for business and what do you expect your hours to be, etc.?

we will have coffee, hand blended tea by me, small plates, light dishes, salads, soups and sandwiches (including the overly famous banh mi which i grew up making and eating) as well as baked goods that we plan to get from local bakeries. i plan to have lots of vegan and vegetarian menu options but am not limiting the menu to just non-animal dishes. we will have wi-fi, fun and live music. we plan to open from 7am to 8pm and later once we've got our beer and wine license, realizing we might have to adjust hours according to customer needs.

we plan to open shortly after the new year *fingers crossed*

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a long time has passed

i have been slacking on my updates of the progress of little skips. we did good for a while, started the build out and finally have an outline of a cafe and some colors on the walls. but like any adventure we have inevitably run into bumps along the road and are now facing our biggest bump yet. it's like i started off running, then flying. then my wings slowly got tired and i had to come in for a landing. and by landing, i mean picture a cartoon spiraling down for a crash landing like donald duck when he realizes ducks can't fly. alright, that may be a bit too exaggerated but gives you a nice visual for what's been happening with me and consequently with little skips.

i know that sounded like a very negative start for little skips or at least this blog post, it has actually been going pretty well. remembering to put my trust in the universe, i am working it out as i always do. luck has no home here. little skips will succeed as long as the love is still there. sometimes i find it the most difficult thing to make materialize an intangible idea of hope, love, community and art. if someone told you to draw these ideas you could only draw representations of each. how do you draw hope or love? i could draw a bunch of stick figures on a sheet of paper. that would come the closest to representing the word community, but does it do well enough to explain the idea of community? as for a physical representation of art, where would one venture to begin?

little skips is at best a funhouse, where everyone is invited to come play. i think if people can come together with the goal of smiling and laughter, we can gather a force great enough to change the world. i figured that's how i can make a difference, how i can do my part to save the world and make it a little bit cooler in the process. and i, rainbow, just have to bring these folks together. there will be art on the walls by someone supercool from down the street that stopped in one day and asks if i'd display a showcase of his work. we gave each other a forward knuckle pound because yes, we are that cool, we think.

some nights should also have local folks playing their best instruments together inevitably making supercool music where, here again, everyone is smiling. maybe some nights we can even screen movies and have popcorn but no butter or salt sorry. well ok, that's up for discussion.

little skips will have coffee and wifi because it seems that folks like to surf the world wide web while sipping a nice frothy latte or hand-blended tea. maybe i can make you a juice mash-up from a selection that happened to exist only because i thought the mix of fruits and vegetables looked pretty together and therefore would undoubtedly be yummy together.

i like food a lot. and by a lot i mean, if i'm not eating, i'm cooking. so thus, little skips will also have food. because during our walks around the 'hood' we find ourselves frequenting Mr. Kiwi's more than twice a day and spending more than we make a shift at the restaurant we work for (in the city) to supplement our real passion to be an artist, or rock star, or fashion designer or producer of something-or-the-other (or cafe owner). because for now, in our little town of New Bushwick, it's the only place to get decent food that isn't fried chicken or the empanada lady on the corner or even the new fangled CHIMI truck across from the gas station where it's always hit or miss. we must not give in to the golden-fried god!

i think the best thing of all is our efforts to find new ways to be green. no one's perfect but we can try at least. it's no longer an option in my opinion. i'd like for little skips to platform into a green pioneer for the neighbor and future businesses. i want us all to ask what else can we do to help undue the damage.

(as if this isn't already winning the award for my longest post thus far)

so the last thing little skips likes to do is we like to collect cool stuff made by cool people. and we are going to share our stuff with you.

how's that for a 'blurb on what little skips is about'? i promised it did start only with one sentence.

