Susanna Prince
Crackerjack Contemporary Crafts Newsletter
Celebrating the Handmade since 1986
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Things to Celebrate
April Showers
Quick Links
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Issue: # 20   April 2010

As I mentioned last time, we have forayed into the world of Facebook, and what a world it is - still confusing to me, but well...

Anyway, become our Friend and join our Fan Pages by April 22 to be notified of Facebook-only frequent give-aways, drawings, special sales, discounts and whatever else we can dream up to have fun, and celebrate our loyal customers!

So if you're not on Facebook yet, here's the incentive you've been waiting for! 

At the very bottom of this email is a coupon for Zents that can be used both in the store and on our website, so don't miss it.


                               Concretas by Zents           Pear Zents Eau de Toilette                    


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                     Our Hours


        Monday through Saturday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
          Sunday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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 Upcoming Events

The Wallingford Farmers Market resumes on Weds. toward the end of May.

or those of you who have not been to the Center recently, we have welcomed three new stores!

Izilla Toysgave Wallingford Center a try for the holiday season and has decided to stay. Their brightly lit orange and green space is filled with all sorts of toys, both the familiar and unique.

Peron's Closetis a beautifully appointed Children's Clothing Store which features new and gently used clothing through size 6.

Fabric Crushis a new fabric store located in the southwest corner of the building. Stop in to see all the beautiful fabric to fall in love with!


Things to Celebrate!

April 1 - April Fool's Day
              National Sourdough Bread Day

April 2 - World Autism Day - we carry some lovely cards, made by a good customer who                        donates 100% of the proceeds to Autism Research

April 3 - National Find a Rainbow Day

April 4 - Easter - Closed

April 7 - World Health Day
              National Coffee Cake Day - now, I could eat coffee cake and coffee all day long!

April 8 - National Empanada Day - I had never heard of an empanada until I was in college
                  and my family was the host family for a student from Ecuador. Carlos and his
                  friends introduced my family to many great foods - fried plantains, empanadas,
                  seviche - and also soccer!

April 11 -Dandelion Day - I'm not really sure dandelions are something to celebrate, but they
                    are cheerful looking!

April 12 -
National Licorice Day
                D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) Day - I remember this from my son's
                    elementary years. I think I will make a point of doing this myself. Usually I don't
                    read until everything else is done - granted, I don't get much reading in!

April 14 - National Be Kind to Lawyers Day - how odd to have a specific day, not to celebrate,
                    or honor, but to be kind to! Actually the lawyers I know all seem to be very nice
April 15 - Leonardo Da Vinci's Birthday

April 16 - National Eggs Benedict Day - my favorite high calorie, high sodium, high cholesterol

April 17 - Daffy Duck Debuted in Warnr Bros. cartoon 1937
                My Sister Marianne's Birthday
                Ford Mustang Day

April 19 - Boston Marathon Day
                Our Sales Associate Jane's Birthday

April 22 - Earth Day! 40 Year Anniversary!

April 23 - Talk Like Shakespeare Day

April 26 - National Pretzel Day - when I first met my husband's family, I was inducted into
                 the appreciation of pretzels. Not the hard sticks in the bag, or the greasy leathery
                 soft pretzels at the gas station, but light, warm, chewy pretzels with Kosher salt,
                 baked that morning. My father-in-law had grown up in Ann Arbor, and there was a
                 bakery there, Star Bakery, that had wonderful baked goods. On Saturdays they
                 would make German pretzels that were amazing! And they would be sold out by
                 11 a.m. So we would order ahead, and drive to Ann Arbor for the day, eating
                 pretzels, but saving enough to take home. They were the best! The closest we've
                 found here in Seattle are made by Morningstar Bakery which just wholesales now,
                 but they're available at Whole Foods.

April 27 - Write An Old Fried Today Day

April 29 - National Shrimp Scampi Day
                Poem in Your Pocket Day - see one below!


April Showers

If April showers do bring May flowers, we should be in for a beautiful May! We know it's spring in Seattle when we can have sleet, sun, rain and thunder all in one day. Just wait a minute, and it will change.


