It takes a village…

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.AEW_3359

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!)

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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~

 

Sarah Felicity

 

Where the time goes…

 

It is amazing to me that it was 19 years ago today that Christen and I were cutting potatoes to soak in water, making romescu sauce for hash burritos, and finishing the fine details of opening Kejara’s Bridge for the first time.  In ways it seems like ages ago, and in moments like now when I write about these memories, they peel off my memory like they happened yesterday.  I marvel at the transformation that has occurred in Lake Leelanau, or what we in LL fondly refer to as “the hood.”

Here is my clever way of getting all my minds rants in one blog…and hope to have you engaged for the majority of it.  Here goes:

*1996 Dad in CA.  Talking about moving back.  Wants to start an angel store.  (Yes, as in selling all things angel.)  The Hot Spot is up for auction.  He offers a land contract for building.

*Christen is helping him sort details of buying Hot Spot as he is far away.  He asks if we want to help with the Angel store.  I have no interest.  At all.

*Ck and I start talking about what me and Corradini twins had dreamed about  on our return from Ireland & Europe:  hostel, bar, music, art, clean food.

*Kejara’s conception.  We didn’t know that was the moment.  But we do now.

*October 1996 sign on building.  Dad’s angel store 0.  Our community based coffee house art gallery music venue 1.  Major renovations begin.  Dad.  Kerry.  Christen.  Molly.  Simon.  School Lake Road.  Worked full time for TV7&4 as a photographer from 4pm to midnight and worked on Hot Spot all other hours.  Christen (Ck….Christen Kelly) worked at Leelanau Country Inn full time and all other hours at Kejara’s.  Constant help from Molly, Simon, Kerry, Mom, Dad, sisters, Jon Pace, Andy Shudlich, Jeremy Anderson, Arden, Colby and a billion others.

*Quit day jobs.  Open Mother’s Day, 1997.  Work 75 plus hours a week.  Take turns sleeping in office chair…even lost time as we  both fell asleep one slow afternoon doing paperwork on the half moon couch on stage.  Awoke with drool on cheek.  Unaware of how long we slipped from reality.  Long hours.  Living the dream.  Young and beautifully naive.

*Jacqueline Landry.  Our first employee.  Three redheaded sisters working together in a 500 sq foot kitchen.  Tons of laughs maybe a few tears.

*Meet Aaron one month after we open.  Walks in with Laurent and Colby.  I whisper to Jackie while he looks at menu boards up front while leaning on mosaic pole, “Now that is the kind of good looking I like”.  :)

*Amazing support.  Friends, family…community.  Local art on walls.  Drums circles.  A little night music was born. A few food items.  Find out fast that we need more food to sell.  Mom is worried we won’t offer a burger and fries.  Wants us to succeed.  Not sure  Leelanau is ready for the farm to table concept.  She is right, but with a bit of hanging in there….happens.

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*Four years later.  Really starting to get busy in the summer.  Our peeps keep us going in the winter.  Lots of nights on the beach, late nights at the bluebird, songsinging and saxophone playing, coaching volleyball, travelled the east coast, travelled the west coast, went back to Ireland, added breakfast to menu.  Worked 70/80 hour work weeks….still:)

*2003 beginnings of marketing “The Redheads” hummus at the Leland Merc and Hansen Foods.  Thanks Joanie and Joe & Dave and Leslie for helping us launch this product line!  Cathy, who is our aunt, helped us develop brand and marketing strategies.  Christen led one while I ran the other….flipped flopped a few times over the next few years on who would run what.  Production at night….late.  Deliveries to Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids weekly.  Kejara’s at full tilt.

*2004  Aaron and I get hitched.  Awesome fun wedding.  Amazing family and friends.  Epic celebration.

*2006  Olive Louise Landry Ryder born.  Sarah Felicity Landry Ryder is reborn.  Motherhood is amazing, fantastic, challenging and awesome in it’s truest definition.  2007 Titus William is still born.  2008 Edwin James Landry Ryder is born healthy and at home.  Kathi Mulder is an angel on earth.  Helped us birth all three.  Depth of life deepens.

