A Barn, A Commie Fridge, and a Sushi Case walk into an Espresso Bar…

And the Blog Writer says, “Why is SO much happening? I don’t have time to write it all down!”

… Maybe I need to work on the punch line.

BUT. The point is SO much has happened that I haven’t written about in my Blog and that feeble joke didn’t even cover the half of it. To attempt to get up-to-date so my blog writing feels relevant to me again, let’s go over some of the more unique and fortuitous adventures we’ve been on in the last month.

A Barn

In November, we were still deep in the throes of selling all our extra things at endless Tag Sales, on Craig’s List, and finally – later – on eBay. Believe it or not, Craig’s List has proven to be a fantastic social platform for us in Northampton. In fact just today we visited new friends from Craig’s List in Feeding Hills (yes, that’s the name of a town in Mass) where we met their miniature Italian greyhound, a parrot, several other birds of other loud origins, 2 lizards, 6 turtles, fish, a guinea pig, a cat, I think another dog… and played coloring and Frozen puzzles with their very independent granddaughter, Coraline. But – see – that’s another story for another time.The point is Craig’s List is, if nothing else, the beginning of a fantastic story.

And, in November, we met Casey on Craig’s List. She and her husband, Fletcher, had just moved into an 11 acre farm inside the city of Springfield. It’s an incredibly unique property that they stumbled into and look forward to developing — from the dated farmhouse with amazing potential, to the acres of forest and winding creek-based wetlands to the sagging old barn, it’s straight from the countryside… of inner city Springfield. Casey took a liking to us during our Craig’s List exchange and offered up what we could use from her old barn. “I think there’s some old wood in there and other stuff.” That’s all we needed to hear and our eyes lit up! Old things! To reclaim! Fitz and Emme to the rescue!

There is more to come from this barn, both in story and in materials. We packed our car to the brim that day and barely scraped the surface of what we can use. What a blessing! I know I make jokes about “reclaimed barn wood” but… truly reclaimed barn wood — from a real barn — with really old wood — and a story ingrained in the core of each board… that’s what builds magic. That’s what will build Curio. And we didn’t get it from Anthropologie. Or Pottery Barn, for that matter.

A Commie Fridge

Cafes can’t use residential home refrigerators. You need to upgrade, both logically in terms of space but also in terms of accountability for the temperature at which you store stuff the public consumes. Upgrade = More Money. Yes, typically. But not when you’re Fitz, the obsessive and slightly overzealous eBay Extraordinaire!

Check us out… Sunday morning: bid on fridge. Sunday afternoon: win fridge (only bidder!). Sunday 5:30pm: email from seller, “Um so like I only hold my items for 24 hours and then I start charging a daily storage fee.” What. Illegal. BUT. We just won an awesomely huge commercial fridge for not so many moneys… so. Sunday 6pm: On the phone with friend, Adam, “Can we borrow your truck… tomorrow?” “What time do you want to come over?” “Is 8:30 too early?” (in the background, I hear “Priscilla, do we have eggs?”) And then to me, “Come at 8 and we’ll cook you breakfast.” So, with the best friends a couple of crazy entrepreneurs could have, we were off! The Longest Day Ever begins in photo form below.

A Sushi Case

We round out our story of recent encounters of the Craig’s List kind with a magical Christmas miracle. One of the focuses at Curio will be cold-pressed juice – a concept we are passionate about in practice and in theory! It’s a mess to make but a joy to consume and oh so pretty when displayed! Back in December when we came to the seemingly insurmountable “You need a second bathroom” mandate from the Building God of Massachusetts, we were crushed. All our carefully crafted ideas… all the loving little quirks we’d folded in at the edges… our design was uniquely us. But, as is also “us,” it was – apparently – highly adaptable. Like chameleons, we shrugged off a year of planning in about three days and sat down to the daunting but pressingly necessary task of re-designing the entire cafe, in a different room. One aspect was a new consideration for juice display. Several days of discussion – agony – and Google searches later… we found a beautiful word written in stainless steel on the front of a juice display case at an achingly beautiful juicery in Toronto called Greenhouse. The word? Yoshimasa. The lightbulb moment? A sushi case! A sushi case! The perfect display for our juice.

And so begins “A Sushi Case” from Craig’s List.

But, the best part, and I truly do mean that… we got there and the fridge wasn’t there! They had realized this about 30 minutes before we arrived when they went to the basement to bring it up. Apparently one brother moved it to the storage area (2 hours away) in an attempt to be helpful and clean up the place, not knowing the other brother had listed it on Craig’s List and successfully found a buyer (ie US!). BUT, when you own a candy shop, there are no bad endings. Instead of a sushi fridge, we got a whirlwind tour of an incredible business, run from the heart by a generous man named Ryan (and his brother). They are celebrating their 10th year of The Fountain Shop, a Victorian-inspired ice cream parlor two doors down. Four years ago they acquired Shane Confectionery and spent a lot of care and energy bringing the charming shop to its former Victorian glory.

Not bad for one month, eh?


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