Dinner wrapped up without drama. Etty and Donna retired to the back porch to enjoy the almost-autumn evening over a glass of wine. John and Logan offered to deal with the dishes early in the meal, to save the fuss of sorting it out after.
“You put whatever will fit in the dishwasher. I’ll do the rest of the stuff by hand.” John cracked his neck and surveyed the culinary detritus.
“Sure.” Logan started sorting through the dishes and cutlery.
“Our gal can cook up a storm,” John commented, with half a smile, “but it looks like a disaster area after she passes through.”
“Well, you remember her mom. She was the same way.”
John went after the kitchen knives first. He wasn’t about to give Logan the opportunity to stick them in the dishwasher. Super hot water and slightly acidic detergents didn’t do good blades and favors.
“When was the last time you sharpened these, Logan?”
“Ah. The last time you sharpened them.”
“Great.” John rolled his eyes and added another item on his To Do list.
“Hey. What happens if this White House thing is a huge success?”
He turned off the hot water and put down the butcher knife he was about to clean. It was a little surprising how unconfident Logan could be, when he usually plowed through life without a care… or so it often seemed.
“Um, Logan, it can’t help but be a success. I think what you’re worried about is can we keep up with the publicity and demand for our products.”
“Yeah. That.” He shut the dishwasher and leaned against the granite counter. “Could we keep up with things if we had twice the demand? What if we had to deal with more than that?”
“We could manage twice the business, but we’d be pushing it. I think it would have us teetering on the edge of having to grow Manleigh Cheese to keep up—to say nothing of putting more pressure on Duke for raw materials.”
“Shit. I hadn’t thought of that side of things.”
“That’s why you keep me around. I think about this stuff.”
“Okay, Business Guru Frost,” Logan sneered, “what would we have to do to grow to deal with two or more times the business we have?”
Logan didn’t realize it, but the issue of growing the company was something that John and Donna spent hours discussing in the past year. They saw the potential, but didn’t count on Presidential requests to accelerate what they’d expected to take years.
John took a deep breath.
“Option number one: close the food truck business. We could open a bistro with a small market attached… Maybe in Del Rey, because it is trendy, or over on H Street in town… Offer hyper-local products. We’d have some control over supply, which would help us deal with demand.”
Logan nodded. He wasn’t going to argue pro or con; he wanted to hear what John had to say.
“Option number two: add two or three more trucks. We’d have to staff up here to help you with production, and train people to run the trucks. Donna and I would have to shift into management roles.”
That option made Logan a little dizzy. He didn’t want to hand off any of the production to anyone. The cheese was his, and he loved it with a jealous passion.
“Option three: merge with Thorson Dairy. That way we’re the producer and client. Keep the food truck, but open the bistro, and start actively selling to high-end grocers, too.”
John’s delivery was almost clinical, but Logan’s reaction to the third idea was anything but reserved. The taller man’s eyeballs bulged, and he coughed like someone trying to dislodge a bone in their throat. It took a few serious glances for John to be sure that Logan wasn’t, in fact, choking.
“John, that’s terrifying.” Logan managed to spit out.
“I don’t know if I’d call it that. If you and Patty get married, it is the most probable outcome… at least for the merger. ‘Thorson-Manleigh’ sounds like a great brand name for high-end products.”
“John, it sounds like the name of an ambulance-chasing law firm!”