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Family Letter 2019

Well hello my friends.

It has been a year of many exciting changes. Grandson Jedidiah joined us in the business last year and he has been very busy updating some areas of our business that needed a bit of “sprucing up.” Jed’s mother (Ramona) is so grateful that someone else is now in charge of all the technical “stuff.” (Perhaps you can tell by her terminology (stuff) that we all are a bit relieved that Jed has taken over those duties.) Jed is also responsible for the design of the new shipping box we are using for our 14 oz. and 28 oz. tins. This was an area we really did not want to change. We have used the same box style since the day we started shipping over 50 years ago. Our cookies are very fragile and we knew this box worked beautifully. However, the “powers that be” determined that our 3 lb. package was too large to only weigh only 3 lb. so we (you) were being billed for 5 lbs. I guess you could say that one of Jed’s first duties was to literally “think outside the box” and develop a more cost effective shipper container. This took a lot of research and testing. Jed’s resulting box design is not only protective, I think it is also pretty classy.

(Special thanks to our customers who helped us test our new box. We certainly had no shortage of volunteers for the “Ship, Review & Taste” portion.)
Yes, 2018 was one of exciting changes and it also had some rather challenging moments. Here is a bit of background to explain the next story. We have around 39 fulltime employees and we bake our cookies year round. Our ginger cookie is our best seller and fortunately it can be made ahead of time. (It actually tastes better the more it ages.) However 85 % of our yearly business (the sales of approximately 100,000 lbs of cookies) is done during the months of November & December. Every year we pray we don’t hear the “S” word (snow). In our neck of the woods just the mention of snow-is enough to shut down a school. Grocery shopping is dangerous because you have to dodge being hit by bread & milk as it flies off the shelf. But on December 9th 2019 our prayers went unheeded and we had about 12 inches. This was the most snow we had seen since around 1960. The only people who could get to work were the people who could walk to work (our family & “Up the hill cousin Tanya,” & “Across the street Mary” & “Hey I worked for the phone company, I can drive in anything Jean.” )Let me tell you, that snow was something else! Travis and I were packing tins in boxes. In fact all family members (including the children) were roped into doing something. We made it through, but I sincerely hope it will remain one of those “Once in a lifetime” experiences.

Another challenging event was entirely my fault. We have a lot of tours at the bakery and we meet the nicest people. I had a request. I was corresponding with one and the tour director and I just became instant friends. They wanted to come for a tour in November 30th. Now, normally we do not do tours in November (we are too busy). But “Patty from Georgia” was just so nice, so I said we would do a tour for her group. Then I found myself volunteering to make the group lunch after their tour. It was only going to be maybe 28 people. (After all, I cook for 23 people almost every weekend.) My children said “Have you lost your mind mom?” “Oh don’t worry-it will be fine” I said. Well when the word got out I was cooking, the number increased to 63 people traveling on 2 our busses. Even though my children thought I was nuts, everyone (including members of my church) pitched in and helped. While one bus ate, the other bus toured. It all went like clockwork and we had a lot of fun. But I know this is going to be a “once in a lifetime” experience- although I do enjoy an organizational challenge every now and then. Speaking of tours, we meet so many nice people and love the nice letters people write to us. Especially those written by our young visitors. 

Other News.
We had a traveling adventure! Granddaughter Madison “Cookie Taster Emeritas” is a lawyer in Chicago. “Perfect vocation” says her mother Ramona. “Now she gets paid to argue.” I had never been to Chicago so we decided to take a “Girls trip.” and visit. In July, 8 of us flew to Chicago and had the most fun. What a nice city. Such beautiful flowers everywhere and what delicious food! My home warming gift to Madison was to fill her outside planters with flowers. She is definitely a city girl these days. When I asked if she had a trowel available she said “Sure I do.” She came back out and gave me a cake server. Lol. (Well, it did do the job.)

That’s the news until next year. I hope the rest of 2019 is enjoyable and that 2020 is your best year ever!
All the best,
Evva Hanes

Hanes family photo, September 2019

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