Looking for a Sign

When we moved to our new building back in June 2009 I remember wondering how long it would take us to put up a sign on our building. The answer turned out to be one year and ten months. After doing some research we chose  Allied Electric Sign from Salt Lake. The were exceptional- reasonable cost, quick production, excellent quality and they came and installed it for us. I would not hesitate to recommend them or use them in the future.

This sign is about four times larger than the sign on our last building. One really nice thing is that we have good freeway visibility (south & north). People seem to have a much easier time finding us. Perhaps this is what contributes to the increased store traffic we’ve been seeing.

And now when customers come in they are greeted with a store, as opposed to the mess from just a year ago. We pushed the counters forward to corral customers in (I’m pretty sure I mentioned this in another post), built out shelves and quickly filled them.

These pictures are a diorama shot of the store as you walk in. There’s a lot of stuff and I think the overall feel is nice. Our cabinets will probably need to be replaced at some point  (pieces of the veneer are coming off and the lightning didn’t survive the move) but they do for now. It’s pretty exciting to see something in your head actually start to take shape.

Overall things are steadily evolving. We separated out some of the departments (i.e. order fulfillment & customer service) and I think that while initially difficult the long term result will be very beneficial. Below you can see our order fulfillment center.  We’ve expanded it a little from last year. Additionally we reorganized our warehouse a bit, but we’re actually starting to feel a space crunch. I don’t know how we would have survived if we hadn’t moved when we did. We’ve still got three years left on our current contract and so we’re trying to acquire the unit next to us so we don’t run out of room.

The customer service center is adjacent to the order fulfillment area. Right now this space is also shared partially by our product department. And we finally started using the space upstairs! We have (part of) our product team, our content & marketing and our programming department upstairs. Indeed, growth has been good (personally I find growth to be quite challenging. That will be a great topic for another post though…). 

I never thought I’d see the day where I could work in my office, but I’ve been spending more and more of my time there. Ive got a great crew, and – with regard to business – we’ve been very fortunate. There’s a lot on our plate this year, but I’m confident that we’ll do it all and then some.

www.bladehq.com, www.bladeplay.com, www.emergencymatters.com

Posted April 17, 2011 by Cam Hughes

Hong Kong Teahouse

I think I’ve eaten at every Chinese, Thai and Sushi restaurant in Utah Valley. When Fran announced that she wanted roast duck and that we had to go to Salt Lake to get it I was delighted. Nothing like expanding one’s culinary horizons. Her quest took us to the  Hong Kong Tea House in downtown Salt Lake. I have to admit that my initial impression wasn’t overly positive, but I’m willing to try any Chinese restaurant. And then I saw the daily special: ribeye steak stir fry. Fran got her duck, an order of bok choy and some shark fin soup.

The food presentation was captivating and the taste was extraordinary. The ribeye stir fry has been, by far, one of the best meals I’ve eaten in years. I asked about the availability and, sadly, it comes and goes (you can call ahead if you’d committed to this particular dish). If anyone is looking for a new Chinese food experience I’d readily recommend Hong Kong Tea House.

Posted April 13, 2011 by Cam Hughes

Sesame, the Rat

Last month we decided to get another Rat. I went to Petsmart on a Wednesday and prescreened the rats (they put them out on Saturday). One of them came right over to take a closer look at my hand and I knew she was the one. We went back Saturday and picked her up. We named the new rat Sesame and she was a blast right from the start.

More than anything she reminds me of a small dog. She’s actually very affectionate and loves to play. Fran has gotten especially attached to her and brings her into our bed to play in the evenings. The other night I asked her, “A month ago if I told you we were going to let a rat run around in our bed would you have believed me?” No way. I’ve said it before, it’s amazing how you can get so attached to a tiny “pest.” We’ve been much more careful this time around and I think Sesame is destined for a long happy life (as far as rat lives go). As weird as it feels to say it, a rat makes an excellent pet.

Posted April 12, 2011 by Cam Hughes

Health Reform Update

My journey has been filled with many peaks and valleys. Overall, making a lifestyle change has been incredibly challenging. I periodically cope with feelings of detestable donut desirings, incapacitating ice cream indulgences, and buffeting buffet buffoonery.  Last week I managed to injure my back and shoulder (I actually had Jillian Michaels appear in a dream and yell at me!). Bottom line, my efforts have been seriously derailed since my last update.

However, I am pleased to report that not all is lost. I actually met my weight loss goal on Apri l 10th: 249 pounds. I had hoped to be much further along, but I am happy with this small victory (especially considering that I don’t think I necessarily earned it). I think I’m fully healed up now, and so it’s time to put my shoulder back to the wheel. My new goal is 240 by May 9th. 29 days, 9 pounds (I’m secretly hoping I hit 239). Wish me luck!

Posted April 13th, 2011 by Cam Hughes

Going Home

For nearly the last two years I’ve had my Corvette parked at work. This was a mixture of convenience (not mine), protection (from my kids) and a high novelty factor (that quickly wore off). As I previously mentioned, keeping the car at work had some serious drawbacks (like the fact that I couldn’t use it very often). But work could use the room, the kids are older, and I need access to my car and so the time has finally come to bring my Corvette home.

My  biggest concern having the car at home is my kids. Behind the area where I would park my car is a door that leads to the backyard. That door is the one that the kids use to go in and out of the house all day (this gives them access to to the mudroom we put in last year). In the past walking by my car seemed to necessitate touching it, scratching it, climbing on the hood and other various forms of torture. So before I moved the car home I had to come up with a way to protect it, just in case. Shelves to the rescue.

After careful consideration I decided I could build a wall out of shelves. The wall creates nice wide walkway to the outside door, a cozy protected parking spot for my car and adds valuable storage space. While I was at it, I moved around some other shelves and our freezer. Overall I’d say the flow of our garage is actually enhanced.

I’m really looking forward to using my car more this coming spring. I just hope the weather improves. It seems like we have rain or snow five days out of every week.

Posted by Cam Hughes, April 09, 2011