July is typically the time of year when we kick back, travel, hang out in the shade or otherwise celebrate our Midwestern summer. But the summer of 1999 was different for Outpost. We were busy building our second location in Wauwatosa and while the community was getting excited about their new co-op we knew we had to do more to get the word out.
Someone (okay, it was me) had the grand idea of joining in the annual Wauwatosa Fourth of July Parade. I can’t recall who came up with the idea of doing a shopping cart drill team, but we decided it was genius. So, we lined up staff volunteers to be on the team, our HR manager would drive her Geo Tracker (with the top down it was basically a convertible) so we could play music. Our grocery manager convinced her dad to be the band (that is if a band is a guy sitting on the back of a car playing his accordion). We had a banner printed, rolled up some tee shirts to throw to the crowd, and gathered candy to toss to the kiddos. We were ready!
The parade day dawned, the sky was cloudless, and the temperature was already climbing along with the humidity. By the time we had decorated our carts and stored the little foil covered “Earth” chocolate balls on ice in a cooler (who decides chocolate is a good idea in the middle of summer?) it was 9 a.m. and well into the 90’s. But off we went, rolling our carts all the way down North Avenue on the asphalt in the blazing sun, beaning bystanders with tee shirts and melting chocolates while frantically slugging water, our faces beet-red and dripping with sweat as we performed our (frankly lame, but jolly) routines to the cheery sounds of polka music. We laughed and smiled along the with the easily impressed crowd who were shouting out their admiration for our team of carts with wheels that didn’t wobble. Apparently wobbly grocery cart wheels were a problem in ‘Tosa.
By the time we got to the end and found some shade under the trees, a few of us collapsed in the grass. It wasn’t long before an EMT approached me concerned, “Miss, are you okay. Do you need medical help?”
Yeah, I probably did but the good cheer of the community, the laughter we shared along the route and the polka music had buoyed me.
May you find your piece of shade and a cool breeze this summer but always remember that chocolate melts at 104 degrees.
Director of Brand & Store Development
In this issue:
LAZY DAYS with easy summer meals
SCOBY DO the woman behind Soul Brew Kombucha
ASK THE EXPERT tells you how to keep your skin safe in summer
BBQ BOSS Smokin'Ts versatile sauce