Saturday, August 14, 2010

more photos of sample day

first cup of yogurt

This last Sunday we made our first cup of yogurt! We called it our sample day and hoped it would be the day that led to us being able to officially start our business. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out as planned.

We're kind of getting used to the little problems, but it's no less disappointing. However, we're really learning how to find the positive in all situations. The positive here is that we made yogurt and had fun!

We spent the whole day cleaning the truck and fixing the muffler on the generator. The truck was sparkling! We planned to start around 4:00, but just as we were going to start, the generator decided to start acting up. It took four hours and thirteen guys to get it going again (check out the photos!)! I just kept thinking of the joke, "How many guys does it take to fix a generator?" Apparently, lucky number 13! All the girls were just standing around laughing as the guys scratched their heads.

We were finally ready to go! We mixed the yogurt and started serving. It was so exciting to finally see frozen yogurt come out of the machines. I was in charge of toppings while Alex swirled. We pumped out beautiful cups of yogurt topped with champagne grapes, fresh strawberries, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and honey drizzle. Yum! Everyone said it was delicious and we breathed a sigh of relief.

Then the generator went out again. The light in the truck went black and I was left to finish topping the yogurt in the dark while Alex fixed it again. We got it going and kept dispensing. Then the side of the machine with the plain yogurt quit. We finished with the pomegranate flavor and transferred the plain to the other side. Then that side quit (are we not meant to serve plain yogurt?!). We had finally had enough and called it a night. We spent the next hour cleaning the huge mess.

Despite all the issues, it was a lot of fun and we are so excited that we were able to make frozen yogurt at last. We still have to work on dealing with the loud and fickle generator, broken machines, and getting a place to sell, but it will all come together. All the problems are just getting us closer to a smooth grand opening! We can't wait!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

i brake for ono yo!

I can't believe it! After months of our truck's brakes not working, they finally got fixed. That really is what was holding us up, preventing us from starting. Now there's nothing that can keep us from sharing the gift of healthy frozen yogurt with the North Shore and beyond!

When Alex told me they were finally fixed, I just felt this huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn't realize quite how negatively it had been affecting me in my regular life. I think it was just the stress of not knowing if our business was really going to ever happen. We had put so much time, effort, and money into it and to think it may not happen was just too much.

The brakes went out the day we were getting our logo and advertising stickers put on the truck. It was the best day; a major milestone for us!. We even heard a lady stopped at a stop light at the busy intersection where our truck was getting stickered-up say, "Oh! Ono Yo, frozen yogurt! How cool!" That made our year because it was like validation for everything we'd worked for.

As we were driving the truck back to the North Shore, the brakes suddenly went out. Luckily Alex was right by a turn-off into the Home Depot parking lot and he was able to safely stop the truck. I'm so glad he wasn't on the freeway (he was just about to get on) when it happened or it would have been disastrous (always look at the bright side of things when starting a business or you'll get bogged down in the problems that inevitably come up). The pin that pushes the brake fluid into the truck popped out and was completely unfixable at that time. We tried to fix it with some McGyver-esque technique, but we ended up only getting as far as Walmart up the road. We had to leave the truck overnight.

What ensued was months of replacing rusted out parts, changing and re-changing other parts, bleeding the brakes, and just general head-scratching. Finally our mobile mechanic thought about the new power booster that had been sent and the push rod (that's the same part that broke in the first place). He wondered if maybe the push rod was too short for our particular truck, so he sent for a new one.

While we waited for the new part, I really had time to think about all this. It has been a long journey to get to this point. There were times I wanted to give up and just throw in the towel. It seemed like it wasn't worth the effort anymore. However, at the root of it, I believed in our idea. I believed in us and our ability to be successful entrepreneurs.

Finally I got the call that the brakes were fixed. Now it's time to actually make yogurt in our machines and test it out. Tomorrow we're having a "samples day" when we will fire up the machines and test out our recipes. We're not sure exactly how we want to make the yogurt so we need to test the various ways out and ask our friends for their opinions. We hope to open for business next weekend at the North Shore Country Market.

I'll blog tomorrow with photos of our big day. I can't wait!