I realize that it’s already the end of April and I only just published a post for March happenings! It’s been a month, I tell ya, trying to get everything ready for our grand opening last week.
The first week of April saw us in Belize City. We originally went to drop off the friend at the airport and decided to look around and see if we can get some chairs for our smoothie shop. Belize City is a dirty, chaotic place and all the shops we went to came up empty. After a few hours of driving around and getting nowhere, we decided to look elsewhere. Back to the hotel for a much needed drink
a delicious dinner and a good night’s sleep before heading home. On the way there, we stopped in at Dangriga and found the chairs we were looking for in a small locally-run store called … Bloomingdales. 😂
All of a sudden, things started moving very quickly and I found myself often overwhelmed by all the things I still had to do. It’s all the little things, really – toilet paper, paper towel, do we have enough fruit? Do we have enough cups? Do we have enough food? What kind of food do we need? Where do I get all this stuff from?
We hired an assistant who helped us navigate all this. She’s godsend and without her, this would not have gone as smoothly as it did.
In Placencia, there’s no big bakery or factory to go to and get baked goods. There are many talented bakers in the village, most of whom work out of their homes, or little kitchens on main street. Finding the best ones is a learning curve, but we eventually narrowed it down to two or three who provided us with donuts, meat pies, pastries, tarts and cakes.
Michael varnished and painted the counter and work space,
the sink and fridge went in
And then a trip to Spanish Lookout for the rest of the supplies.
Spanish Lookout is a Mennonite community where a lot of big shops and factories are located. It’s about a 3 hour drive from Placencia and so we set off early one morning in order to be back by early evening.
It was a pretty drive down the Hummingbird Highway.
We passed lots of small villages along the way, including one called Teakettle
Spanish Lookout was so very different to to any of the places we’d seen in Belize so far. The village is a Mennonite farming community of about 2,500 people. It’s in the middle of cleared expanses of jungle and although it’s in Central America, it looks like a rural agricultural town in the American Midwest. As we entered, the jungle gave way to neat farms, grain silos, orchards, manicured lawns and two-story farmhouses set back from the road.
Even though the Mennonites still wear traditional clothing and use old fashioned farming methods, they are considered progressive in Spanish Lookout. Many of them drive trucks and tractors and you’ll see very few horse-drawn buggies.
We went to the hardware store and the lovely big supermarket and bought everything we need for the shop from fans to bins to non-perishable ingredients, had a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants before heading home.
And then, all of a sudden, it all came together and we had a store.
Our soft opening on the 25th was a great success and we were so grateful for all support shown us by our wonderful friends and people from Placencia Village. Wednesday and Thursday, a lot of people who live in Maya Beach came out to see what we were all about. I met some lovely new people and enjoyed chatting to them and showing them what we do.
The weather turned steamy, and by Thursday the the air was thick with the humidity – even my glasses steamed up! We bought another fan for the shop.
Our grand opening on Friday was very busy. Shanice and I were on our feet most of the day. More of our lovely friends came to support us and one of them even made us a cheese cake to give away. We had some repeat customers also. One of the long-standing Placencia restaurant owners brought his family.
All in all, it was a wonderful start, but by Sunday, we were exhausted. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the type of stress that I experienced those two weeks before we opened. We spent some much needed down time with friends and at the beach cooling off in water made luke-warm by the heat.