Change, I know, is a part of life, even though I don't do it very easily. Next month we will celebrate our 24th Anniversary. After twenty-four years in business, it gives me pause to ponder on the changes I've seen, just from my vantage point of being a very small business.


Twenty-four years ago I kept my inventory records on columnar sheets, a sheet for each artist. We would check items off as they were sold. When I had the electricity put in, I had them put four outlet boxes in along the window wall - I had a ten-key calculator, so I was planning for the future - some lamps, maybe? All our orders were written out, xeroxed, one copy mailed, the other went into a binder until we received the order. We handwrote a sales ticket, figuring tax with the ten-key, and making change the old-fashioned way - using our brains! And it all worked just fine.


In late 1987, I decided to buy a computer to help with some of these tasks. My friend Kathie's brother was going to be visiting from L.A. where they were having price wars, so he bought my computer there and then brought it up with him on the plane. It was a state of the art Mac Plus. It had one megabyte of RAM. Soon we had all our inventory records in a database, and could do all sorts of reports, and print them out on the daisy printer I had bought at the same time. About this time I began to run out of outlets, but there were these all-important surge strips that had several outlets in each, so it was all good!


Soon someone was spending almost their whole work shift entering changes into the database, so I looked for a point of sale program I could run on a Mac. Of course, I needed more memory, so I traipsed over to Bellevue, computer and toddler in hand, to upgrade to four megs of Ram. My son and I hung out at Bellevue Mall at the play area for a few hours while this miracle of technology took place! It was a great program, once I was able to import all our inventory records into it, and made things much easier.


At about this time, more and more people were asking if we had a fax. And I realized this was the way business was being conducted, so I bought a used one from someone who needed some newer features. It not only required an outlet, but something for the phone line, I think it was called a switcher, that would signal the phone to ring if it was an incoming call, or the fax machine to receive an incoming fax. Another thing to plug in! Now the fax machine has never ceased to amaze me, the way it seems to squeeze the words off the page. And I really like the noises it makes, especially the one when it's all finished. So we were saving a lot of time getting our orders to the artists, money making copies, plus the paper of the copies - progress all around!


In the intervening years, we have added a second phone line so two of us could make calls at the same time, or receive a fax while a phone line was engaged, and most importantly, so we could be processing a credit card sale. For years, I know you all remember, we would imprint the credit card with that machine - I called it "the runner over thing". The customer would sign it, we would have to call and get authorization from the credit card processor if it was over $50.00, and then at the end of the day, deposit the hard copy with the bank, and keep the middle copy with our days' paperwork. With the new machine we could just swipe the card, have the receipt signed, and the money would be electronically deposited. How sweet!


So over the years, we've seen so much change technologically! I have become an "Extension Cord Queen", I now carry a laptop to and from work, and am looking at a printer/fax/copier combo. I am not completely convinced that all the technology has made our lives easier - I think it has made it easier for us to work at any time, and from any place. I think that the fact that we can generate a report makes us inclined to do so, and then to print it, and then having printed it, we feel obligated to disseminate it and store it. But it is here to stay, and will continue. And I will struggle to stay relatively up-to-date, and choose to try to use technology to work more efficiently, and not more. To use it to work for me.


Meanwhile, I try to keep all the power cords disentangled and to embrace change. But I still have my Mac Plus on the closet shelf in my home office. Any takers?


Next Month: It's Our Birthday!

Have a lovely month, and stay dry!

Kathleen Koch
Crackerjack Contemporary Crafts

Thank You for your continued patronage of a local independent business and for supporting American handmade!

A Poem for your Pocket

Courtesy of Jane, who remembers this from childhood:

     Spring is sprung
     Grass is ris.
     Little flower,
     Where you is?

Save 2o% off your entire Zents purchase!
                      Online or In Store!

Print out and present this coupon at time of purchase if buying in store. For online purchasing enter Coupon Code 1258257067. Offer Expires: April 30, 2010. Can not be combined with other offers. Customer Appreciation Card will not be stamped for purchase.