Friday, August 7, 2009

working hard to open asap!

little skips is finally starting to materialize. mitch and i have cleaned out the place, scrubbed the walls and are starting to seal the exposed brick. kris will start next thursday on building the bar, patching the hardwood floors, staining them and finally painting the walls. i've come up with a color scheme but not sure what people will think of it. it consists of antique orange and smokey greys. i love greys. greys are sexy. orange is my favorite color :)

joanna, the wonderful writer she is, worked on the little skips' business plan and it's amazing! i'll probably need to apply for loans eventually or at least find investors since funds are running ridiculously low.

i still need lots of help. kris will need manpower and i only have so much of that ;) i also need a logo designed, the sign built, cards, flyers and menus designed and printed. i need to plan a feasible menu for the limited kitchen appliances i will start out with. i have to shop for an espresso machine soon soon soon! anyone know anything about that as well please donate your brain to the cause!

otherwise, things are moving along and i am happy with the results thus far. we have had so much support from the neighbors and community who've been stopping by to inquire about when we'll be open. everyone i've met has been awesome and i am excited to be able to pioneer such a wonderful establishment in bushwisk right now.

more to come...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

july 28th tuesday

we picked up jenny yesterday from jfk airport. my dad is donating her to the little skips cause. now you ask who is jenny? she's my good friend from high school and my dad's current secretary/personal assistant. his business is slow so he flew here up to 'assist' me with opening the restaurant.

our first night we went to do 'research' at a little place in the lower east side that is similar to the what i would like to do with my cafe in bushwick. it was byob so we had to walk two blocks to get a bottle of prosecco and a nice french rose. the food was amazing. the ambiance was so cool, so chill, so unpretentious.

today i did what i could on the computer. i am an offiicial employer now. went to open a bank account but boa was closed. wamu told me i don't have all the right paperwork. i'll go again tomorrow, with the right paperwork.

things are good. things are happening the way they always were suppose to. love love love.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

reviewing the lease agreement...all 19 pages uhggg!

today brant and i are going over the lease agreement. it will be for 5 years at 941 Willoughby!! so much to do and think about. my mind is a race of to do lists and tasks. i will put pictures up of the place soon!

i need a business lawyer. i need a personal masseuse my shoulders are so tense. it will be good. i think we will open sooner than later and have live music and beer, wine, sake and sochu!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

the beginning of little skips

and the end of 'ashley's carburetor inc.' it's finally happening. little skips is official!

it started out as our self imposed family name for our crazy bunch of soul mates all living under one roof in brooklyn, new york. it's now become the name of my first restaurant and fun house!

i found the perfect location off mrytle at 941 broadway in bushwick. it was one of those things, once i walked in i already knew it was the right place, the only place. i didn't even look at another location after i saw this place which was only the second properties we looked at. it has so much charm and distinguished character. standing in the middle of the floor i look around with bright shiny eyes. i see it packed with beautiful happy laughing people, delicious perfectly plated food, frothy beers and pretty cocktails. like it was already a year into the future i can hear the live music. and if you look carefully, in the back leaning against my homemade bar that kris, my adorable handyman van man constructed with his multi-talented musician hands.

the lease is to start on the 15th and construction hopefully soon after! everyone in the family has a role. i am head skip, head of the fun police and visionary of skips litte. i'll also create the menu. mitch is helping with the image/logo/sign design and will eventually be the art manager. katie is interior decorator and funny girl. danny will book the entertainment. joanna is the writer and the other half of my brain. she will help with writing the menu and probably anything else that requires words being put together with or without punctuation at the end. i want jimmy to later be the chef (if you say it out loud you can make it happen!) brant, (though not a little skip) is my rational side and my wonderful business partner/bar manager and baristta.

i want to serve fresh, seasonal, asian inspired comfort food with a vegetarian and vegan menu option as well. we'll serve lunch, dinner and a super awesome brunch with sochu bloody mary's, plum wine spritzers and a surprise drink joanna thought of today. there will be live music as many days as i can book good bands. we'll also have incredibly good coffee and cupcakes made by danny waits, which i've so cleverly dubbed 'dannycakes'. i also think there should be a scrabble competition once a week! yeah that will make me very happy :)

i remember the first thing i thought of when i thought of the restaurant is that we must have mason jars for glasses. this also makes me very very happy!

it's also very important that the restaurant is eco-conscious and environmentally friendly. the wood used in construction will be rescued from a previous life. there will be no plastic anything and no straws! i'll use recycled paper products whenever i can. i plan to hit up the fleamarkets, thrift stores and antique shows for the the dishes and flatware. chopsticks are a must! nothing needs to match and that will be lovely.

i want you to come and feel at home and be a part of the energy of the universe with the happiness little skips will give you. i want everyone to love life and the room to always be filled with smiles and laughter. i want to feed you the bomba** food and i want you to hug me when you walk in the doors. i want the family to be a part of this with me always. this is for us, my little skips family. i love you guys!