The Right Slice right now…

It’s funny, not really funny, annoying maybe…but I am already getting sick of the phrase, ‘the new norm’…whatever that may be.

Really, I think it is because we have not actually settled into a new normal just yet…at least I sure hope not!  We are still in full change mode and here in Hawaii we have no end in site.

Sure, we depend on visitors.  Sure, we can survive without them.  But, The Right Slice cannot thrive without them.

For any of you that know me, I am pretty much tell it like it is.  Don’t ask me a question if you can’t handle an honest answer.  It is what it is.  But, I also don’t like to gripe about things I cannot change.  I like to be the change.  Make the change happen.  And move on…sitting still is not my strong suit.

Unfortunately, right now, I cannot do that.  My business is stuck in a terrible place of limbo.  And because we have virtually no guidance of if and when we will be reopening, or not, to visitors…it is really challenging to plan and adapt our business.  I am not writing this post today to be a complainer.  I am writing today as an honest small business owner on Kaua’i.

I am writing today because I want to share my reality.  Not even just my reality, but my staff’s reality too.  Everyone is going through, and living with, their own reality.  I am seeing all sorts of numbers out there about Hawaii’s economy..unemployment numbers from 14-37%.  Sales declines from 22-85%-100%…but really…what does it all mean to a small business?!?  And how do our actual factual numbers compare to the information that the media and or government, is feeding us.

Well, I am sharing this not looking for pity, but to share a reality.  This is what it is.  Good, bad or otherwise, it is what I and my TRS ohana (staff) are dealing with each day.  So take it for what it’s worth.  Just a glimpse into our reality.  Tomorrow we can go back to happy yummy pie posts.  Today is just a dose of our own reality.

Here is my first photo.  I think it is just a simple excellent visual of our current TRS world.  The envelope on the left is our expense envelope.  The envelope on the right is our income envelope.  Yes, I know I am sharing how old school I am, but whatever…  So as you can see May was brutal.  Not our normal envelope ratio by any means!

 

My next photo is our year to date profit vs expenses.  Sorry for the junk photo.  Technology is not always my friend.  You can see we started off with a nice profitable 2020…then….it wasn’t.  Now, I feel like I am a pretty smart business woman, I know if there is no cash flow in there should be no cash flow out.  Unfortunately, I made the bad business decision to accept the PPP loan…so we just dropped a TON of money just to hope we qualified for forgiveness on the loan.  Now, for some businesses this PPP loan was a great thing, just not for us.

 

After completing our PPP term yesterday, and after the terms and conditions of the loan itself, and the forgiveness keep changing, I am just glad that the stress of that program is now in my rear view mirror and I can move forward.  Bringing staff back to work, in a tourist economy, just for the sake of the program…bad idea.

 

That brings us to our next and last photo…

This photo makes me very sad.  This one shows our 2019 compared to 2020.  Yup, again you can see we were on track for our best year ever.  The oven was full of pies each and every day!  We were keeping our payroll expense down because all of our staff had been with us a while, we weren’t training newbies every few months and we had finally gotten into a groove after our several years long lawsuit.

Then it happened…the world stopped in it’s tracks.  We cut hours and costs where we could in March, being unsure what was to come.  Still holding our own…then April we cut payroll completely the first couple of weeks and I ran the shop alone…this allowed our staff to collect full unemployment while we waited to see what would happen.  Obviously April sales sucked compared to 2019…but we were able to bring a majority of our staff back on payroll at mid month thanks to the PPP.  Little did we know what a mistake that would be.

The PPP forgiveness details didn’t come out until we were in week 6 of our term.  Then again last week, week 8 of our term, they changed again.  Yeah! …for anyone who hadn’t started, or had just started…boo for those of us too far in to do anything different.  This is a statement for my business alone.  I don’t presume to speak for other businesses. Although I have spoken to many fellow small business owners, and we all have our own battles right now.

PPP was my personal battle of 8 weeks of stress and uncertainty.  We basically spent 4x what we sold in that 8 week period.  Stupid.  I know.  Hindsight, right?!?

But…today is Monday.  Today is the start of a new chapter in our TRS book.  Today we start again with a very reduced staff and me, Baker Sandy, heading things up in the kitchen.  As most of our staff went back on unemployment this week, I am hoping that I will be able to afford the few part timers I kept on.  The next few weeks will tell.  Thankfully there were only a couple who do not qualify for unemployment, and I am doing my best to keep them working.

