Thank you from the Grapevine manager

To the Editor:

We already miss all our wonderful customers. The Grapevine Gourmet and Gift closed its doors for the final time on June 30 at 5 p.m. With many tears, the Grapevine Girls raised a glass in a toast to friends we work with, to friends we made in our store and to the opportunity to work for the Kruder family.

The Grapevine Girls and I had the privilege of working in a unique retail setting. Unique in that we interacted with so many members of the community consistently on a daily basis. We developed a relation- ship that started as customers and ended up as friends.

From our Coffee Club groups in the morning to our lunchtime rush to get to the Grapevine before soup and sandwiches sold out, to the late afternoon cheese and cocktail party crowd and our end of the day dinner-to-go customers (sorry Peter S., Kathy H. and Kappy – no more 5 p.m. calls to remind you to pick up dinner), we will miss it all.

We appreciate all the kind words during our last few days of business, and we do realize how much we will be missed. It is the ultimate compliment to have verbal confirmation of a job well done, and we gratefully accepted those words of praise and made saying goodbye even harder.

I would like thank the awesome team of coworkers at the Old Theatre Building that made my 20 years as Grapevine manager such an endearing time in my career. Thank you to the “Grapevine Girls” – Anne, Brenda, Chris, Christi, Kim, Linda and lovely Lidija, who for 15 years has been my pal and mentor.

Thank you to the amazing Patty Kitchen, your skill of making beautiful presentations from the food you created and depth of knowledge to produce food that everyone loved so much – that is an art. Thank you to Dianne and Michael, Patty’s assistants, for getting to work at 3 a.m. every day and helping to prepare the day’s breakfast and lunch, as well as prepping for dinners and any catering orders.

Thank you Monica Clay for your miraculous juggling of a “circus” of an office and doing it with humor and warmth, never dropping the ball. Thank you Seagrille Chef Josh, his staff and the Seagrille waitstaff for always supporting us in a pinch.

Thank you to Jimmy Turner, who created the ultimate Boca Grande menu and instituted the procedures to keep it perpetuated to his high standards – we will miss our favorites. I will always thank you for being my go-to guy for my “honey-do” lists for the building and in the Grapevine, the list that never ends.

Kathleen Turner, I can’t thank you enough for that day I was visiting from Sarasota and ran into you, my old friend, and I expressed how much I would love to move back to Boca Grande. You offered me a job on the spot and I went home, gave my two-week notice to William Sonoma and became the Grapevine manager. The opportunity to work with you all these years has been my pleasure and to remain friends into the future is icing on the cake.

PJ’s Seagrille and the Grapevine were definitely a family business of the best kind. Thank you, Sue Kruder, for embracing me in your non-business family as well. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness to me throughout the years.

I know this is long but so is our place in the business history of Boca Grande so indulge me to thank to one more VIP in our business.

Thank you, Betsy Joiner, for being my guiding light all these years both personally and professionally. Your leadership style as general manager for the Grapevine and PJ’s must be in your DNA because your instincts on how to treat coworkers is cause for all that worked with you to adore you. Maybe it was working as a kid for your Dad in the family business at The Pink, or inheriting your Mom’s patience’s and wisdom from her being a teacher on the island, you have generations of employees that continue to keep in touch with you. Customers wanted to see Betsy at the hostess stand and enjoy how she made them feel like one of the family at PJ’s. She can talk fishing, Boca Grande history to what plays to see on Broadway, she came to your table to visit for a minute to inquire of about you, your family and update on news in Boca Grande. No one really realizes how Betsy has been hands on 24/7  for our businesses, we appreciate that and you more than you will ever know.  Please sleep in, Bets!

Oh no – one more very personal thank you to my favorite bartender, Jeremy, you made the end of many a trying day not only better for the drink you made but for your genuine caring and listening-you did your job well, my friend .

It was my sincerest pleasure to have a place in this wonderful community and hope it will continue in some capacity in the future – this is not good-bye just until we meet again, thank you all.

Lora Barmann
Former Manager and Buyer of the Grapevine
Gourmet and Gift
Still available at Grapevine 964-0614