I think we all have moments that we think if never happened, our lives would be completely different. Regarding MOM’s, all I seem to be able to remember are “good luck moments”, events that if they had not occurred, it seems my life could be completely different and MOM’s might not exist:
- The idea to start MOM’s (at the time called Organic Foods Express) was not mine. My friend, with whom I worked at Smile Herb Shoppe shipping organic produce via mail order, suggested in 1987 that we start delivering organic produce to people’s houses. I simply agreed!
- In 1989, after a 60 Minutes report on alar on apples, NPR’s Diane Rehm did a show on organic foods. A customer, Rebecca Jaffe of Vienna, VA, called in to the show and gave a raving testimony about how our vegetables “were the best I’ve ever had.” The phone rang off the hook for hours!
- In 1990, we (my sole employee and I) moved to Rockville and opened on weekends for walk-in retail. After we had been open for only a few months, another retailer 20 miles away went out of business. My roommate at the time worked there and decided to leave a note on the door telling customers about us. It instantly boosted our business at a time when I was about to go out of business (Fresh Fields had just opened less than a mile away and I had to give my employee my motorcycle in lieu of a paycheck).
- When we first opened, I used to put the produce on the display rack “as is.” My mother, who helped out quite a bit at the store when we first opened, taught me how to prep and store produce properly- greatly increasing the quality of our organic produce. To this day, I have no idea how she knew such techniques.
- My warehouse lease ended in 1995. It was time to expand and I needed to find a new location. I found a place on Nebel St. in Rockville that was larger, but had horrible parking. I thought parking was sufficient at the time because I never expected we’d ever be very busy. I was ready to sign the lease, but just happened to drive by a location on Parklawn Drive (what is now the old Rockville location) where I saw a “for lease” sign on another space. I called the landlord, met him, told him I liked his space but wasn’t interested because I already had found another cheaper location (you pay for what you get, sometimes!). He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and I decided to go with Parklawn Drive, which had about 5X the parking as Nebel St.
- In 1998, I decided to expand / double the size of our Rockville store. I was unaware at the time that expensive architectural drawings and permits were needed for such expansion work. I finished the expansion, County and State inspectors made their routine inspections the ensuing months/years, but never noticed the expansion… or, I wonder, noticed, but didn’t have the heart to shut me down or penalize me, understanding how naive I was!
A note left on a door. A suggestion from a friend- and then one from my mother. Noticing a sign. A customer picking up the phone and calling into a radio show. If any one of these uneventful events didn’t occur, MOM’s might not exist today- or at least not exist to the extent that it currently does.
I don’t know who to thank- or what to thank- but I am thankful.