The Expo

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I haven’t told you guys about the expo yet. The expo. THE EXPO. This thing is what our life is revolving around right now. It’s official name is the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo and The Hot Wire Panini Café is in it. This is not an event to enter into lightly my friends. They are estimating around 6000 people to be in attendance and an average of 600 patrons to visit each booth. Don’t quote me on these numbers, they are just what my frazzled mind picked up when we were going over the details with Chris. He’s the mastermind of this beautiful thing.

Four months ago when Jamie and I were approached about buying a booth we were thrilled! The Hot Wire Panini’s name had travelled far enough for an actual real live food expo to seek us out and ask if we wanted to join. It was flattering and gave us just a big enough boost of confidence to believe that we could pull this off. No problem-o, was probably my naive reaction at the time. However presently, as the expo draws nearer we have begun to feel the pressure.

Here we are, just the two of us running this entire place by ourselves. We eat, sleep, and breathe The Hot Wire Panini and that definitely cuts in to our socialising time. When we told Chris that it would probably just be the two of us working the expo he actually LOL’d. “Sorry guys, there is no way just two of you will be able to do it alone. You’ve got to get some help.” He said after the awkward realisation that we weren’t in fact pulling his leg came to pass.

So this is our first quandary. We need help for this expo that is taking place in two weeks from now and are not 100% sure that we will be able to get it. We’ve lined up a few of Jamie’s chef friends from back home but that is a four hour drive away and we all know how quickly Alberta roads can turn on a person in the mid-January weather. So who knows if they will even be able to make it? We can’t afford to hire anyone, that thought is actually laughable. And we aren’t close enough to anyone here who would be willing to work for the prestigious payment of beers at our place afterwards. So it comes down to one thing, hoping to the good baby Jeebus that the weather is on our side.

Second issue, the small humans. Oh how (hashtag)adorbs it would be to have the wee panini pipsqueaks running around selling paninis to all of the people at the expo, alas, NO MINORS ALLOWED. So now I have the pleasure of attempting to find a babysitter for a 12 hour timespan. No problem-o my ass.

Then comes the prep work of feeding 5-6 hundred bitesize panini samples to prospective customers. Finding all of the necessary decor to make our booth look inviting—alluring if you will. All the while running the shop during its regular hours.

Wowza, by this point you must be thinking that Jamie and I are gluttons for punishment. We’re not, we swear. We just really get off on the onset of regular anxiety attacks.

They say that owning your own business takes everything you have in you. That’s a lie. It takes more than everything. It takes resourcefulness. So much resourcefulness in fact that you must reserve your resourcefulness to uncover more resourcefulness. It takes having the nerve to try new things and pick yourself up off the floor when they fall flat.  It takes so much risk that sometimes you just crave a boring, dreary kind of day. It takes patients. Patients with yourself because everything you do is a trail run and 50% of it isn’t going to work out the way you intended. It takes the ability to make a botched attempt into a new opportunity. And enough confidence to know that all of this pressure and fear and failure and heaviness in your heart will eventually be worth it. It takes the optimism to glance contently into the future. Many of these qualities I didn’t know I possessed until we started really getting into the nitty gritty of entrepreneurship. Perhaps they were born out of necessity.

This expo is a fantastic way to get The Hot Wire’s name out there. We know our product is good. The reviews speak for themselves. Now it is time to showcase our panini perfection in one convenient location for all to enjoy. It isn’t that the shop is doing poorly. Our numbers are good. But we do have our slow days, sometimes even slow weeks. These are the days when it is a struggle to find a positive outlook on things. These are the moments when the fear creeps in and we have to will it away with thoughts of what tomorrow might bring.

It is a terrifying business to be in, but a thrilling and challenging one too. And the only way to achieve our goals is to work hard, takes chances and get the word out. The panini word. The Alberta Food and Beverage Expo is our golden ticket and there is no way we are about to squander that.

With a bit of planning, a little luck and a lot of culinary craftiness I’m confident we will get through it. We’ll make our impression on this city of Lethbridge and they will be talking about that one time The Hot Wire Panini rocked the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo for years to come!

And that, my friends, is what this whole shebang is all about.