This past Monday, June 1st, my husband and partner, Tom, was working the Evanston shop. We rehashed the day in the evening, as we often do when working in different shops. He said his day was a pretty difficult day overall, the manager had the day off, and many Monday-is-the-day-when-everything-goes-wrong type things occurred. Then something happened late in the day to remind him of the reason we love this little business. Why we are so proud of it, and also, so humbled by the way in which our customers enjoy our products.
Late in the afternoon, what appeared to be a busload of customers inundated the shop. It is not uncommon for us to host tours from a variety of sources such as the North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau, recreation centers, culinary schools, senior centers, etc. These tours are very good about calling in advance, the heads up lets us have appropriate staff on duty. Tom checked the schedule and saw no tour booked. He called for reinforcements from the staff in the grinding room, blending room, and office to get our whopping crew of seven people on the floor to assist this group of serious spice buyers.
Tom recognized one of the women that seemed to be proudly showing everyone around as one of our really good customers, dating back to when we had first opened the shop in Evanston. Oddly, she was not with her husband, they always came together, as he LOVED to cook. The reason he was not with her because she had buried him this morning. Their family made a pilgrimage right after the burial to The Spice House because he loved the shop. She wanted to share this special place with his family and introduce them. This group is from Texas, she told Tom, this part of the family lives in Tennessee, and so on. They obviously shared his love of cooking and they really stacked up the barbecue seasonings. I imagine they will remember their missing family member whenever they barbecue for a very long time, as they now are also cooking with his favorite blends. I think in a small family business we do actually cry over our missing customers. It was our great honor to have served you.