*Next four years keep business going strong.  Ck looking for a change.  Wants to shift.  I debate next move.  Decide to take business over.  Olive 4…Wyn 2.  Busy days….sleepless nights!

*Kroger.  Cherry Capital Foods.  Big growth.  Bring Kejara’s Bridge back…open for breakfast and lunch.  Rebrand all to The Redheads.

*2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!  New production facility at the Cherry Capital Foods building in Traverse City. Finishing floors as I type (or Aaron is…God love him).  BIG move to Tc.  Cafe stays open 7 days a week in summer.  Chef Fig runs the kitchen.  Jessica runs me…as she should.  Craig and Matt run production.  Kerry runs outreach.  DREAM TEAM.  Grateful.  Blessed.  Present.

Thank you for this journey.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to live a vital and authentic life.  It has been beyond thrilling.  Thanks to all our customers and vendors for “buying” what we are selling.  And a special thanks to all the people (and I am sure after all these years I have missed-a-many so please forgive me) off the top of my head for their direct time in making Kejara’s and The Redheads what it is today as being a part of our staff:

Jacqueline, Elizabeth, Heather, Ramsey, Lindsey, Sara Schwartz, Michi, Emily Jablonski, Emily Jo, Matthew, Kerry, Jennifer, Diane, Cory, Rose, Jazzy, Matt-turbo, Sarah Wright, Esther, Nate, Paul, Vanessa, Sarah Lutz, Caitlin, Amelia, Addy, Hannah, Sam, Rachel, Bradley, Tom, Missy, Lee, Jessie Berg, Darrin, Jamie, Natasha, Whitney, Jenna Lee, Jessica, Ben, Sidney, Bethy, Andrea, Elizabeth Sutherland, Savannah,  Kaitlyn, Kira, Lizzie, Murielle, Emma, Craig, Matt, Sherry, Lydia, Hannah Seamus, Jack, Eli,  Katie, Julie, Andy, Brian, J.W, Kolene, Austin, Chef Fig, Nikki.

To my insanely incredible friends.  For listening, supporting and making my life rich and full.

To my Dad and Mom for their endless support, my sisters for everything, my husband for his no questions asked believing in me as well as all his hours behind the scenes, my beautiful, amazing children, Olive and Edwin for the best of all life …for all the Ryder’s, Landry’s, Irwin’s, Bullington’s.

I am amazed that I am still here…with all of this.  And the growth and the creative and the challenge and the ease and the unbelievable people….all the way around.  I didn’t know the destination was going to get here and I am not certain where the next 19 will lead, but I am undoubtably grateful and extremely fulfilled with the life I have here in the hood , in Leelanau, with you.  Blessed be.  My eyes are overflowing with tears.

I am basking in this time of reflection right now and am deeply excited about the music Aaron, David and I are performing on Saturday, in the most fabulous room to play in, with folks who rejoice in the movement, with a Chef who loves food and life and connection, and with artwork my daughter and I have been creating the last few months, and with memories of an incredible dream taken to flight 19 years ago.

This is where the time has gone.

Nothing but love,

Sarah Felicity

 

 

 

March in’ down the line!

March is the month where Spring officially begins…and new beginnings emerge!  It is always an exciting time for me to reflect on the shorter days of winter, basketball season has closed and our busy season at The Redheads is lurking around the bend!  The sun is rising earlier and setting later, more people are out and about, the shadows are staking their claim and even rainbows have been seen dancing!  Movement is in the air and this year is one of the biggest steps I have made yet as I am moving our production from our Lake Leelanau location to Traverse City!  (Don’t fret folks, the cafe isn’t going anywhere, in fact we will be extending the hours at our LL location:)

 

Getting through March also is exactly just that as far as business goes, getting through!  Every year for the last 19 years (yes! 19 years), I have wondered how I was going to pull off paying the mortgage, along with the gas bill, and first and foremost~ payroll!  I remember in the early years, wondering why it was so hard and if it was this hard to do business (especially in Leelanau) why was I doing it!   I particularly remember one March about 2002 sitting on the edge of the stage with my head in my hands and my stomach in my throat.  Christen decided to take off to NYC for a few months for a change of pace that winter and it was spring break and cleaning time.  My Dad was sitting next to me while I gently wept.  My Mother then stopped in to say hello and quietly held space for my mini breakdown.  I just so desperately wanted the struggle to change.  I didn’t understand after all my hard work and dedication, why it wasn’t getting easier.

