Bringing an Idea to Life
La Campiña is born.
On All Hallow’s Eve-Eve, Tania and I were out for a walk around town. Luis and I were ready to move closer to town and she and I were out house hunting. Somehow, conversation shifted to how it might be interesting to open up a small shop or business. As the afternoon progressed and the sun set, I was no closer to finding a place to live but our brainstormed list of business possibilities had grown exponentially.
Fast forward about 10 weeks and I write this blog entry from the shop that was born from that stroll. It’s a quiet Monday night here in the shop. We’ve had others like it, but we’ve also had many days with decent sales and traffic. We don’t know what will happen over the next few weeks and months, but we pulled this together in less than a month and I can’t help but pat ourselves on the back for that!
While we are still working to define what it is we’ve got on our hands (store? shop? appetizer joint? booze hall?)….It came together….
We identified several ideas that we thought were missing from the San Cristobal scene and quickly settled on a two-part theme. Half-store with mostly specialty food products and half-appetizer bar, serving simple but gourmet bocaditos! It didn’t take long for the image of what we wanted to start clearing up and within a week of making our decision Tania was on a bus to Mexico City to source some products. We were lucky and found the perfect location for rent after a few tiring days of searching and before we even knew what was what, we had a deposit put down and the keys to our new storefront.
I’m lucky to be in San Cristobal, where things are relaxed and a small business like this can be pulled together for pennies in comparison to what it would cost stateside. That said, our budget was small even for San Cristobal, which led to a lot of DIY projects and pinteresting for ideas. We are still working on finalizing all the permits and licenses we need which makes me a bit nervous, but like I said, things seem to be overly-relaxed in these parts and hoping for the best. Three weeks after getting the keys to our place, we opened the doors. We weren’t 100% ready and still aren’t, but opening prior to the holidays was important and we were both of the mindset that we’d sort out the details and roadbumps as they came along.
We’re slowly adding more products to our store and experimenting with recipes for new marmalades, jams and chutneys to offer. Our pâtés and sparkling wine concept is going over pretty well. We look for things to improve every day. It’s been a roller-coaster. But a lot of fun.
Some pictures of our journey…
FIRST THINGS FIRST…MARKET RESEARCH AND COMPETITOR SURVEYING….OBVIOUSLY.
TASTE TESTING, AN ACTIVITY OUR PARTNERS WERE HAPPY TO HELP WITH.
FOUND OUR LOCATION – TIME TO FIX’ER UP.
FURNISHING THE PLACE TOOK A FEW TRIPS TO THE MARKET AND SOME GRUNT WORK.
TIME IS A’TICKIN….PUTTING ON THE FINAL TOUCHES.
GRAND OPENING – DECEMBER 11TH: THANKFUL FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
WE TOOK ADVANTAGE OF HOLIDAY VISITS TO EXPLOIT OUR FAMILY. AN UNCLE CARRIED 6 KILOS OF RICE ON A BUS FROM MEXICO CITY, MY PARENTS CARTED DOWN ALL SORTS OF CANNING PARAPHERNALIA AND MASON JARS FROM IOWA AND MY AUNT VISITING FROM COLOMBIA WAS PUT TO WORK PAINTING.
SO FAR, THE WINE & APPS HAS BEEN MORE POPULAR THAN THE STORE…WHICH MAKES SENSE AT IT IS ALWAYS PRETTY EASY TO SELL BOOZE AND MORESO OVER THE HOLIDAYS, BUT WE HOPE THE STORE WILL GAIN SOME TRACTION SOON. A FEW FINAL SHOTS OF US HAPPILY SELLING OUR GOURMET APPETIZERS AND BUBBLY!
PS. LA CAMPIÑA MEANS COUNTRYSIDE…come visit!