I seem to spend the first few lines of each blog apologising for the length of time it has taken between posts. In the run up to opening last Friday it seemed that there were fewer hours in the day. Quite often I would think about what I would like to write, but didn't seem to get time to log on and write it down.
But - we finally made it, we are open for business - on time, not quite on budget. We put everything we had into it physically, financially - even down to using picture frames off our walls at home.
The week before we opened was hectic. I wanted to write on the Thursday night before we opened how it had been a time for unsung heroes, for people who put themselves out in order to help us to achieve our goals. Without their help we would not have managed and be a snivelling heap in a corner!
The Friday went well. Two of our local councillors cut the ribbon and presented prizes for our 'Design An Easter Egg Competition'. It was quite a busy day and we were relieved to have it under our belts. The weekend was quiet after that, but it gave us time to recoup and think about what to do next.
Now the centre is complete we can start to advertise. Rent-a-crowd came over the other day so we could take photos for advertising. The photos here are from that session. Watching Kev working has proved very popular. People seem to be very interested in how chocolate is made and they are genuinely amazed when they realise it is all done by hand.
The displays are all finished bar one. The process of making chocolate was photographed the night before the opening, printed and laminated on the morning of the opening, with people running up and down the corridor so I could put them up. In the end, they were in the wrong order - no surprise, but it's all sorted out now!
The shop is all kitted out now and full of chocolate. We had a shuffle round yesterday to rearrange what goes where. Today we had a visit from Trading Standards - Weights and Measures, which was very scary. They were nice people and we know what we need to do now. We have had an excellent response to our products and pricing which is reassuring. The marshmallows are proving particularly popular!
Some of the models felt a little self conscious having their photos taken, not that it shows here. The wedding cakes are getting lots of 'wows' when people go into the celebration room. Having premises will make a massive difference to our wedding work - we have taken a wedding order every day for the last three days. I don't think we can continue to take an order every day, but I would like to!
Ros is clearly a natural model demonstrating the delights of our chocolate bouquets. These are unusual, but again, seem to be getting a good reception.
I have saved the best photo for last. This really sums up what we are all about. If we can make someone smile, if we create an experience or a memory, then we have done our job well.