 

In reflection now, I can be certain of two things about that time back in 2002 as well as today’s March, 2016.  First of all, it was changing.  At that point, my sister was in NYC, leaving me to run the show.  That had never happened before.  I hired two full time employees and a part timer (Michelle and Emily and Emily:) to help me with covering the hours that Christen and I used to fill all by ourselves.  It was the first year I started to help Laurie and Jane coach Volleyball…and I made time to do it.  I paid myself a minimal salary.  I began to have freedoms even when I wasn’t always able to see it that way.  Two, I know now that my own limits were playing a part in my struggles.  As in, my own relationship to money and how I knew it to be in my life, certainly kept reinforcing what I knew.  An though I loved the relationships I was building, loving the county I was living in, and creating a business I believed in, financially I still struggled.

I am now taking a wonderful Entrepreneur class that is helping me re direct my own intentions.  I am also getting some really helpful analysis and projections help from other resources.  I am taking action, not just asking why, but ready to trust that I am supported financially and the work we are doing at The Redheads really truly matters and we can make a living wage doing it. And that moment lead to this one, and every action I have taken in this business (and life, for that matter) has led me to the next.   I want that for me and I want that for my staff.  This next step of moving production is a part of that movement and I can’t wait to show you along the way the new kitchen we are building out and the potential for growth we have!  (More details in next months blog:)

I sit here is Detroit writing this as I have had four significant sales meetings, and I am heading to Indianapolis tomorrow for another with Kroger.  The Cafe is being run by Chef Fig, Jessica is handling day to day operations and such, Craig and Matt have production handled…all while I am on the road seeking to create more accounts to support this new production facility.  My, oh my, has it changed.  It has been a wonderful 19 years, even through the tears.  I am grateful for all the challenges and opportunities for my own growth, along side the businesses.  I am thrilled for the new beginnings, and to “March” into new territories.  I am honored to be able to frame it all with new angles and  perspectives.  I am hopeful that I will remember that the journey has always been my goal.

Go get it.  March into your “now”.  Own it.  Live it Sassy.

It is just plain more fun!

 

Best,

Sarah Felicity

LOVE

Love.

Simple.

Pure.

True.

Love thyself so you can feel how to truly love another.

Motivate out of love rather than fear.

It is impossible to be unhappy and grateful at the same time.

Be grateful.

Be compassionate.

Because it feels right.

Because it feels good.

Because it is easier.

Because you can.

 

Love Big,

Sarah Felicity

 

I wish you great Health in 2016

Our motto, mission, goal at The Redheads is to encourage everyBODY to live to their fullest potential.  We believe that to do that one must first feel great.  Then, they should have the support and tools to discover what their passion is, and then seek the opportunity to accomplish their goals, fueled by their passion and how great they feel!

How great we feel?  This is a biggie.  It is impossible for us to be our fullest, truest selves if our bodies are not to its top performance level.  We believe through whole foods, active lifestyles, passion driven goals, as well as a solid connection with community, one will feel the most fulfilled.  If we are distracted by our migraine, or achy joints, or rumbling belly, it is difficult for us to be at our best.  If we are stressed, or we do not make enough time for ourselves to connect, we can be disengaged from our bodies, or loved ones and from our work.

