This week’s edition of 5 Things™ contains fewer photos, fewer hyperlinks, fewer pop-culture references, and a higher word-count. That’s just how I’m feeling this week. Therein is the power of blogging.
- Imagine Canal Park comes to a close! The Option 1 temporary reconfiguration of Canal Park entered its final week and Imagine Duluth 2035 has given the public a chance to clap back. Whether you loved it, hated it, or couldn’t care less about it, there is a survey here that you should definitely take. Trust me when I say I know people love to share their opinions on things. This is a great opportunity to do that as constructively as you choose. (Breaking news: Option 1 is gone! Buchanan Street is back! My coworker informed me of this just as I was about to publish the post.)
- Best of the Wurst reflection! Northern Waters Smokehaus made our debut appearance at the Sociable Ciderworks “Best of the Wurst” event, and in our modus operandi, we were doing something a little bit different than everyone else. A lot of talented sausage-makers brought their A-game to the event, and we spared ourselves a lot of set-up and tear-down time by bringing a fine selection of dry-cured salumi, alongside sliced cold Polish sausage, andouille and a selection of cheeses. We took second place in a category of two, so you can just interpret that however you’d like, but you know we’re not out here for the prizes. We just love sharing our awesome food with everyone everywhere.
- The William A. Irvin was moved! You know the one—that big ol’ red freighter that has been moored in Canal Park longer than our business has been here. Turns out it is high-time for some infrastructural updates and cleaning of its house. The types of citizens who enjoy spending their chilly Tuesday nights wrapped in blankets, watching the slower-than-paint-drying progress of large boats being tugged away turned out in droves to watch the three-hour spectacle. The 611-foot ship, which has no propulsion mechanism of its own, currently resides at the Fraser Shipyard in Superior, WI while the renovations are underway.
- Duluth had its rainy season! Surely no one who has spent more than a few minutes of time in Duluth is surprised, but the weather was something else this week. During the time I have spent composing this post, I have seen sunshine, sun showers, cloudy skies, cloudy rainy skies, and now that weather phenomenon that pessimists and optimists will eternally debate calling partly-cloudy or partly-sunny. On one hand, I love the lulls our shop experiences on inclement days, and there is something very soothing about the web-like water trails cascading down our windows; on the other hand, many of my coworkers bike and walk to work, so I feel bad for them—I will certainly be keeping my distance from those early-Autumn colds they catch.
- Our 20th Anniversary Celebration takes place tomorrow! Regular readers of this column know I have been scraping by on rehashed stories and different angles on the same topics for a few weeks now, but for those arriving at this page for the first time, here’s the scoop. Officially, sometime in November of this year, Northern Waters Smokehaus turns 20 years old, and that is pretty cool, to say the least. Normally, this time of the year we have a big private party to celebrate ourselves by eating and drinking like royalty, but in honor of this momentous occasion, we have elected to bring it to the people. If not for you, our beloved customers, we wouldn’t be here, so we want you to share in the festivities. If you find yourself compelled to come mingle and hobnob with us and ours, we heartily encourage you to swing by Hoops Brewing from 5-8pm (all ages—free food* and beer in limited quantities), and the Rex Bar from 830-whenever it ends (free music in limitless quantities). Both events are free, open to the public, and sure to be a blast. (Note: to facilitate maximum revelry for our employees, we’ll be closing our deli down at 4pm this day).
That’s all for this week’s 5 Things™. As always, I hope you have enjoyed yourself, and leave here feeling educated and enriched. It is a joy writing for you.
*Rumor has it we’ll be serving the infamous Northern Waters Restaurant Lake Trout Chowder. Back by popular demand.
