10 Questions With Yummy Goods' Melissa Averinos
'Being a shopkeeper has given me a greater connection to my town,' said Melissa Averinos of Yummy Goods.
Meet the Owner is a weekly column with business owners in the town of Barnstable. Patch asks each owner the same 10 questions so the community can get to know the people behind local businesses.
Melissa Averinos and Stuart Schulman founded Yummy Goods in September of 2008. Averinos keeps busy with designing and writing. She just published her first book Small Stash Sewing published by Wiley and it is in reprint. Here are her answers.
10 Questions, Shoot!
Q: What did you dream of being as a kid?
A: I wanted to be an artist, which I am: yay! I was always drawing, making jewelry out of odds and ends, and sketching clothing designs - that was all before eighth grade! After that, I also got into collage, painting, pottery and sewing. Currently, I am itching to make some papier-mache unicorns and work on another series of paintings.
Q: How does your personality play into your business?
A: My personality kind of IS my business! The shop is totally an expression of me, my taste, my sense of humor, my quirkiness. From the unique way items are displayed - products perched atop an old claw-foot tub, for example - to the curious mix of items I carry (gorgeous soy candles alongside an old crate filled with retro-style potato guns), it's all me. It's not unusual for someone to stop in to enjoy the upbeat atmosphere on a down day or to chat a bit and grab a hug. I think of my customers as my friends. I hope that openness in my personality encourages people to relax and enjoy their time in my space.
Q: At what moment did you decide to open a business?
A: It had been a wish of mine for a few years to have a place where I could sell my artwork and jewelry as well as create unique and inspiring environment. It was something I was hoping to do "someday." It became a possibility when our current space at The Old Village Store came up for rent after the building changed hands. The space was charming and we conveniently live just a couple of buildings away. Stuart and I both jumped at the opportunity and Yummy Goods opened a month later.
Q: What inspired you?
A: A few years prior to opening, we had gone to Key West for vacation. I stumbled upon a boutique that literally brought tears to my eyes with it's wonderful atmosphere, gorgeous product and inventive displays. I lingered there for hours and just felt in my bones, "I could do this. I know how to do this."
That store was kind of fancy and high end, whereas our place is more homespun and colorful, but the desire to open up shop was born there.
I always keep a postcard from that store (Besame Mucho on Petronia Street) where I can see it - it keeps me inspired. The last time I went to Key West, I stopped into that shop and told them this story. Imagine my surprise when they told me that they knew about me and Yummy Goods! One of its customers brought them an article about me from a magazine (the cover story from Cloth Paper Scissors STUDIOS, Spring 2009,) because it featured a photograph including its postcard displayed on a bulletin board in my studio.
Q: Describe the biggest challenge of owning a business in the town of Barnstable?
A: Well, as a business in the village of West Barnstable, it's a challenge to get the word out to the rest of the town that we are here!
As far as Barnstable goes, we have had problems with not being allowed to have adequate signage, which is very disappointing.
Q: Describe the best thing about owning a business in the town of Barnstable?
A: The people! I love my customers. Of course they aren't all from Barnstable, but most are and I so appreciate their interest in the shop and in me as a person. Frequently, customers will stop in to tell me they liked my latest blog post or the music I recommended on my shop's Facebook page. I love that because it makes me feel like we are part of each other's lives.
I am feeling more and more a part of this community, which I never really did before even though I grew up here. Being a shopkeeper has given me a greater connection to my town.
Q: What is one thing you would never change about your business?
A: I would never change that the shop is a reflection of me and my taste. I don't want it to have the same things in it that most of the other gift shops carry. If I compromise and carry more mainstream or typically "Cape Coddy" stuff to make a buck, I might as well be working for someone else. I enjoy what I do because I am surrounded by what I love.
Q: What is your business' greatest asset?
A: Our uniqueness.
Q: What is your favorite spot in town?
A: Tough one! One of my favorite places is what I know as The Forty Steps, a gazebo like structure up by the Craigville Conference Center that I often allude to in my paintings. As you might guess, it does have 40 steps leading down from it (opening to the parking lot across from Craigville Beach Association.) I used to go there all the time when I was growing up and I have always thought of it as my special place. Knowing that, my fiance Stuart proposed to me there. ( I love that guy!)
As for favorite places of business? One of them would be Earthly Delights, the natural food café in Osterville. I hardly ever get there because we keep the same shop hours, but when I do it is such a treat. There are so many things to love about that place: Mary and Tom's amazing food, the creative atmosphere , the personal attention. I wish they would open another one in West Barnstable!
Q: What's one thing the community should know about you?
A: There are so many things I want to say! How about this, I write a fun newsletter people tell me they actually love to receive. Here's the link to sign up. Let's be friends!
Yummy Goods is keeping "dead-of-winter" hours and open only Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.