In my personal research as well as  working in the health field for over 20 years, I know that our gut is where it all begins.  I continue to learn about how gluten can effect our gut, and how being our own advocate to feel great isn’t always as easy as it sounds.  It has taken me constant study to figure out what foods are best for my body.  I am grateful for the resources and information, even when it seems overwhelming. Keep studying…keep looking as this practice of advocating for ourselves is a lifetime practice.  Also know that your friends here at The Redheads are doing the same and are dedicated to putting this research about healthy foods and how they affect you in to what we put in our products and how we produce them.

We are all in this together.  I wish you the BEST of health for 2016!  And remember that feeling great is not a luxury, so go get that massage, and buy that wee bit more expensive brand of granola, and go hiking with your kids…because you are worth it and when you do the best for you, you are giving the best gift to yourself, your loved ones, and the world!

Always,

Sarah Felicity

 

‘Tis the Season!

 

Our wood stove is furiously burning, our tree is up, the green, yellow, blue and red lights twinkling, while the wind is certain as it rolls off Lake Michigan and up over the bluff and to our home.  Even though there is no snow blanketing the ground, the holiday season is here!

In the hustle and bustle of making gifts for friends, finding a way to appreciate the kids teachers, and preparing food lists for festive meals, I am mostly taken by the little moments.  This morning I had a meeting at The Redheads at 8:30 am.  As I rolled over sleepy eyed, I saw that it was 8:05am and I was going to be late!  Wyn was in the living room full on playing with his legos as he is the first one always up an about in our house, while I heard nothing from Olive or Aaron as they were still nestled in bed.  I closed my eyes after realizing I had 10 minutes to get sorted to make my meeting, I took a few deep breaths.  I said a few affirmations about how I wanted to feel for the day and gently dragged myself out of bed.  It was a full day of meetings with bank and post office errands and all sorts of visitors in the Cafe…as Mondays typically go.

But what I was most mindful of was how sweet a day can go with the intentions set right.  Sure, I had a few moments when Annette and I were going through Quickbooks trying to figure out what needs to be paid and when that panic started rolling through my thoughts…”When is this check coming in?  How will we sort this situation?  Why aren’t these balances matching and what are we missing?”  And yes, when Aaron and the kids stopped in to say hello and I had 17 million things to accomplish, I began to become short because I really didn’t feel I had the time or attention to spare.  And of course, waiting in line at the bank for what seemed to be well over 10 minutes in our lil Lake Leelanau credit union got me thinking I may need to come back later.  But when it was all said and done, I brought myself back to what really matters.  The moment.

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Like the moment when Matt and Katie greeted me as I walked in the door at work.  Or the moment when Annette’s smiling face said “It’s all good” when I was a bit late for our meeting.  Or the hug Jessica and I shared after two hours of spinning around answering questions, making gift boxes, and finishing marketing meetings.  Or the sweet way Olive asked me for a small glass of OJ, or Wyn’s silly smile begging for a hot chocolate.  Or the way my Dad walked in the doors to give me an encouraging look, Christen popping over to use the loo with paint on her face from the remodel of her new yoga studio next door.  (Plumbing is off til tomorrow:) Or how Cathy, my Aunt, stops in to say hello and let us know that she is home for the holidays looking healthy and happy. Or the way my Mom swings in, sometimes several times a day to check in about my kids, or ask how I am doing.  Or the many customers that are bummed to not get Cafe food because it’s Monday and we are closed, but promise they will come back another day.  Or helping someone put together a last minute gift box for Christmas.  Or the moment I get home, already dark, and Aaron is cooking beet soup (yes!  beet soup!) and cleaning up the kitchen.  These are what this season is about for me.  As it is the shortest day of the year, embracing the light and the dark and how the moment is ever changing, I grab ahold and practice  appreciating the moment, living in the moment, and remembering the moment.

All my sister’s and their families are coming home,  Wyn’s birthday bash is the day after Christmas and I am looking forward to being with my family and friends in celebration of this beautiful time to be grateful and rejoice!

May your hearts be full of love and light, may your homes be full of family and friends, may your bellies be full of good wholesome foods, and may you continue to BE in the moment.

Always,

Sarah Felicity

 

 

WHO IS YOUR TEAM?

 

Who is your team?

TEAM:   “A group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project.”

