We're all in this together....

We're all in this together.

This is a great perspective to have in so many areas of life. As a new small business owner, I am more attuned to the realities of running a business. I am too "green" to even suspect that I completely know what I am doing, and I can see that it may be the same for anyone who takes a chance and sets out to start something they are passionate about, whether or not they are sure of success.

It's all about the "almighty dollar," right? Sure. It could be in the long run. But what about when that almighty dollar serves more than just the business owner? What if it incites employees who serve to gain from a successful business as well? I have heard of this kind of salary plan once before in Appleton at a small business that I believe provides value and great service to this community. In fact, I happen to be a regular there!

My visit to Appleton's newest gastropub, the Appleton Beer Factory, this Saturday night for my 11th year anniversary, got me thinking about this business model. From what I understand, many very passionate people got together and planned, and planned some more, and took their time getting things just so. They did not just go and get a loan from a bank and build out a space in a month. They set out to raise money and come up with a viable plan wherein others who contributed would have a vested interest in its success. Wow! I was impressed. And a huge success it is and, I believe, will remain.

First off, thanks for opening something that far up the College Avenue strip. Talk about a hip place that will bring life (back) (I haven't lived here long enough to know) to that part of town. 

Second, good taste! It seems everything was chosen carefully. From the gorgeous woodworking on the ceiling, to the recycled steel furnace doors on the brick facade of the bar wall. Nice touch!

I walked in to the Appleton Beer Factory for the very first time Saturday night after a long, brisk walk, hand in hand, with my husband from our City Park area home. (Appleton Police Department are serious about the drunk driving laws and I knew I was in for some really delicious beer. I was not planning to stop at ONE!!)

It felt as if I had stumbled into a beautifully foreign land with so much beauty to imbibe. I could not stop looking all around me. I was mesmerized by the enormous shiny beer "thingys" (what are they called?) in back behind the bar area. I felt like some kind of rebel as I sauntered through the eating area to observe men in work clothes actually brewing beer while people dined in the huge open space beside them, separated only by a low metal dividing rail. Talk about form meeting function! It was beautiful. From the corrugated metal door hanging on a barn door slider to the kitchen area cordoned off behind beautiful antique looking windows. It was a masterpiece to behold.

We wandered around quite self consciously as though we were exploring places we were not meant to roam. However, I guess that was the owners' intent because no one reprimanded us or even looked at us crooked. It felt nice to be privy to everything, no holds barred.

We waited at the bar and ordered a flight of beer so we could try them all before settling on a favourite to fill an entire pint with. Four dollars! That's all it set us back. All four beers were delicious and the food that sat splayed across the bar that other patrons were enjoying all looked well presented and in copious amount.

We had to wait a while for our table but, that's to be expected in a place that is new and everyone wants to try. It was crowded. My hope is they will stay this busy even after the shiny newness wears off to become a patina of dependability and elegance that will stand the test of time. I truly believe it will.

Our waitress was one of the kindest women we have ever met. (She is also an investor, I was told!) She even gracefully laughed off my attempt at humour when I tried to place my credit card in her mouth because her hands were full of licked clean plates. You know the food is amazing when you catch yourself drinking the salad dressing (buttermilk ranch) like it is soup! 

Oh and they had this menu item...an egg. A pickled egg with hot sauce. One dollar! It was delectable. Who'd of thought. A hard boiled egg! I found myself craving those things on Sunday afternoon. Next time I might order a dozen of those for a meal!

We waited a long time for our meal to come. But, again, this was not a bother since we were out to enjoy a leisurely dinner and we were inclined to enjoy a few beers. That is to be expected when there are probably still lots of kinks to work out in what I suspect will become a well-oiled machine of an eatery. Even our seat beside the front door was not an issue despite the frigid cold temperature outside. These people thought of everything. The outside entry door faces into a small vestibule which is perpendicular to the entrance to the eating area, thus preventing any semblance of a draft. Smart!

Everything about our experience was delightful and a great way to celebrate our anniversary. It is nice to see a business, much like mine (although, of course, on a much larger scale) in that it is just starting out, just taking its first steps and just going for it with reckless abandon. Dreams and passion are surely the fire that fuels a business and a collaborative community is the lubricant that keeps the gears moving smoothly even when confronted with a few kinks here and there. It's all about your attitude. That's what I like about the thought that these people put in their own time and effort to create something that will touch the hearts and palettes of our city and beyond. They are all in it together. And there is (in the words of one of my business mentors and a lovely woman in general) "plenty for everyone."

All my best to the Appleton Brewing Factory! Check 'em out!!