So it is kinda like watching your kids go off to college. Or so I can only imagine. We did it. We moved our production facility in to Traverse City to join the GT Food innovation hub and contribute to the dream of Cherry Capital Foods at 1610 Barlow. It has taken a village to make this move happen as well as roughly two years to solidify the plans, funding, and logistics to get The Redheads to graduation and as I like to say behind the scenes, to “Put her big girl pants on”.
Just like wondering if your sophomore is going be ready to take that leap to calculus, I wondered if my baby (The Redheads Company) after 19 years would be ready to make the jump to it’s own facility. Whether she would be able to pay her own mortgage, find a place in the big city amoung so many other graduates, and figure out how to cook for herself, pay her bills and be far away from home.
I was also pondering if the Cafe was ready to launch to 7 days a week and extend her hours to 7am to 4pm. I wondered if the new Chef and sous Chef would be able to carry the torch of managing all the aspects of turning out great food dish by dish, while maintaining the personal touch of making EVERY customer feel welcomed, satisfied and have them leave with the feeling that they are part of something really important: from the food to the community to the art and music, as well as the local economics/sustainable living and to the “we are all connected”…in so very many ways.
I also wondered if I was ready. I have grown up with her, The Redheads. I was 23 when I embarked on this venture with my sister and as I have written before, was reborn in so many ways because of this business. I had to really launch myself to let go and trust those who were attracted to my vision of a sustainable company that cares…about so many things. I had to trust that my hope for a working atmosphere based on excellence, cleanliness, precision, consistency and positivity could be left in the hands of those who also believe in those ideals.
Well, she, TR was ready. I, too, was ready. It was time to grow. It was time to push forward and allow this beautiful world to bring its light to an entity that so many have helped to “grow up”, to change, to evolve. There are so many people to tip my hat to in this process. I shall make an attempt at mentioning a few, but know that really in my true heart of hearts it is with each conversation and interaction with this community and beyond that has offered me a perspective, a voice and a platform on which to dream.
To my husband and children. You are my life. All of what I live for and dream of is with you. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and for trusting and encouraging me to follow my heart and dreams. I will always aim to give you the same. I love you.
My Mom and Dad for putting up with me through….well, let’s face it, my entire life! Thank you for always being there and for trusting that the village would do their part to help grow me:)
My sisters. My besties. My rocks. I truly can not imagine me with out you. For the love, sweat and tears we have all endured together…you each have so contributed to me and my life and family. My heart swells just writing these words. I am beyond fortunate to have this beautiful connection we all have. Blessed are we. And amen for the fabulous men we have added to the mix…we are fortunate that they have agreed to hop on board!
To my core staff: Jessica, Craig, Matt, Chef Fig, Nikki, Kerry and Annette. WE did it! Because of your belief in me and your own fabulous commitments to authenticity, vitality and what you hold true….we are doing this together. I am enamored by our efforts as a team and what we have accomplished. Hold your heads high because this move happened because of you. And we have so much more to create! Thank you, truly.
And to the rest of our current staff….the vintage (Jenna, Katie, Lydia, Bethy, Kolene, Kira, Addy, Eli, Whitney) and the new (Hannah, Brennan) you hold the torch high and when all other businesses are struggling to find staff, I have to rejoice in having all of you holding that torch representing what The Redheads stands for…I am grateful for your piece of the puzzle and for wearing the badge of ambassador to extend to the world what we do and who we are. (And a shout out to Diana and Lori and the Leelanau Books staff for allowing us to maintain and thrive at the lil Leland Cafe!)
To the endless hours of planning and sorting to these folks:
Evan, Lee, Chip and team at Cherry Capital Foods, Rob Sirrine and board (started with you!), Bill and Tricia with Taste the Local Difference, Chris Wendell-Northern Initatives, Laura Galbrith and team at Venture North, Cris Gross with Stafford-Smith, Ben Leggit at GT Refrigeration, Bryce and Shen at Score, Kevin Buhr with Buhr Electric, Mike Kirt with Brittney Mechanical, Joni & Carolyn from MSBC, Billy Wright/ Colby/Ray for advise and consulting…and so many more who directly helped design and implement the kitchen in our brand new nearly 1700 square foot production kitchen!
The RedZone (production facility nickname:) has graduated cum laude from The Redheads HeadQuarters in Lake Leelanau Michigan! On to bigger and better adventures so keep helping us spread the word! (Cause now we gots to pay for tuition for the new digs:)
And two cheers to The Redheads Cafe and Tasting Room for graduating to full time and full dedication to where it all began….with great food, sweet atmosphere, and amazing people!
So, as you see, it certainly takes a village to grow a child, an idea, a lil redhead and her dreams. I applaud to all of the above and to each of you who supports our efforts and continue to support me. The Cafe and Redzone are graciously bowing to you for contributing to what I feel, what we feel, is truly a special venture.
(Insert photo of your sweet face here! Yes, you reading these words right now:)
Thank you for being my village, our village.
Best from the bottom of my heart~