Coming off the heals of winning the Class D  Volleyball State Championship as part of the coaching staff, surely the word team is echoing in my mind.  As an athlete/player in high school and college,  as a coach for 8 years, as a member of a family of 7 growing up along with a large extended family, as a part of a community through all stages of life, as a part of a 10 plus staff at The Redheads for almost 20 years, and as a mother of two kids & a wife in a partnership of 17 years, I have hugely depended on the value of what being a true team member means.  Every “team” I have been fortunate enough to be a part of  has deeply enriched my life and continues to encourage me to be my best self.

In high school, I was a part of several teams as I played volleyball, basketball & tennis, I was a part of student council, national honor society, and drama.  I was a class member, a community member.  The value of team in all of these arenas taught me about life lessons that have played through out my entire life.  Sports, in particular, seemed to impact me the most. Larry & Laurie Glass were mainly why.  They believed in me, in us, asking us to do the same. This is why I coach young women in volleyball and basketball.  The team aspect of sports asked me to dig deeper than I ever had before to reach a common goal.  It made me take a long look at myself, and most importantly, take a look at my fears and dare to over come them.  One of my most favorite mantras is to ask myself to motivate out of love as opposed to fear.  In motivating out of love, for myself first, then for those on my team, I was a part of teams that reached goals that many thought impossible.  We believed.  In ourselves.  In each other.  In our abilities.  In our goals.

This is what I saw this past weekend in the amazing Leland Varsity Volleyball team.  Maddie, Eva, ViAnna, Brennan, Julie, Rachel, Jennifer, Natalie, Taylor, Kira, Rowan, Allie & Ella accomplished so many incredible things over their 3- 6 plus years of dedication to Volleyball (and believe me, it was true-grit-all-out dedication), but on Saturday they were a  perfect and complete set of precious beings with a full set of complimentary skills to complete their goal to bring home the ultimate trophy, to have their names forever etched on the gym walls, to burn the ships and they had come to conquer.  I am filled with great admiration, inspiration and pure joy knowing that these amazing young women accomplished this goal and forever they will remember and know that they can and did.  They believed.  And I know that their belief in themselves and each other have impacted hundreds, even thousands of people…because that is what love does…spreads like wild fire, burning the fear.

So, to those graduated athletes that maybe made it to quarters, or semi’s or finals and didn’t quite get the final title, know that your dedication and determination helped these fine ladies find their way.  They wouldn’t have believed it was possible with out you showing them that it was…with out them believing it to be true it wouldn’t have been possible.  This is important for us all to remember in whatever we do as our choices do impact those around us and beyond.  The Friday, before State Finals last weekend,  Laurie shared a story about her Volleyball team in 1978 that brought home the first Leland Lady State championship.  Her story and her team helped fuel this years team to their victory, as it has helped pave the way to so many other accomplishments as well.  And the program that Laurie has developed as LHS is simply incredible.  Laurie, Jane, Travis, Beth, Gwen & Jen are my team and I am honored to be a part of such pure love:  for the game, for the girls, for the goals, & for the full set of complimentary skills needed to have such a joyous and successful program.  Yeehaw!

As far as my other teams:

My whole health team~ Flora, Marie, Kathi, Russ, Cathy, Michelle to start…

My community~ so many close dear friends, other special people whom have supported me in one way or other for years.

My family~Aaron, Olive, Wyn, Mom, Dad, Christen, Heather, Jacqueline, Elizabeth, Melissa, Jason, Edward, Tyler, Kelly, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins on all sides…

My dear Redheads crew~ Jessica, Craig, Chef, Matt, Katie, Kolene, Jenna, Kerry, Christen and all you wonderful summer staff.

Thank you for helping me grow, challenging me, asking me to be my best self.  I am grateful for each and everyone of your special individual skill sets that have incredibly, positively affected my life.

I ask gratitude be my carrier wave  that makes change, that manifests the difference I intend.

Thanks for the love y’all.  Living it Sassy is where it’s at!!!

Sarah Felicity