With all the excitement around the student workshops and evening worship (our 18th begins tonight), thought a little update on the actual Cafe is in order.
Dema, Sveta and our students (including Bronwyn) have done a stellar job keeping things moving. We’ve had increased business with the Americans here obviously, but also more students are coming through the afternoons, and our lunches and dinners are really peaking. We’re averaging around 300-400 visitors per week, which is back up to our pre-Christmas numbers. The Hrvnya is still hurting, and our prices although increased to balance some of the inflation, are still not high enough to make a profit. However, we are paying our staff, paying for our products, and only falling short monthly about $500 (if nothing breaks, which is mostly for utilities and taxes).
Last week we had an emergency Coffee Machine service call from Kiev, our system sounded like it was about to explode – fortunately, it just needed to be cleaned and $200 later (took the guy 6hrs to tear it all down and clean) it’s humming along again. The cost of keeping caffeine flowing 🙂
With the summer here, and it being our first spring/summer, there’s a lot of excitement in the air when the weather is warm. People come in with more smiles, and we’re pumping out the ice cream like it’s going out of style. Our main ice cream offering is a banana split and our signature ‘lighthouse sundae’. See below for a little video how it’s made.. in super speed by Sveta.
We are still looking for cones.. we’ve got to start selling regular ice cream cones.. but it’s surprising (shouldn’t be!) how challenging it can be to find quality, crunchy, and tasty cones here.. oh, and affordable!
We still don’t have gas, nor pizza. We’re weekly contacting the ‘permit’ department in another town, which was supposed to provide us with the documents (we paid 2,000hrv for them legally) a month ago. I know Dima calls regularly, and its always ‘soon, soon’. Supposedly the final step in this 2yr saga, but we’re so busy right now it’s not bothering me – I’d be happy to run the summer without pizza and continue to refine what we do offer – which isn’t much, but has us on our toes, particularly without a cook.
The reputation of the Cafe among families, mom’s, and tourists is catching on more and more. Yesterday 5 huge lumbering hunters came in, rifles and backpacks.. I was a bit nervous at first because they were wearing some camo, but soon realized they were just a bunch of young boys in adult bodies – they all ordered ice cream, then espresso to wash it down 🙂 We have several requests for birthday parties – people want to reserve our Cafe or spaces – which we aren’t doing. We don’t want to interrupt the regular customers, but when it’s slow we have been letting them come early and hold down some tables – it’s a favorite among 8-10yr old little girls – they come and stay for hours.. it’s cute, but also really loud and messy. The parents are always very cordial and thankful for our staff and facilities.
Generally we are extremely happy with the Cafe, the customers, the friends we are making weekly. Our staff is still being stretched and find it hard already to implement new routines.. the death of business if we don’t remain agile. It’s amazing how quickly we get ‘set’ in our ways and like our rhythms. Lord help us always to want to grow, learn and not find solitude in mediocrity. I think that is just a Kingdom principle, applies to family, church, business, personal growth.. hockey!
We hope to finally wrestle Pepsi into giving us promised tables and chairs for our deck. It’s frustrating that I can’t seem to get any help when it’s an American company.. I’ve tried contacting the US offices, then Kiev.. they seem to only help the Kiev cafes and don’t help the smaller towns – shame on you Pepsi for ignoring the little guys! Write your local Pepsi congressman.
We have a bit set aside for some benches on the deck, but if Pepsi doesn’t come through, we may ask our friends to partner with us and get some furniture out there – we would love to host some concerts out there before the group leaves, and generally use this space more now that the weather is great – such a prime location, more folks to draw in and meet.
We’re extremely thankful for those supporting $25/mo, which is only a couple friends at the moment but makes such a difference for us. If you’d be able to join our Cafe supporters, we’d very much accept your help! You can give one time or monthly via Paypal on our Donation Page – I think some people assume we have everything we need, but the reality is we also live month to month like most of you, especially this last year, trusting God for personal needs, mixed right in with this Cafe – God continues to provide, but it’s oft’ overwhelming and keeps us in prayer. No contribution is too small to make a difference.
Blessings to you all out there –