Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Holland America

No, this is not about the once proud vessels that aeons ago ferried businessmen in hats between Rotterdam and Hoboken but now drag gluttonous suburbanites from port to port, occasionally poisoning them.

This is about the new and awesome Dutch import - the bakfiets.

A bakfiets, or box-bike, is a bicycle used by Dutch families to do the job of the station wagon, the minivan, or the SUV. Apparently, the bakfiets was once king of the road in Dutch cities, until everyone got a car. It has been coming back in a major way, fueled by small builders like Fietsfabriek, who offer amazing quality and a spiffed-up look.

Fietsfabriek is now in Chicago, and there is even a local website - www.defietsfabriek-usa.com or the ever so topical www.defeatsthecar.com

Jon of Fietsfabriek USA, the brilliant businessman and trusting soul that he is, lent a bakfiets to my family for a weekend.

That weekend, we were here, we were there, we were everywhere with our shiny new fire-engine red bakfiets, We were in the park, on the bikepath, and on the streets. It became fun to go to faraway playground, because we no longer had to be stuck in traffic, or look for parking.

Most importantly, the girls loved it. There were even minor tantrums when we tried to take them out of it. There must be something about being out in front that makes the ride so much more fun. It's like the passenger is in control without having to do the work.

The Netherlands is a small waterlogged country where doing more with less is part of the culture. Nowadays, when we are running out of space for driving and parking in our cities, it only makes sense to turn to a Dutch invention. Chicago, with its flat terrain, is a perfect place to start.

Keep your eyes peeled for a promo event for Fietsfabriek at Stella some time in September.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

No More Scones

Yes, read this and weep.

The other day, Brian, the owner of SconeWild and the man behind our delicious scones, stopped by to announce that he was moving to the West Coast and suspending production of scones until further notice. We will be receiving our final delivery of scones on August 20th.

We have changed suppliers, vendors, and products before, but this is different. We have had these scones from the very beginning, and they have always been our strongest seller.

SconeWild is exactly the kind of company we imagined we would deal with when we were opening the shop. The Scones are simple, good, with real berries and chocolate. Brian did not introduce any twists to scones as they normally are - he just made them better. I always got a kick out of seeing customers' mouths twitch, signaling disapproval, the first time I offered them a scone, only to see the same face again later whenever we ran out of those scones.

Well, you have another week in a half, and then we are cutting you off. There are rumors swirling around of a mail order operation in the future, but nothing is certain. So horde up now, before it is too late.

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