A New Season

Hi all,

I started back up at May’s Candy Shops this last week, and had a pretty good first day. We’re experiencing much more business this time of year which is a nice surprise, and I’m very happy to be making candy again. Ready to get hungry? Here are a few pics!

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One of our candy makers working on his short paddle technique.
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Deliciously thin peanut brittle
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Maple Nut fudge, made with maple sugar! It’s one of my favorites to decorate.
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Tour carriages waiting their turn
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A new restaurant to open soon…

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We’ve had some weird weather up here lately – it keeps saying rain in the forecast, and yet it mostly just rains at night and then it’s sunny all day long. A couple of mornings it was incredibly foggy! If you’ve ever watched the movie, The Mist, that’s what it felt like… anyway, we’ve had some very fortunate sunsets as well, and my I enjoyed the view as a few birds enjoyed the water.

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Freight boat!

 

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Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone ~

Heather

October in Full Swing

This has been a good, long summer, and I’m glad that it’s finally October. There are too many fun things going on this month.

When I’m teaching I only get to be back in the fudge shops to make fudge on Saturdays, so this Saturday I prepared myself for a routine day of fudge making. It was slow, but then again, what October doesn’t feel like that after enduring the hectic schedules of June, July and August? I didnt make any fudge art, but I tried a new spin on selling fudge in the form of mini pies. Who wouldn’t like a dollop of fudge surrounded by a layer of graham cracker crust? I guess I’ll be finding out soon, as they just went out into the showcase this Monday.


The big excitement for me and I’m sure lots of the tourists traveling on and off the island this Sunday was the weather. Blowing winds and big waves was the theme for the day, and tourists stopping to chat with me while I made fudge filled me in on how their ferry had canceled a scheduled trip, had shut down altogether for the day, and were just hoping the waves would die down later in the day. I myself wanted to check out the waves, and did so in the morning behind the fudge shop. Sneaking out the back door and walking down the alley behind my shop, the Trading Post, and Seabiscuit, I walked out onto the dock and around the hardware store to get a better view looking at the back of our store, where one can find a very lovely private venue known to me as the Tiki Room. Often times on a hot, summer day, the owners of this Tiki paradise will sit out there and grill something that the wind currents blow in through my fudge shop’s back door and entices me to immediately run out and buy some ribs.

On this day, however, no one was cooking… and a good thing, too! I caught these waves brushing up against the dock and the biggest one almost flew far enough back around to hit me where I was standing:




Since it had started to rain after work, and I’ve been feeling under the weather, I decided not to go out after work on Saturday to get more pictures. The weather was a bit better on Sunday, and it wasn’t raining, so I took some time to snap a few pics down by one of the break walls:


  

  
  
  

So the exciting thing that’s happening this month? My brother’s getting married! I can’t wait because it’s going to be awesome seeing my big brother tie the knot, plus the reception will be filled with tons of his ballroom dancing friends from college. Looks like I won’t be missing much of the Grand Hotel’s ballroom dance weekend, because I’ll be dancing all night anyway! And of course, this month has what a lot of us islanders call the ‘holiday that never ends,’ which is Halloween. More on that in a future post…

~ Heather

A Season of Fudge 2015

It’s the start of another fall season, and I have purposefully been neglecting my blog writing all summer. I’ve been purposefully neglecting many of my normal summer activities with one main goal in mind, which was to put my all into running the family business here on Mackinac Island. There were nights where I’d go to sleep with fudge on my mind, and I’d wake up with fudge on my mind… and it’s still on my mind! Which brings me to the main topic of this post.

It took me awhile to decide how I really wanted to discuss my business experiences this summer because I didn’t want to share an inappropriate amount, but I do want to share, well, something! I don’t often like to talk about my work on my blog, mostly because I try to see this blog as a personal space instead of a marketing or business tool. I think I’ve been writing on a blog ever since college some odd years ago, and I’ve always found it a great place to get my thoughts out someplace. But since work has been the majority of my life these past couple of months, I can’t help but want to share some of the experiences that I’ve had.

I used to worry. As a naturally soft-spoken person, I worried about how much of a leader I could be running a business in a fast-paced environment found here in the summers on Mackinac Island. To help counter that, I’d sit and imagine myself in what I called a “perfect scenario,” and I’d be walking home early from work, knowing everyone was doing their jobs well and with little supervision, and I didn’t have one thing to worry about.

That day never actually came, but the visual was still incredibly helpful. Every time a difficult situation slapped me in the face, I had the strangest reaction. Calm. Suddenly I was back in my imagination, my “perfect scenario,” but instead of realizing that everything was fine, I knew that everything was going to BE fine. And from there, I was able to recalibrate.

Before the summer began I decided to spend some time reading the advice of Richard Branson, business mogul and owner of the Virgin Group. He put a big emphasis on putting employees first, so I did that as much as I could. In return, I ended up with my current crew of very motivated and happy employees! It was nice being able to see those ideas and work really come alive in front of you.

One aspect of this biz on which I focused was our social media outlet. We have Facebook and Twitter, but I wasn’t posting regularly, so I worked on adding more content to our sites. I also started an Instagram account for some extra photo love. And I really upped my game with getting more reviews on Tripadvisor, too. The extra attention to social media has been really positive for us so far, and I’ve had a lot of fun with it.

Probably the most online work that I’ve done has been fudge art! Now I’m not quite up to par with my artwork of my brother, Lee, but I knew that I could at least write names. And that’s just where I started! I first wrote all of the names of my employees, and you can see a few examples below:


  
 I then started to post fudge photos on my personal Facebook page, offering to write the name of the first person to like the picture. I wasn’t sure how interesting this idea would be to everyone which is why I started on my own page, but it turns out that this was a lot of fun on both ends. It made me realize how interactive I could be with people online. Friends on Facebook that I didn’t even think paid attention to my posts were liking my photos for a chance to get their name written in the fudge, and I made sure not to spell any names wrong, either (and I never did thank goodness)!


I eventually traded in my measuring cup for a squeeze bottle (a much more sophisticated form of writing) and was able to come up with more interesting fonts:


And a few times, I did try my hand at drawing pictures:

Let me leave you with a bunch of photos from around the fudge shops, and also one of the quotes that has inspired me this summer … “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” ~ Winston Churchill

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Mint chocolate chip fudge

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Our 100 year old fudge mixer. Still in excellent working condition and going strong!

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~ Heather