I often refer to my calendar year as a constant sense falling forward. We’re always in planning mode for the next seasonal menu launch, the next town festival, the next holiday season, which means we’re always looking to the future.
It takes intentionality to fight that future-focused mindset. To look back over our year and reflect with gratitude. Want to join me in this exercise together?? Let’s take it month-by-month.
January : : In addition to launching the Winter Drink Menu in early January, all the shops got new bakery cases and branded packaging. Weston and I spent months on this project, so finally seeing it in shops was SO satisfying!
February : : You helped us celebrate Eli’s 18th birthday with lots of giveaways, offers, and walks down memory lane! Snow days and winter weather kept things calm around the shops.
March : : In addition to kicking off the Spring Menu, we spent lots of time getting Mackinaw’s Porter Room available for your private parties and rentals!
April : : Each shop got a dose of spring – fresh flowers in their pots and window boxes. Indoors, we updated our menu boards with more graphic, eye catching designs, done by Rachel!
May : : So much happened this month! In early May, you got your first taste of Eli’s Cinnamon Rolls! Bottomless glasses for iced coffee and tea were added to the menu, and on May 31st, we launched the Summer Menu!
June : : June kicks off our towns’ festivals! We have a front row seat to Tremont’s Turkey Festival and hosting our second annual parking lot party. Two weeks later, we celebrated Old Settlers Days in Metamora!
July : : Our first Mack-A-Fest in Mackinaw came to a tragic end, but we got to witness firsthand the power of small town community. You got to enjoy Raspberry Almond Bars for the first time in a few years, and Summer Game Nights were a hit! Morton + Metamora got some fresh furniture + art to brighten up their spaces.
August : : Behind the scenes, we’d spent the summer overhauling our cookie recipes, and finally launched a refreshed cookie lineup in August! The Autumn Menu rolled out middle of the month, to much pumpkin applause! We all enjoyed music from the porch in Metamora to round out the month.
September : : Fall feels like it truly arrives with the start of the Pumpkin Festival, and y’all gave us another record year! Mackinaw celebrated its first birthday, Rachel spoke to the sweetest career class at MHS, and a big Metamora reunion happened at an employee’s wedding.
October : : Truly one of my favorite months each year – we’ve made it through some of the biggest events of our year, but Christmas is still a minute away. Weston and Rachel got to travel and our shops did a fantastic job keeping things rolling forward! Oh, and you loved the DracuLatte more than we could’ve imagined.
November :: All things festive kicked off mid-November! Shops were decorated, new merchandise released, holiday drinks + treats announced! We got to celebrate our team with a Thanksgiving at our house – always a highlight during a busy season.
December : : After almost 4 years without branded cold cups, we finally received a shipment of 100K to the HUB! This was huge for us – it was the biggest order we’ve ever received and made us really feel like a big business in the most humbling way. Pair that with a wonderful holiday season, and we’re feeling pretty #blessed.
That’s the highlight reel, folks! You allowed us to live this dream for an entire calendar year again, Weston and I’s ninth full year at Eli’s.
I want to acknowledge there’s a darker side to this shiny face – plenty of anxiety-induced sleepless nights, our fair share of disagreements about the next-best steps for the future of Eli’s, incredibly difficult decisions around staffing and relationships, the list could go on and on. But even still, all of those challenges fade into the background when we see each shop full of you all making meaningful connections and learning to love your communities a little more.
I c a n n o t wait to be able to share some of the plans we have for 2024 with you all! Thank you for believing in the power of local coffee shops and local community. We love you!