Thursday, July 31, 2008

wine walk this saturday, august 2nd

The Canandaigua Merchants Association, together with members of the Canandaigua Wine Trail, have joined together to sponsor Wine Walk this summer. The third walk of the season will be held this Saturday, August 2 from 4-6pm. The participating shops/restaurants will be designated by purple balloons and you can start the walk at any of them. After paying $5 per person, participants meander through downtown, sampling wines and learning more about them from representatives of the various vineyards.

At the first Wine Walk in June we had about 80 participants; in July there were over 180. Many visitors were on their way to a concert later in the evening - a great way to spend time in the Canandaigua area. This Saturday is the final RPO concert of the summer season to be held at CMAC. Come be part of Wine Walk and then sit out on the lawn enjoying wonderful music. What a perfect evening! We'll look for you at JOOLZ - the balloons will be flying and we'll have wines from Casa Larga.

Monday, July 28, 2008

communication and cross-pollination

Communication is the key to success in so many ways.

Obviously, I'm the chatty sort. What other type would find it fun to write in an online diary on an almost daily basis? Telling you all about the shop, our artists, events in the area, etc. is a good way to communicate what's going on in my JOOLZ world.

Another way I communicate with our JOOLZ customers is through an irregularly distributed e-newsletter. We try to ask each customer who makes a purchase if she/he wants to be on our newsletter distribution list. Most say yes, while others are so overwhelmed by the amount of e-mail they receive that they decline. We're fine either way and we don't share those e-mail addresses.

In the just-penned July 2008 newsletter, I share the news of the creation of this new blog. You can check it out at Now the newsletter list knows about the blog and you all reading the blog know about the newsletters. That's what I call "communication and cross-pollination." We'll see how busy the bees are as the hit counters keep track of our visitors.

Friday, July 25, 2008

waterfront art festival this weekend

The Waterfront Art Festival at Kershaw Park, right on the north shore of Canandaigua Lake, will be held tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday. The festival has been around for many years, although the current show organizer has only been at the helm for a few of those years.

The show is usually a good one - more arts than crafts. One can find original paintings in oils, acrylics and watercolors, along with giclees and mass-produced prints. Jane Stoddard from the Buffalo area is one of our favorites. Great watercolors - very realistic and charming. If she's there this year, she usually has a flag flying from her booth and is easy to spot.

Another of our favorites is Liz Brown from East Rochester. We carry a nice selection of Liz's jewelry at JOOLZ. Liz was going to stop by the shop today on her way to set up for the show but her husband and a friend came by instead. Seems Liz is suffering through an intestinal bug and may not even make it to the show tomorrow. Ryan is ready to step in, if needed.

Liz works with wonderful organic stones (turquoise, amazonite, jaspers, etc.) and unique sterling silver findings and beads. Her pieces work for women of any age and her color choices seem to flatter every complexion. Ryan brought along some wonderful new pieces that are now part of the JOOLZ inventory. I hope to be able to tell Liz tomorrow how much I like them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

an evening with kenny chesney

Canandaigua is lucky to have a recently expanded and refurbished outdoor entertainment amphitheater on the grounds of the local community college. With the backing of the largest wine company in the world, Constellation Brands, the facility has become THE place to see big-name entertainment this summer. Kenny Chesney and LeAnn Rimes brought their "Poets and Pirates" tour to town last night and over 12,000 fans attended the concert. Just about every other fan was wearing a straw hat, a la Kenny, and most of them stood for his entire set. The noise was deafening (I think...I hope...I have full hearing back this morning) and the energy high. During the middle of the concert the heavens opened and it poured. There were thousands of soaked fans sitting on the lawn....but we didn't see anyone leave. We were grateful to be seated inside, under cover.