So, that brings us to our changes for this month.  That feels good…changes for this MONTH.  For a while there it was changes for today.

Starting this week, continuing through the month of June we will be doing away with our free Lihue delivery on Tuesday, as I will be working the shop alone that day, so won’t be able to get away.  In it’s place you can ask to be put on the delivery list.  When we know we will be in Lihue you can order for that day, if it works for your schedule.

You can also do the same thing for our East side and North Shore deliveries.  Just call us and ask to be added to the list.  We will reach out when our next delivery is near and you can order if you like.  No obligation.

Also, we are extending our Friday shop hours to 10-6:30.  Many of you have made this request…that you can’t get here until after 4 because you are back to work.  Ok!  We are going to give it a try for June and see if the sales support the hours.  So, on Fridays you can stop in from 10-6:30 at the Kalaheo pie shop OR you can order your free delivery from 4-5 pm from Kalaheo to Omao, Koloa and Poipu!

That’s it.  That ‘s all I have for today.  That’s the end of my blog post for today.  More information than you ever needed to know about my little pie shop, but there it is.  We will survive this.  We won’t enjoy the next year or two, but we will make it work.  As will some other small businesses.  Unfortunately, a lot will not survive this.  So support all your local small businesses while they are still here!

And hey, stop in the pie shop….I’ll likely be the one opening the door when you arrive!

A hui hou!

Baker Sandy

7 comments for “The Right Slice right now…

  1. <a href='http://www.sweetthingsbyjulie.com' rel='external nofollow ugc' class='url'>Julie Vance</a>
    June 8, 2020
    Reply

    Aw Sandy what a load of crap you’ve been handed! I’m so sorry. All we can do is hope. I am certainly hoping it gets better for you.

  2. Cindy
    June 8, 2020
    Reply

    Hang in there! We need you there when we return (hopefully) in October!

  3. Bob McGraw
    June 8, 2020
    Reply

    Hi Sandy,

    Thank you for the update. I cannot imagine how challenging it is right now.

    I also cannot imagine a Kaua’i without The Right Slice. My wife and I have been fans since you were located in that industrial area in Puhi. We always make your shop a priority and we always introduce others to your shop when they come to Kaua’i with us or ask for places to eat when they visit.

    I wish I could come and visit personally but since I cannot, I had an idea.

    I would like to set up a regular purchase of some of your products (both sweet and savory pies) and have them given to the wonderful people of Kaua’i. I am not sure how that would work and I wouldn’t want it to be a burden for you but I am trying to figure out a way to help make a difference to you and others.

    I wonder if other fans of The Right Slice might also like to give this a try. Maybe use social media to spread the word and explain how it would work?

    It’s just an idea that came into my head as I read your blog.

    What do you think? To much of a hassle or potentially a good idea?

    • The Right Slice
      June 9, 2020
      Reply

      Aloha Bob!

      We have been doing something similar for the past few months and it has been great for us and for the community. If you wanted to donate pot pies, we can accept the order online, just put in the notes that you would like to donate those pot pies to fill hungry bellies on Kauai and we then find local businesses who have staff laid off and share a homemade meal with them. It has been great! We have donated over 200 pot pies already!

  4. Donald Evans
    June 8, 2020
    Reply

    Wow! I sort of knew that your description of how things are now could be what it was like but I was just thinking about my own disappointment because I couldn’t be in my second, beautiful home. My feelings because my trip to Kauai was cancelled is nothing compared to what ya’ll are dealing with. For what it is worth, know that we miss being there terribly and can’t wait to be able to return. I heard something on the news tonight that there may be some new thinking on the transmissibility of the virus from non-symptomatic people. Perhaps that will cause the Governor and his staff to re-evaluate their Corona Virus program and open things up again sooner rather than later. Aloha.

  5. Debbie Schenker
    June 9, 2020
    Reply

    Our heart breaks for you. Normally we would be on island for two months and buying your products at least twice a week….sweet and savory. I will remind my friends who live there full time to try and stop by more frequently. You are an island treasure.

  6. <a href='http://www.roughwighting.net' rel='external nofollow ugc' class='url'>Pamela</a>
    June 9, 2020
    Reply

    Beautifully written so that we can all understand what you as a small business owner are going through. We won’t be back to your beautiful island until February but when we do, you can be sure we will be stopping by for a pie or three. Good luck!

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