( Blogger’s Note: Every Friday an excerpt from the soon to be published book, Faux Pas is French for Restaurant, appears in this space.)
On April 8, 1991, the article in Time Magazine changed our lives. If you don´t believe in the power of the press, think again.
Weaving in and out of traffic as though accompanied by a shaker glass of Martinis, the drive to the airport- to the first news stand to receive any magazines- was life endangering. The run from the car through the terminal would have been a cause for arrest today. Back then, in a less tumultuous time, people just assumed I was late for a plane.
Panning the rack of bright magazine covers, Time stood out. "The Simple Life" headline, overlaid on a photograph of a front porch complete with a braided rug, a bicycle´s front wheel and fork and a neatly placed pair of hiking boots, the sub head teased about "rejecting the rat race". Could the topic of a grocery store have made the cover? Thinking I would have to flip through the pages in order to find a small mention of Crocus Hill I instantly went to the centerfold to begin my journey. Ironically, it was that centerfold that began our journey. Astonished, there they stood on ladders, behind counters, with gift baskets in hand.
Kranston, Lori, Lindy, and the two newly hired stock boys, all in fresh plaid shirts and Khaki pants had made the centerfold of Time Magazine. Boasting smiles and looks of disbelief, the five core employees of Crocus Hill introduced our project to the nation. The bold, enormous headline, The Simple Life, highlighted the story. The five page article covered five other professionals, including Peter Lynch, the Wall Street wonderboy of his day, all who had left corporate America to join the ranks of the entrepreneur. The country was in a downward fiscal spiral and down sizing had become a key word. A mega tag if you will.
By the time I reached the car, overloaded with a stack of magazines that would last only moments back at the store, Kranston could tell the article was bigger than we expected. I handed her a copy and watched as astonished tears of joy streamed down her face. The picture of the staff and Kranston- the largest picture in the magazine that week- was artwork. And, what it would do for our lives was also extraordinary. McWhirter had, in one article changed our destiny and our future. Suddenly the market was not a mistake. Not a financial drain. For a short period of time, the Crocus Hill Market was the backdrop for one of the greatest pictures I had ever seen.
When we arrived back at the store, the staff suddenly realized that our vision went farther than Grand Ave. They had doubted our ability to see the future, to develop a plan, or to accomplish what they thought was a foolish dream. Time Magazine solidified our abilities.
The Saturday after the article appeared in Time the store was booming. The numbers soared. The volume for the day rose from $700.00 dollars to $6500.00. The customer count jumped from 50 people to 630 a day in less than a week.
Time Magazine introduced us to the big picture. Kranston appeared on The Nightly News with Dan Rather, Ted Koppel called and sent the camera crew, and Jenny Jones, before she became the Mrs. Jerry Springer of talk T.V. flew Kranston in for a guest appearance. Who knew that canned goods could become a national topic? But it wasn´t what we were doing that made the news. It was our decision to become part of a group that controlled their own destiny. The story was that we had taken the jump. That we had given up corporate careers to join the world of those living The Simple Life.
Little did we know the simple life was just a matter of Time.