Perhaps you’re a regular reader of this blog, or perhaps this is your first time. Either way, I’ll begin by saying that, by and large, most weeks at NWS end up being very similar—we work the grind. Exciting stuff happens around here so often that the extraordinary ends up feeling pretty ordinary. As such, I usually default to some sort of cheekiness in my introductions to this blog. It livens up the writing process for me. However, I’ve had a realization that some of these seemingly mundane happenings in my workplace might actually be more interesting than I had previously realized, and that maybe I take for granted working one of the coolest jobs I have had/one of the coolest jobs to be had. So, with that, here’s five things that are either pretty rad, or that I’m going to spin into radness, that happened on or around this week.
- We got a new POS! For the uninitiated, that’s point-of-sale, not piece of [excrement], though sometimes technology feels like that, doesn’t it? Xevious Stevenson, our awesome Client Success Manager (nabbed that title from his business card, since it seems very fitting, considering the work he put in on our transition day) spent a very full workday installing the system, fielding our plentiful (excessive?) questions, reprogramming the system to our specifications, and cracking jokes alongside us as if he had been a part of our team for years. Transitioning to the new system happened on a very busy Thursday, so we’re grateful to our customers for bearing with us. Our hope is this new system allows us to fully integrate all of our departments seamlessly, to limit the confusion between our several distinct departments we have recently come to know. As a nearly five-year employee, I have been amazed every year by our continuous growth and success. Hard work and commitment to quality appears to pay off, friends.
- We have new employees! I’m not sure how shy they are yet, so I’m not going to start dropping names to the masses, but it seems like we’re hiring the cream of the crop. New coworkers are great, because they tend to have very positive outlooks on what a jaded, bitter old soul like me considers tedious work. All jokes aside—cough*where’s the joke?*cough—it’s great to have more hands on deck, because the workload has not slowed down for us here at Northern Waters. It’s also always exciting to add to the wall of heights.
- We have a tomato surplus! Inventory/ordering/production is a challenging speculative enterprise. Sometimes you’re slotted in a tight barrel of tomato-heavy salads, sauces, and sandwiches, and the next week you realize the weekend crew was totally skunked, and now there’s twelve full racks of tomatoes and nowhere to put half of them. Yes, I just googled surfing slang, and no, there will be no glossary at the back of the book. Anyway, I was very amused by my coworkers’ reactions when the order came in on Monday, doubling our tomato supply. Today, the prep department has been hard at work on a 160-sandwich pickup order, so hopefully that puts a dent in the inventory. And if it doesn’t, I’m crossing my fingers for the return of Meatball Mondays at NWS. Relevant to the topic, here’s a favorite song of mine. The only thing that’s wrong with it is its <2 minute duration.
- Olivia sliced a ton of bacon and was pretty excited about it! To be honest, there’s a few people I’ve met in my life who probably dream about slicing and handling this much bacon, so her excitement doesn’t surprise me. This is part of the Sisyphean preparation for the infamous Mail-Order Season, which never really ends, but has vague terminal points in the middle of November and the beginning of January. Back to the bacon—she even provided me with a photograph. Enjoy.
- We are on the cusp of two awesome weekends! As I have previously mentioned, this weekend we are heading down to Best of the Wurst, hosted by Sociable Ciderworks. That in itself is pretty cool, but I have no doubts the following weekend is going to top it. On September 29th, at Hoops Brewing and then at Rex Bar, we are throwing a big ol’ public hootenanny to celebrate twenty years of smoking something (mostly fish and meats). There will be free food (provided by us), free beer (provided by us in conjunction with Hoops), and free music (provided by bands featuring members of our team—curated by myself, Greg the H.R. wizard, and dynamic design duo Jacob and Zac). We’ll be closing the shop’s doors at 4pm, so that all of our employees can party down with you. I didn’t know Eric when he began this business, but just a few moments of interacting him will give you an insight into how proud he is of this little deli.
So, there you have it. Count ‘em up, because you just got six things (and some slick anecdotes) for the price of five. That’s what they call extra value. See you at next week’s five things blog, unless my in-progress exposé on bison pastrami, or the first installation upcoming Practical Guide to Northern Waters Smokehaus series hits the web first, or if you come in and talk to me while I’m working in the deli. Anything is possible if you follow your dreams.