Sunday last week I split town for Louisville, KY, 200 miles straight across I-64 west (oh those beautiful fall colors on the hills!). The ABC Kids Expo was very informative, and the company I kept was delightful. I shared a hotel room with a natural parenting shop owner from my hometown, and her four year old daughter. We filled each day to the tippy top with meetings, vendors, and social-business events. There wasn’t any sight seeing, bike riding, or much sleep.
Twelve hours after pulling in the home driveway and dragging my sample products into the house, I presented my business concept and my plea for some start up funds to a small group of lunch time supporters. Huntington recently started Entrepreneur Cafes. This lunch venue allows three business owners to present their ideas for 10 minutes each, and the dining guests vote on the idea they want to see be serviced by local company donations and the cash taken in for the meal. It is straight forward, and a great opportunity to make connections and generate ideas, as a presenter, or an attendee/diner.
I filled my large Thirty One utility tote with my things and put them in Brent’s GoGetters (a perfect fit), since we now have the PeanutShell on my Yuba (more on that later), and the legs interfere with cargo space. In my dress slacks, wedge heels and some light cold weather accessories, I slowly made my way across town. I wanted to arrive glistened, not sweaty. The bike parking was a sad situation, but I did spy a rack at the business next door. I was tempted to park there, but the access was complicated, and there were warning signs and security cameras. Not sure what business it was, but they didn’t seem welcoming to a wayward bike.
We all know how frugal I am by now, right? When the woman signing people in asked if I wanted lunch, I saw it as an option and declined. I knew I wasn’t going to be paying to vote (it’s $15 total, $5 for the meal $10 for the vote) but to walk out without paying to drive, park, or eat…well, I felt pretty good. My expenses in Louisville were low too, taking advantage of comped meals, groceries I brought, drink coins provided by vendors, and sharing a hotel room.
The first two presenters at the Cafe were marvelous. They had notes, they were articulate, professional, organized. I was not. I had a really great executive summary with a short bio, all on one page for conciseness. I knew so many people in the room, who were sent by someone who supports my idea, or came to support me because they know me, and they want to see Kith & Kin Junction alive in Huntington. There were other people I knew there as well, because this is a small town and I have lived here six years, and others I knew only by Facebook groups, email communications or phone calls. It was great to meet everyone. There was really no reason for me to be tripping over my own tongue and changing colors like a chameleon, or going from glistening to the clammy sweatiness I became. I just don’t present well. One on one, no problem, stand up and speak to the room, not so much.
Despite not presenting well, the vote fell in my favor. Thank you everyone! What does that mean? I recall I am eligible for some consulting services, a print banner and some money generated from the lunch, but the details have not been sent my way as of yet. Once they are, I plan to pounce on my paperwork and wade through the beginnings of opening a business. Scarey stuff, but it feels good to be here.
After the meeting, I high tailed it back home and dragged my drenched self upstairs so Brent could get to work. He missed class one day while I was gone because Oliver developed a fever and some respiratory issues. Then he stayed home so I could present and not take the germ factory to lunch. He has been so supportive of Kith & Kin Junction, but neither of us are certain how this two working parents thing will play out. It seems to be you or me right now, and not both and all, or us.
Speaking of both and us, Brent and I are taking the Amtrak to Charlottesville, VA on Friday. Without our children (or our bikes because of the lack of roll on service for the Cardinal line). This will be our first time away in nearly nine years. We have very few dates as it is (all our dates have been posted on this blog in the last year, can you recall many?) My youngest sister is coming down to stay with the heirs and we are adventuring off to somewhere we have never been and where we don’t know a single soul. I have a light optional agenda picked out (theatre, walking tours, art galleries, cyclocross race) and can’t yet find any affordable bikes to rent ($55/day per bike is not affordable!). If you know anyone, want to meet up, have suggestions, etc., I’d love to hear! We might be going out alone, but we really do like company.