In the eeeeeeeeeternal quest of “How can I make HaldeCraft turn a profit” I decided to look at supplies; specifically, the supplies I buy. I live in a pretty small town and while I can find some of what I want locally, I find that for larger quantities of things or for buying bisque in bulk, I need to look elsewhere. Looking elsewhere generally means shipping (and tons of broken-down boxes and so many extra packing peanuts that I go a little crazy*).
It turns out that one distributor is just northeast of Orlando, about a 2.5 hour drive away. I’ve been using them for a while but didn’t think they had a lot; however, having gotten a catalog in a recent order I see that they carry a lot more than just what’s on their website. Since they’re open to the public, I have a new tentative plan of saving up my orders, placing a monthly order with them, and going down about every four or five weeks. Even with gas and tolls, it should be less than it would be to get things shipped to me about every three weeks.
So we decided to hop down there the other weekend. I looked on Google maps, and there were two ways to get there — Interstate and toll road driving, which would actually take us under Orlando and then back up north to the place… or back roads, through small towns and the Ocala National Forest. Both times were supposed to be within about 15 minutes of each other. We opted for the back roads because then we’d come in from the due west rather than drive underneath it and back up. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?
Sure. Easy. That is, unless, you take a wrong turn and find yourself in the Central Florida Zoo. Or get detoured in DeLand for a Veteran’s Day parade. And then miss a turn. Or two. Thank goodness for my phone, with access to maps that were almost even right.
We also passed something called the Pioneer Settlement for the Creative Arts, and you know we’ll be hitting THAT on a future trip. In fact, that might wind up being a road trip in itself because I can think of a few of my girlfriends who might like to see that as well. And maybe Mom and Dave could meet us there sometime? I think it’s right up their alley as well.
ANYWAY. Suffice to say that back-road trip down took over three hours, so we barely got to where we were going before they closed (limited Saturday hours). But we got there, got my stuff, I oooooooed and aaaaaaaaaaaahed a lot, and then we stopped for lunch. The drive home, well… we took the toll road and interstate, and it was faster.
Verdict? I would ride this ride again. Even with gas and tolls, it was cheaper than shipping, and I got a good story out of it.
* Yes, I reuse packing peanuts and boxes where I am able; however, many of the boxes I receive from buying used molds on eBay have clearly already been used a number of times, and I’m not going to reuse a beat-up box to mail something fragile just to reuse a box. And since I wrap my ceramics in bubble wrap in addition to packing peanuts, I get more peanuts than I can move out sometimes.