This is Rufus. He is our dog. Well, technically, he is Alphonzo’s dog. But now that we’re in business together there are a number of things that were once mine or his that have become ours because of shared responsibility: our dog, our stress, our debt, our store.
I’m bringing up Rufus because he is an important part of our family. He made the same hail mary move we did from San Francisco to Atlanta. He left his friends behind and accepted this new life with nothing more than the collar around his neck that tethers him to us.
Life for Rufus in San Francisco was nice. He went on lots of walks, often from the Fillmore to downtown. He romped around Pac Heights and played in the multiple beaches and parks from Fort Funston to Lafayette Park. He spent a lot of time outside with Alphonzo and, because we lived in such a walkable city, interacted constantly with other dogs and people. It kept him as normal as he could be for his breed.
But Atlanta has been rough on Rufus. His transformation has not been positive. We’ve been pulling such long hours working at the store that he has been cooped up inside the apartment for much longer than any Parson Russell terrier should be. He’s developed rashes and ear aches. He’s become lethargic and depressed choosing to sleep all day inside a box of socks in the closet rather than walk around and get into things like he used to. Alphonzo hired a dog walker but as a rescue, Rufus has a difficult time trusting new people.
If we were running any other type of store besides one where food is cooked we could bring him to work, but here we cannot.
Dogs are good for us. They keep us balanced and remind us to take time out to smell the roses. Yet, we have been as unfair to Rufus as we have to ourselves.
We need a day off.
It might sound counterintuitive but having a day off during the week, even if it is only temporarily through the summer months, will allow us to get the balance we need to grow this business the way it needs to grow. The way it is aching to grow.
Alphonzo and I need time to answer all the emails that have been pouring in. We need time to take that yoga class we keep meaning to take. I, personally, need to be able to pull my Madone out of the closet and take those long bicycle rides that I’ve been missing and really explore Atlanta.
We need to be able to sit down with each other to talk business without being so tired we become snippy and impatient. We need to have the freedom to look at what we’ve started with Boxcar and strategize how to move forward in a healthy way so that we can have store number two open next year. We need time to visit different neighborhoods to find out where we should put store number two.
Our personal lives and our personal health are very important. They are as important as the food we are helping to bring into this community.
We need to stop moving for a day and recognize that.
So moving forward, our new summer hours mean that we will be closed on Sundays starting this week, open Mondays from 12p – 6p, the rest of the week remains the same 9am – 8pm schedule Tuesdays through Saturdays. May seems a good time. The festival season is here. Sundays at the store are getting more and more quiet as the rest of Atlanta heads outdoors to spend time with family and friends.
Rufus will be delighted I’m sure, as that means more meaningful hours exploring Historic Fourth Ward Park, Inman Park, Piedmont Park and Candler Park chasing squirrels and remembering how beautiful life is…
© 2012 The Boxcar Grocer.