Cheese Lovers Newsletter (12.18.2020): Merry Christmas!
Good Evening Cheese Lovers!
We just went to a great Christmas light display and got away from cheese for a few hours. But, the love has pulled us back here. To you. And emails… but we digress.
What a week. Hopefully, you’ve been able to enjoy our cheese this week if you’re reading this…. And if not, next week. For us, it was one of the craziest and most successful weeks of our short history, thanks to awesome employees, well-maintained equipment (thanks to our contractors: electrician, plumber, a vendor named Jerry, whom drops off our softener salt by hauling it down into the tunnel even though he doesn’t have to, our HVAC specialist and many others!).
For us, COVID has changed many things for the worse and many others for the better. You don’t have to think hard to figure out why e-commerce is up crazy this year, including at Redhead Creamery LLC. While we were always happy to ship cheese before 2020, but today our regular customers aren’t seeing friends and family, plus many of you have told your friends and family about us. And, we’ve had some fun news in the past year like launching our delivery service and taking home a Good Food Award Finalist spot (which we hope turns into a Good Food Award Winner in January).
We are a 6+ year old company, and e-commerce order #1 through our website placed in 2015 and #1000 through our website was on December 17 of last year. On December 17 this year, we hit #3691 at the end of the day.
But, if you think we’re new at this and running our e-commerce platform on shoe string and scotch tape, you’d be mostly correct. We are making it work, but it’s a much better system for 2019 – a few orders a week – than 2020 – with a few hundred orders last week. We’ve added a storage shed and walk-in cooler to better prepare ourselves, but we’ve already made notes on where and how to improve. It’s working well, but we’ve got room to improve. So, we really want to thank all our customers for their grace and forgiveness. It has been extraordinary, the forgiveness we have seen for the few errors we’ve had - that’s also a big kudos to our staff! We don’t have many mistakes.
But we do want to know a couple things people often don’t know, and frankly we likely didn’t realize until being on this end of the orders screen:
You’re credit card is safe, but not with us! We don’t have anyone’s credit card information. We rely on our e-commerce provide to keep that in super secure lockdown mode. There’s never 100% perfection guarantee of security and privacy as we’ve seen in recent years, but we do not have a bunch of numbers floating around on our computers (or post it notes). So, when people ask us to just “add something on” – we can do that but we must ask you to enter your card through the secure site again.
There’s no such thing as free shipping. Amazon has trained us that “free” is normal. We are happy to offer free on a few products and don’t regret doing that, but someone is paying for it – whether through our own fuel and time or through paying a carrier. The people we’ve disappointed the most with this “no free shipping” problem are those in faraway lands like Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, California and Hawaii. UPS gives us the best rate they can (and we ask for even better ones), and it is often going to cost $45+ to get it there in a few days. Shipping costs have risen quickly this year (see paragraph two above on e-commerce growth) and that’s exactly why we’re excited to continue offering our delivery van service to keep them inexpensive for our local folks, while also keeping cheese at refrigerator temperature.
We are TINY! We do like being tiny though, it allows us to move fast… but it also has its limitations at times. For example, if you order a one-pound wedge of cheese that we’ve been selling a lot of lately, we might have it ready to go. Or, it might be a few days until we feel that wheel of cheese is ready, and we need to cut it, seal it, and then send it. So, we have variability again and try to communicate to get our best stuff to you. We also have the aforementioned wonderful staff. But they have families, and stuff, and evidently like to sleep at least 3 to 4 hours a night. So, some days it is just a couple people working in the plant, and other days we get to call in our former intern with a full staff and have over 10 working at a time. But, this can delay your stuff, or make it get there really fast if we get it in the van at just the right time.
Again, our customers have been so forgiving, so we thank you very much!
We are making cheese Monday, shipping everything by Tuesday, and the cheese van will go out Wednesday and Thursday if needed. Last week we planned the van to be out two days, and it kind of turned into four. Oops! Thank you all for making us work! 😉
We’ve been able to catch up on some of the short cheeses and we should have most kinds of cheese still available through this week, with a full stock by next week. So, order away, by 11:59 p.m., Monday!
Question of the week – I heard there was a dry ice shortage due to the vaccines and that was going to hurt cheese sales, are you ok?
Yes, we’re ok. It appears all cheese is okay. It wasn’t just us, but the entire food industry was at risk because frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice is just frozen carbon dioxide) is used throughout the food industry. But in our world, some more sensitive cheese bacterial cultures need dry ice when sending. Ours don’t, so we’ll be ok. And, it appears the industry has agreed to hold enough dry ice for food and still will have enough for the vaccine. So, crisis averted!
We don’t ship with dry ice due to safety factors, so besides the relatively few things coming to us in dry ice, we’re good with ice packs.
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We’ll cut it off there for this week. Order by Monday at 11:59 p.m. to be in our delivery van on Wednesday or Thursday, or order UPS and we’ll ship it just as soon as we can.
Until next time, which will probably be in two or three weeks as we celebrate Christmas and New Year's with our families,
Alise, Linda, Jerry and Lucas