Mom said, “Make sure you put your Saturday and Sunday hours at the top of the blog so everyone knows you’re open.” I’m listening to my mom. We’re open Saturday from 11-3:30 and Sunday from noon to 4pm.
Our Customer/Employee/Mother’s Day spotlight and happy hour this week features my mom, Marcie Adler. Where to begin? It’s a bit daunting to write a blog post about your mother when there’s an entire life to cover. Let me start with a little background.
My mom hails from Russell, Kansas, a small town in the middle of the state with a population of fewer than 5,000 people. Mom attended college in Oklahoma, then graduate school in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her first post-graduate job was teaching at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, where she met my father, a first-generation American and the son of Ukranian and Lithuanian immigrants. It was a successful marriage of opposites. My father liked to say, “When you meet me, you know what I do for a living, you know how much money I make, you know what I ate for dinner. I’ve known her 40 years and I still don’t know these things.” He was an outgoing Brooklyn boy, she is a stoic Kansan. These opposites made a great pair.
Mom joined the faculty of the Physical Education Department as an Aquatic Specialist and advised students majoring in Physical Education. She led a highly successful synchronized swimming club at Brooklyn College which produced water shows with music, lighting and costumes. While in college, Mom was a champion synchronized swimmer. I have photos of her in costume during competitions in her college years. She’s happiest in the water, as am I, particularly in a tropical paradise. Mark and I took her to Hawaii last Fall as a “Thank You” for her devotion to us and to Chocolopolis, and she was in heaven swimming in this tropical paradise. I first started swimming in the womb, and I took up synchronized swimming with her when I was a pre-teen. Here’s a photo of us doing our “pattern” in Hawaii.
We moved around a bit when I was a child, heading from Brooklyn to Baltimore to Waterville, Maine. We eventually landed in Washington, D.C., where I grew up, and where my parents resided until I convinced them to move to Seattle. Before I got married I had a “two-hour rule”. I encouraged my parents to leave DC and move west to be closer to me, but I insisted that they must be at least a 2-hour drive away from me. I love them dearly, but I had visions of them encroaching on my personal life. They weren’t interested, so we left it at that.
When I got married my husband, Mark, encouraged me to have them move west. I’m an only child (or a “limited edition” as my mother liked to say), and he thought it would be better if we were in the same place. I was willing to relax my “two-hour rule”, and we began to encourage my parents to move to the Seattle area. At first my mom was all over the idea. She was excited to look at houses and think about the possibilities. My dad, on the other hand, wasn’t sure how he felt about moving west. One Sunday while they were visiting Seattle we went to look at open houses. We found one they liked, and my dad was ready to make an offer. My mom was suddenly feeling like they were moving too fast. Dad knew what he wanted and he was ready to pounce. My mother, on the other hand, is a planner. She likes to consider things first and get used to them. This huge life decision was suddenly taking on a life of its own.
My dad kept them moving forward. They bought the house and moved to Seattle in 2007. I opened Chocolopolis about six months after they arrived, and Mom has been working for me ever since.
Like any good mother she’s incredibly devoted and willing to drop everything at a moment’s notice to help me when needed. I recall one snowy weekend during the busy holiday season, when Mom stayed to help me at the store while the snow fell quickly. Dad was at home on the Eastside, and by the time Mom was ready to leave there was too much snow to drive back to Redmond Ridge in the dark. Mom was happy as a clam to be “stranded” with me and Mark in the city. After work we walked from our house to Kabul, a neighborhood restaurant, where she took us out to dinner to celebrate a successful day at the store. I can see her now, quaffing her glass of wine, enjoying Ashak for dinner and regaling us with memories of the past in DC.
If you’ve come into the store at any point in the past ten years, you’ve probably met Mom. She loves to show new customers around the store, giving them detailed descriptions of how the bars are arranged by origin and sharing samples of chocolate. Perhaps she admonished you for chewing your chocolate or for popping a truffle into your mouth in one bite when you could have taken four. I was in New York a few years ago and found a pop-up chocolate store in Bryant Park with the tag line “No Chewing Allowed!” Needless to say I took Mom a postcard.
One of our youngest customers refers to her as “the Chocolate Lady”. He snuck a photo of her and changed the screen saver on his mom’s phone to a photo of my mom. When my mom’s not at the store, this young customer asks, “Where’s the chocolate lady?”. I think that’s the kind of recognition anyone would want.
In honor of Mother’s Day, I asked my mom to pick some of her favorite bars to feature for happy hour. In the past when I’ve asked her to pick her favorite bars, she’s gone through our sample bins to see what bars she likes that we already have open. She’s always looking out for my bottom line. This time I told her to pick her favorite bars, regardless of whether we have samples open. She chose a diverse lineup. Often when someone likes single-origin dark chocolate, they’re not a fan of milk chocolate or inclusions. Not my mother. While she’s the original dark chocolate lover in my family, she has a sweet tooth as well (pastries are her favorite breakfast food). She’s chosen a few single-origin dark chocolates, a filled bar and a very sweet inclusion. It’s a great happy hour because there’s definitely something for everyone this week. Here’s what Mom chose:
Zotter Mousse au Piura 82% (filled)
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms out there! We’ll be open on Mother’s Day, this Sunday, from noon until 4pm so you can fête your mom with chocolate. See you this weekend.