Kenny interacts with his audience and gives a great show. He spoke of flying in right before the concert and how he saw beautiful lakes and green hills below (yes, the Finger Lakes area is gorgeous). He thought of his boat down in the islands and decided to play...for the first time live, on any stage..."Be As You Are." Now, I am not a rabid Kenny fan like most there last night, but I was pleased that I had already been introduced to Kenny's "Be As You Are" album by our family friend, Mike Donofrio, when he and Angela visited our famiily over the 4th of July. Mike knows his music (he's a part-time DJ) and when he heard we were going to see Kenny, he punched up this album on his iPod for us to hear. I loved it! And hearing it in person, when no other audience had, made for a special evening. Thanks, Mike! and thanks, Kenny - it was a night to remember.

Monday, July 21, 2008

the day after

It's the day after...3 long festival days have ended and we are taking a much-needed break.

I'd say the festival received mixed reviews. The weather didn't cooperate completely and there were several outbursts of heavy rain and wind. The humidity was extremely high all weekend and while the vendors and visitors suffered, we were grateful to be in air conditioning.

Several vendors said they weren't selling like in years past and several attendees said the number of vendors was down from previous years. It's obvious that the faltering economy is affecting everyone. We did less business than last year but we had lots of visitors, many of them finding the shop for the first time. Building our presence and spreading the word continues to be a full-time effort.

One of our first-time visitors struck gold (well, really silver, gold and pearls - but you get the idea). She was with a friend and they took their time looking through the store. Just as she was about to check out with her first find, she saw a display on the very front table that she had missed on her way in. She tried on a necklace and I heard a soft voice say "Ohhh, I really like this." She moved from mirror to mirror, brought over her friend and they both were smiling. Then she went to get the matching earrings. Her eyes were shining, she was smiling and the jewelry looked drop-dead gorgeous on her. She will be the MOB (mother of the bride) at her daughter's August wedding and she had just found the perfect joolz to go with her tea-length black chiffon dress. She will look simply amazing. I actually got shivers at the shop yesterday, so I knew it was meant to be. That only happens when I see the right piece of jewelry on the right customer. The other piece of "meant to be" is that the artist's name is Thompson and the customer works for Thompson Health. How about that?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

arts and music festival this weekend

Canandaigua's downtown will be humming this weekend. The annual Arts and Music Festival runs Friday 10-8, Saturday 10-8 and Sunday 10-6. We were busy last year during the festival and with nice (= hot, not much rain) predicted for this weekend, we'll probably be busy again this year.

Vendors set up tents along the wide downtown sidewalks and sell everything you can think of. Food vendors tempt the shoppers with all kinds of treats and not-for-profits are there to tell you about their agencies. Musical acts play all day long at the Commons Park and the Farmers' Market runs Saturday morning alongside the festival. Downtown will be hoppin'! Check it out at

One of our challenges for festival weekends is staffing. JOOLZ has one part-time employee in addition to myself (full-time and then some!) and due to the volume of visitors, we need to have at least double coverage for a good part of each festival day. Now we have the unfortunate complication that I need to attend a memorial service for a good friend's mother this weekend...right in the middle of a carefully constructed schedule that was designed to maximize our coverage. Flexibility is the key when working with a small staff and we'll just make it work, for everyone. And having one or two extra workers who are willing to come in "when needed" can really save the day; hopefully I'll be able to tap into that group when I make some calls later this morning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

new blogger

Here blog, new blogger.

JUST JOOLZ...and more. Hope the title gives a hint of what's to come. I own a retail shop in Canandaigua, NY named JOOLZ - all handcrafted jewelry made by artists from all over the US and Canada. We opened in May 2007 and it's been an interesting ride starting up a business from scratch and then watching it grow and change as the months went on. I'll share some of my experiences as a first-time business owner in what is now a challenging economic environment and will also chat about the wonderful jewelry and artists I've discovered along the way.

But right now I need to pull the laundry out of the dryer and get another load going. One of the skills I am perfecting as a new business owner is MULTI-TASKING!

PS Visit our website and see the store for yourself: