Another Good Year
Another year of balancing accounts, keeping up with trends, ordering inventory, satisfying clients, and being your own boss (for better or worse) is in the books as we have bid adieu to 2018. For another year, I’ve had the great pleasure to meet some of this city’s finest and bravest people, the small business owners who keep our city’s economy humming.
In 2018 I met two sisters, Trinise Proster and Antoinette Bradford, new owners of Heavenly Bakery, who are slowly and painstakingly building their business one small step at a time. But they wouldn’t have it any other way, because each step brings their dream more alive.
And there was a post about a much more established bakery, John Gendusa Bakery in Gentilly, a family-run business for four generations. Monday through Saturday, the company bakes 2,000 to 3,000 loaves a day. Jason Gendusa, who co-owns the business with his father, John, said, “My great grandfather had the recipe posted on the wall in his office and he’d tell people, ‘Go ahead copy it. Take a picture of it because you’ll have the recipe, but you won’t be able to replicate it.’” It is some mighty tasty bread.
We said goodbye to some businesses and one store’s building burned to the ground.
On April 23, 2018, Canal Furniture Liquidators suffered a complete loss, but hit the ground running and went straight to work to get back up and running in its new location at 400 Jefferson Highway. “While our store may have burned, it only ignited our passion to become bigger and better than ever before,” said co-owner Holis Hannan on the store’s website.
And then there’s the store that I never knew about before I wrote about it, which is now my all-time-favorite place to spend money.
Harold's Plants could be called the Bywater’s own Longue Vue Garden. The store sells up to 300 orchids a week and perhaps 30 or so assorted herbs, vegetables and ornamentals a month to just me alone. I still believe a visit to Harold’s is about coming to a charmed sanctuary to enjoy its magic and horticultural allure; buying their cool stuff is almost incidental.
By a very wide margin the best quote this year came from Patrick Dunne, writer, antique dealer, historian, accomplished raconteur and owner of Lucullus: Culinary Antiques, Art and Objects He said: “To understand that someone sat in that chair, cooked with that copper pot or toasted loved ones with these crystal glasses, can fill you with a wonderful nostalgia of comfort. And I believe the love of beauty has a civilizing effect and we need that now more than ever.”
This past year, sharing the stories of these many small businesses has been so awe inspiring. I look forward to sharing more in 2019. And, as always, if you know of an interesting small business or a charming business owner, please pass it on to me. Happy New Year to all.