Friday, July 23, 2010

Yay for Small Business America!

On Wednesday Lisa and I went to lunch in downtown Benicia. We didn't know where we were going to go so we just agreed to meet "somewhere" on First Street. As luck would have it, I went to one end to wait and she went to the other, so talking to each other on our cell phones we met in the middle. It seemed appropriate that the restaurant that was right there be "the one". It was Capitol Cafe, a newly established little home cooking place that has only been open for 3 months. And omigosh is it ever worth it. Great food, great service, and the owner Christine came and talked with us about the perks and problems of opening a new business. Things like getting a review in a paper but one of the other cafes, one that has been around much longer, was given credit in print. If you're up here in Solano County, be sure to head to Capitol Cafe on the corner of First and G in Benicia and have some great home cooking!

Today I went over to Kaiser in Vallejo to pick up our prescriptions. We ordered 3 month supplies of all of our meds since we are going to lose our coverage on August 1. Scary. But that's another topic for another day. At this Kaiser on Fridays there is a farmer's market with all kinds of yummy organic fruits and vegetables, as well as freshly prepared foods and freshly baked breads. About 2 months ago I was there on a Friday and the lady who was selling her homemade Mexican food had given me enough sample bites to fill me up for lunch and her food was so good that I bought something like $42 of food from her - the plan was our weekend meals would be this lady's wonderful enchiladas and salsa. Well, when I got home I couldn't find the bag with that $42 worth of food. Anywhere. It was after the market would have closed and so I just hoped that whoever found it needed it worse than we did.

So today I walked by her booth and struck up a conversation and mentioned I'd bought this wonderful food from her and then lost the bag somewhere before getting home. I couldn't afford to replace it today so I wasn't going to buy anything, but I'll be damned if she didn't say "that was you? She not only remembered me, but I'd left the bag at the bread man's booth next door to her and he didn't see it until I was long gone. She said if I'd paid with a check or a credit card she would have had my number and would have called me, but since I'd paid cash she had no way to reach me. As she was telling me this, she was filling a bag with exactly what I'd purchased that day, including remembering which salsa I'd liked, and handed me the bag. Now that is the way to build a business and inspire customer loyalty. So again, if you're in this area, her company is Mi Fiesta and the address is Broadway St. in Vallejo. She's at the Farmer's Market at Kaiser Vallejo every Friday from 10-2 and probably does other Farmer's Markets as well. Tell her the forgetful lady who left her food sent you :)

I am so happy to see small businesses forging ahead and pushing for success. I'm doing the same and if you're running a small business whether it's a little cafe, a home catering business, a photographer (Janiefer), a yarnie such as myself, or whatever keep it going. It's the foundation of this great country of ours. All politics aside: we're in this together and everyone deserves to succeed and have a warm place to sleep and the necessities of life. Such as good food prepared by ladies who love to cook.


Safeena said...

OK, now you have me all ready to drive from Santa Clara to Vallejo with a cooler, just to stock up on her good food and to let her know that word of her kindness is spreading.

CraftsMeow said...

It would be worth it

VCFibers said...

Stories like this are the reason why so many people are starting to look for small businesses to meet their needs. Do you think Wal-Mart would do the same for you? I suppose it's not impossible but it is highly doubtful.

Maegwin said...

I'm so glad she replaced it for you. I remember you talking sadly about the food you lost when you were out visiting. I miss good mexican food. That salsa we used to get at the crocker galleria farmers market was so good. I'm glad we are in full swing with our farmers market here though and that I keep finding such amazing stuff. I'm going to make a big batch of applesauce today for Maegwin with the apples I bought.

Laurie said...

My husband and I try our best to give first dibs to local/small businesses. You really can't beat the relationships you make, even if you are paying a wee bit more for your purchase. It's more than worth it.