Nancy Neenan is a friendly entrepreneur with silvering hair and electric-purple framed glasses. She runs the shop by herself, moving from the antique store to the cafe as needed; in one she sells American Dolls and painted ceramic plates and a 1920's toy train, and in the other she sells cakes, Whoopie pies, and coffee. She says that there is a labor shortage in the area, meaning that anyone who wants to work can pretty much choose their wage, whether it's $16, $20, or $30.00 an hour; especially when it comes to line cooks and chefs; so until business is booming, she'll be on her own.
The bakery has only been open since Memorial Day, and she wants to do reservation dinners someday, but she doesn't want to be “just another restaurant” in North Conway, New Hampshire so she started a bakery first and plans to expand later. She's trying to figure out how to get people into her shop who will buy more than just a cup of coffee and hang out for hours; this is one reason that she doesn't offer Wifi.
She's been thinking about shipping pastries to people who want to buy them. If she ships them far (like to California), dry ice will keep them good for a few days; but barring that, “If I froze the items first, and brought them to the post office before they closed, they could get (to Dover or Portsmouth) the next day.” We pondered the likelihood of a person purchasing baked goods online, and then paying for shipping as well.
“Wicked Cupcakes in Boston sells cupcakes for $6 apiece,” she says, “So I'm trying to think outside the box.” Nancy believes that some people will pay for convenience. She is thinking about city people; “Imagine you want to make some brownies...some people don't have a car, and can't get to the grocery store. You have to lug around the flour and sugar to make it.” So why not have them shipped directly home?
Her mint chocolate-chip cupcakes were delicious, and had part of an Andes Mint stuck in the top. I can imagine Nancy selling cakes and pies during the biggest holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter. Maybe even from afar.
Nancy's favorite season is fall, because it offers the best weather and the best customers. Although she's very busy running both shops, Nancy has so many ideas and wants to do so many things, that she goes home at night with the intention of working on another angle of her shop, only to be so exhausted from working all day, that it's hard to focus; as it is for most of us.