To distract myself from getting too obsessed with sending out boxes of granola, I took some time to look through our checkbook this morning.

So far, with your help, the Providence Granola Project has paid about $9,000 in salaries this year and provided approximately 1,000 hours of job experience/training for new refugees.This on top of the fact that 5 out of 6 of our refugee employees have gone on to “real” jobs.When I compare this to the some of the Department of Human Service programs (that I help refugees access in my day job) it’s not bad at all.It wouldn’t be abnormal for the state to pay nearly $4,000 to provide an initial job training/experience for one welfare client—and this comes with no guarantees for further employment.So one way to assess the value provided by PGP this year (beyond the $9,000) is about $24,000.I think that’s pretty good.

As long as I was crunching numbers, I did a little assessment of PGP’s financial health. Knowing how risky it would be, Geoff and I didn’t want to take out a loan to begin this venture.And not surprisingly, the risk incurred has been personal—to the tune of about $4,500. (I was taken aback to realize it was that much.) But we are grateful that the business is now reaching a healthier stage.Sales are picking up. Producing about 500-600 pounds per month has been, as expected, the threshold for the bottom line moving up rather than down.At present, our licenses and insurance are paid for and we’ve built up a little inventory of supplies.Even then we still have a little money in our checking account and we’re considering paying ourselves something back.Perfect timing for the holidays.While we’ve yet to take anything in terms of salary—other than eating ass-kickin' good granola nearly every day (if we don't say so ourselves, but we haven’t gotten tired of it, which seems like a good sign)—refunding ourselves will make it feel like we’re getting one.

It feels good. “Thank you for you,” our manager Evon always tells me when I drop her off after our shift.It’s a nice expression.So I want to pass it along to all of you who keep buying and eating and giving our granola and then keep coming back for more.Thanks for your encouragement, your advice, your input on everything from our labels to the size of our clusters.Thank you for you.

And keep it up. Holly Jolly Ginger is my personal favorite of all our granolas. I especially love it in muesli form.If the orders keep coming, we’ll double our shifts the next two weeks.We’re currently running a special on gift orders (see below) so this is your chance to bring other granola lovers on board.If anyone else wants to play Santa and donate a driving lesson to our manager, we would be grateful.

We do plan to take a break and leave town for the holidays, so get your orders in by the 15th if you want them to go out before Christmas.

Written by Keith and Geoff

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