|Posted by Lilly on February 14, 2013 at 4:05 AM|
Last Spring, I wasn't two steps into starting up my Italian Ice business when the unexpected happened. I was searching for a commissary, and I thought it wise of me to ask local churches and synagogues with kitchen space whether they'd partner up with me as my commissary. Shortly after receiving a rejection email from one organization, their contact person turned right around and asked me if I would donate tubs of Italian Ice to their annual 5k event. Interestingly (and quite clever), she mentioned that the local Rita's had already committed to one tub. Well, naive, anxious and not to be outdone, I found myself committing enthusiastically for TWO tubs of Italian Ice. In return, she promised, I would get free advertising exposure in their 5k marketing flyer. At the time, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity! A year later, a year wiser and more jaded, I view it very differently. Let me explain.
On the day of the event, I loaded their two selected Italian Ice flavors into a marine cooler to take over to their event, at 8:00 am on a Saturday morning. First, the entire point of becoming an Italian Ice vendor is to run by my own rules and my own hours. Typically I won't sell until 11:00am when it gets good and hot and I've enjoyed sleeping in. Already, bleary-eyed, I was not as enthusiastic as when I'd made the commitment.
Next, upon arriving at the event, there were tons of people and volunteers, but my contact was nowhere in sight. I asked random people to lead me to her, but in the end I never met her. A kind soul took me to the kitchen freezers where I dropped off my Italian Ice. Nevermind that their kitchen and walk-in freezer was huge and state-of-the-art! The freezer shelves were empty. And yet, they'd declined my request for a commissary. Yeah, that got to me.
About two weeks later, I got a a thank-you email from an unknown party for that organization, informing me that my Italian Ice was a hit and that it was gone after one hour of continuous scooping. What I didn't get, however, was any proof of that advertising they'd promised. Nor did I receive any letter formally detailing my donation, so that I could write it off on the following year's business taxes.
So, what did I learn that I now share with you, dear readers?
in the end, I learned, and I'm more business savvy. And I'm certainly not opposed to donating and helping organizations out... on my terms. So, how about you? Do you have any lessons learned from times when you were asked to donate Italian Ice to an organization's event? I'd love you to share them with us in the comments.