The winter was one of the coldest winters we have seen in many years. Overall it probably wasn't as cold as the ambient temperature of the winter of 2013/2014 because December was so much warmer than normal and the first week of January was much the same. But the rest of January & February had to be the coldest and snowiest period we have seen or, I should say, that I can remember. And because March followed suit in the cold department, the snow we did have stayed. And it's still here! Albeit, not as much; probably half of what we had a month ago, maybe less. There is still plenty of it.
We had trouble opening last year because of a colder than normal winter. But we learned a few tricks from last year. We now have the water on and running at Barnacle Billy's. That happened by 8:30 this morning. And we are right on schedule with everything else. The only thing we have to contend with that we have never seen before this year is the snow in the valet parking lot a week before opening. We will have to remove that at some point this week.
Also, lobsters are higher than they have been for a few years. This is because the catch is down. The catch is down because the water is colder than normal. And lobsters don't crawl when the water is cold. Indeed, the lobstermen in Perkins Cove have only been going one day a week. The traps need to set longer than normal to bring the catch rate up. Otherwise, they aren't making enough money to warrant hauling their traps. As of two days ago, the boat price for lobsters was over $8.00/pound. I haven't dared ask what our wholesale price will be. We need them anyway. And our vendor gives us the best price around. But I can tell you that it won't be below $10.00.
And steamer (soft shelled clam) prices are high as well. I have no good reason for this. Nor does our supplier. But, again, we have the best supplier in Maine. And if I can't get the best answer or price from Stan Bayley, I can't trust anyone.
Other than that, the winter was a series of capital expenditures, mostly centered around Barnacle Billy's, Etc., that will be opening a month from now. We are six years into a seven year replacement window project at Etc. This was the largest window replacement of the six years. Plus, we completely replaced the bar floor in the lounge. In so doing, we put in all new shelving, all new appliances and a new bar sink. All this will improve the bar operations and give Stu Dunn and Dave DeCoste more room to work back there.
We had a repair list that needed to be completed in both restaurants. We also had three items we had to bring up to fire code. All normal stuff. Every year we are issued new business licenses from the town of Ogunquit through a Selectman's meeting. And, like every year so far, we took care of the code improvements and were issued licenses, like normal.
So, I'm looking forward to the beginning of the season and to see all the familiar faces in the dinning room and deck at Barnacle Billy's. And it seemed like a particularly long winter. I also have to apologize for not keeping up a more consistent presence on this web site. But when I don't you are free to contact me via email at email@example.com with any questions. I will be happy to answer them.