Warm weather and data
We here at Open Produce are slowly getting back in the saddle when it comes to being transparent, which all too often gets put on the back burner when more pressing concerns arise. Maybe we should have named our store “Warm Produce” instead of “Open Produce”. If you happened to stop by the store early last week, for example, you will have noticed that it was about 90 degrees in the shop. Not good for our customers, our produce, or our poor clerks! The culprit was an air conditioner that failed twice in two weeks (first with a bad compressor, then again because it had sucked up an entire tree’s worth of cottonwood).
The heat was also bad for our equipment — high temperatures and bad luck meant we had a freezer technician out three separate times over the last month. One time, we acted quickly enough that our frozen inventory was fine. Once, we frantically packed our frozen goods into crates and drove them over to Hyde Park Produce, where they friendly folks there lent us some freezer space for a few days while we waited for a compressor part. And a third time, a failure at 11pm on a Friday night, everything thawed and became unsellable. A huge cost for the store, sure, but it means I’ve been enjoying organic pork sausages every night for two weeks. Unfortunately the lost inventory rang in at a little bit under our $1000 deductible for our inventory-lost-due-to-equipment-failure insurance.
But our freezer and air conditioner woes are under control for now (a cool 68 in the shop tonight), and I’ve been playing around with some data with the help of a University of Chicago student who is our data analysis intern.
Head on over to our new data page for a look at how our sales have been doing, from opening day up to the present (the graph updates every night with the latest data). Notice the perilous Decembers, the small dips for U of C spring breaks (look at 3/17 – 3/27 of this year, for example), and how our battered hopes in March ’09 fell away with the May ’09 warm weather.
We’ll be adding things to that page as we prepare them, including more detailed sales data, inventory insights, and financial statements. Explanatory blog posts will keep you in the loop.