Madame Chocolat’s Blog:
My Beloved Chocophiles,
The build-out of the shop is coming along nicely! Things are moving fast now and we are even talking “final inspections” this coming week!!! Can you even imagine? We are trying like the dickens to be open by the 14th and the way things are going, we just might make it! However, I will not make those kinds of promises just yet. I know that the BCBR and Westword had mentioned today, the 7th, as our opening date, but that will not be possible. It is surely not because we haven’t tried.
Some people have mentioned to me how overwhelming and crazy things seem to feel during this stage of a build-out, but in some weird way, I feel very much at home! I think a reason I resonate with the construction trade so much is that, in many ways, it is not entirely unlike baking and pastry. C’mon! Building a wedding cake is as much about structural engineering as it is flavor profiling, let me assure you! Drywall mud and the tools involved in sheet-rock are similar to spatulas and icing. When I temper chocolate on a marble slab, one of my tools to keep it moving is a stainless steel “mud knife”. The panner attachment I use for chocolate covered nut dragees – the guy who invented it took the idea from a concrete mixer – I am sure (minus the Archimedes screw mechanism).
Although I am very, very busy and I don’t always get to everything on the daily to-do list, huge progress has and continues to be been made.
I don’t know how to explain this exactly, but someone somewhere is looking out for me and placing the right people in my life at the right time. When I needed guidance on business planning, SCORE found me. When I needed a commercial real-estate broker, Michael Ruiz found me and when I needed super great commercial contractor with oodles of downtown Boulder and restaurant experience that would nurture my vision and put up with all the craziness that comes with me, Robb Weins
(pronounced Whines) of Weins Construction came into my life. Thank goodness!
Originally from New Jersey, Robb has been a contractor in Colorado for almost 30 years. He has worked on so many other famous Boulder venues. I feel so fortunate to have him working on my space! He is such a pleasure to work with! I have also appreciated not being treated like a girly-girl on my own job-site. I am right there in the thick of everything – it couldn’t be any other way for me.
I think the reason I like him so very much, is that we are similar in many ways. He a perfectionist to the nth degree and, like myself, he is a smidgeType A personality with a high metabolism. He is always thinking ahead to the next task. He is not one of these contractors that only directs – he jumps right in and, most of the time, works circles around everyone else. Everything about Robb is fast! He not big on long-winded conversations (they take too much time!). His quick wit and sense of humor have kept me smiling through this whole process! Often, I find myself chuckling about some remark he made minutes, if not hours, later. Robb is refreshingly straightforward and blunt, cutting to the chase with worm-drive saw. Keep up, people, or get out of the way!!!
And, Mr. Weins has such a sense of style with his twinkly eyes and short sleeve button down plaid shirts. I have never known a carpenter to dress so nicely for work. Even when he is covered in dust and drywall mud is in his hair and eyebrows, he still seems dressed up. Is that an east coast thing, I wonder?
Robb is a “can-do” guy. In fact, there hasn’t been anything yet that Robb can’t do. What a great attitude! He once described himself to me as the MacGyver of the construction trade and I would have to agree 100% with that! If something has needed to get done, he figures it out and it gets done – no weining, not ever (sorry Robb – I just had to throw that in!). Take Saturday, for instance. We had a little trouble getting the new HVAC system fired up. Robb was determined to figure it out before this new storm rolled in. He tried this and that and eventually rigged it with a fuse from his truck. Voila! It worked! He immediately skedaddled to McGuckins to get an “official” fuse. Problem solved!
Part of Robb’s magic is that he has such a valuable network of other highly skilled and valuable people from which to draw from. Gregg has been Robb’s main go-to carpenter on my job-site. Gregg is highly skilled and also seems able to do most any job. I see Gregg and Robb daily, probably more than their own family’s see them these days. Izzy comes to help out on the weekends and he, too, has such a fantastic work ethic. Robb has very high standards and he makes no excuses otherwise. Projects under Robb’s charge are either done correctly, or they are done over. The people that work with Robb understand this. Many have such an endearing reverence and respect for him even though he may be a little hard on them if they have not met his high standards. The right way may just be his way… In seeing the results he gets, I’m okay with that!
The architects are most pleasant to work with. The electricians are wonderful. The plumbers are fantastic! The cabinet maker and his son are delightful! I no longer hesitate to ask Robb for a reccomendation for any service I might need from security, signage, store fixtures, welders… etc. etc. etc!
Robb has been so sensitive to my budget. Whenever we have been able to do so, we have reused anything we could. He hasn’t once winced (to my face) when I have hauled in various used items from Resource (and other places) and said, “Here Robb, use this!” Robb is ever aware of my concerns and hasn’t once, yet, refused a request of mine no matter how odd it may have seemed to him. For example, in the east wall there was this dollar bill that was stuffed into a hole along with some other newspaper. No telling where it came from, although I suspect it was placed there by the owner of Bayleaf, a fellow eccentric. Even though this wall needed to be covered in drywall as it is in my commercial kitchen, I asked Robb not to disturb it and to bury it in the wall. My thought is that this must be some seriously good feng shui; perhaps, a fortunate seed for my business’s future success and prosperity. Yup, Robb puts up with me and my, well… oddities.
This has been such a fun part of the evolution of my beloved dream and I will surely miss it when it is all complete. … and I will miss Robb, the builder. “Can he build it? OH! YES! HE CAN!!!”
BTW… there is even a rumor that Robb can do a handstand on a skateboard. I believe it!
One thing is for sure, no matter the products or services involved, a good business is all about good people. Robb Weins of Weins Construction and his sub-contractors are GREAT people!
Thank-you Robb Weins, Builder Extraordinaire!
… and thank-you for letting me share, my friends!
Warmst OO’s & XX’s, Sarah