Thread Number: 79204  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Cavalcade of Food updates
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Post# 1031278   4/29/2019 at 21:00 (398 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        

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Hi everyone. We haven't posted any new Cavalcade of Food episodes for a few months, which I usually share here, as I've been spending most of my free time working on a commercial building I purchased a year ago with the intent on housing my collection of large and small appliances, cookbooks, typewriters, records and hi-fi's, cookware, dishes, and everything else I have collected over the past 30 years.

A few miles from my cottage, where I usually record the Cavalcade of Food episodes, is a small town that had a Ben Franklin variety store on the main street for 83 years. We went there all the time and got to know the owners. When they told us they were retiring (they were the third generation to run the store) we were heartbroken, as we really loved the place. Then it occurred to me that it would be the ideal building for my stuff. The store closed on December 30, 2017 and I purchased it in February 2018.

In addition to housing my collection of things, I am almost done building a kitchen studio which I designed so that I can easily swap out the stoves (and maybe a fridge or two) as often as I please. Now I finally have most of my collection under one roof. Once the studio is complete, we will start recording new episodes from there, although we will continue to record at the cottage, too. I will also have cooking classes and demonstrations, typewriter parties, and have the building available for special events. A few years from now, when I retire, I may include a retail section in the front of the store, but for now it's really a museum and event space.

The sign on the front of the building finally went up last month and the place is simply called "Cavalcade." I'm including some posts with pictures of the place I've taken over the past year. Maybe down the road it could be a spot for an AW event, although I only have one washing machine and it's not even vintage! I'm a stove nut so maybe it will need to be a "Cook In"?!?

Anyway, I just wanted to share what was going on with you all.

Here is a photo taken the last summer the Ben Franklin was open (2017) and the building today with the Cavalcade sign.


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Post# 1031281 , Reply# 1   4/29/2019 at 21:11 (398 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        
Display windows at Cavalcade

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The front of the building is all glass windows. The first thing I did was build display platforms. Since it is one of the largest storefronts downtown, I didn't want the building to look empty and unattractive. For the past year, I have been putting up displays which people seem to enjoy. It also gives them an idea of the kinds of things I will doing there.

My Christmas display won 2nd prize in the downtown decorating contest (virtually every business decorates their storefronts). As a newby to town, I was humbled to be in the top three.

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Post# 1031282 , Reply# 2   4/29/2019 at 21:14 (398 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        
Cavalcade Kitchen Studio

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The Cavalcade Kitchen Studio is going in the back corner of the store. I've designed it so that I can have tables and chairs on one side so we can do cooking classes, demonstrations or have a live audience when we record Cavalcade episodes. Of course, there was a ton of electrical and plumbing that needed to be done to make this work, so it's been a slow process but it's almost done!

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Post# 1031283 , Reply# 3   4/29/2019 at 21:18 (398 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        
Cookbook Library

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Like many here, I collect cookbooks (I don't think I have nearly as many as Hans!!) and I wanted to get them all in one place. They start about 1880 and go up to about 1978. I've got much of my inspiration for Cavalcade recipes from going through these books. In addition, I've got tons of booklets, manufacturers cookbooks, etc. that are being organized by a friend who is a librarian and going into file cabinets. I will have the books available for researching recipes from various time periods.

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Post# 1031284 , Reply# 4   4/29/2019 at 21:19 (398 days old) by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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Incredible, this is why you’ve been so quiet.

Can’t wait to see this in person.

I even have a lot of old stoves that I will donate to the cause as if you need them.


Post# 1031287 , Reply# 5   4/29/2019 at 21:27 (398 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        
Appliance display

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The people who owned the Ben Franklin left all the fixtures in the store. They were old (the last time the store was "remodeled" was in 1964!) and at first I didn't know what I would do with them all. Thank goodness they left them! I've used many of them to divide the store into sections and not to mention all the shelving.

It's still a work in progress, but I got 85% of my stuff in there. I still have a garage and basement at home that needs to be emptied and moved there, but it's all little by little!

At first, I thought what am I going to do with all this space? Ha Ha! Amazing how quickly 6500 sq. ft. fills up!

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Post# 1031288 , Reply# 6   4/29/2019 at 21:31 (398 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        
Store rooms

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Since it was a variety store, there are two good-sized store rooms behind the sales floor area. I'm still opening boxes, and trying to move things out to the front as I go along. I'm planning on turning one of the storerooms into a service and restoration area.

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Post# 1031289 , Reply# 7   4/29/2019 at 21:33 (398 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        

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Thanks so much. Know that Beltsville was one of my inspirations!

Post# 1031290 , Reply# 8   4/29/2019 at 21:38 (398 days old) by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        
Wow Kevin!

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How very, very cool.  Your "store" is looking great!  And I just love the photos of your Christmas displays - the first one looks like it could actually be a storefront back in the late 1950's.  Does the store have hardwood flooring throughout?  And is the "walnut" pegboard new or did that come with the space?


Love, Love, Love the 30" GE range.



Post# 1031292 , Reply# 9   4/29/2019 at 21:52 (398 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        
Congratulations Kevin and Ralph!

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your new store is quite an impressive undertaking and you have really done justice to all those wonderful vintage items. You must have had so much fun getting to know the ins and outs of all these vintage appliances, typewriters and books. Your little town is lucky to have this wonderful “Yesteryear Emporium” to visit and see what life used to be like.

Thanks for sharing the photos. Wishing you both much success with this store.


Post# 1031293 , Reply# 10   4/29/2019 at 22:16 (398 days old) by Kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        

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Thanks Eddie! It’s been an adventure for us for sure but lots of fun. These old small towns are really struggling so I’m hoping Cavalcade might give folks a reason to come into town once in a while.

Thanks Lawrence! The walls are pegboard floor to ceiling! It’s everywhere - this was how they merchandised the goods.

Post# 1031296 , Reply# 11   4/29/2019 at 22:55 (398 days old) by IowaBear (Cedar Rapids, IA)        

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Your window displays are fantastic as well as all the "specialty areas" being made inside the store.  What a great use of the space.

Post# 1031299 , Reply# 12   4/30/2019 at 00:10 (398 days old) by tolivac (greenville nc)        

NEAT PLACE!!!!So glad for you to set up something like that!Its a place one could spend HOURS in!

Post# 1031304 , Reply# 13   4/30/2019 at 01:47 (398 days old) by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London UK)        

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It looks simply wonderful, you are doing a great job there. And always music from your radios and radiograms. I wish you both very many years enjoyment in good health


Post# 1031313 , Reply# 14   4/30/2019 at 05:20 (398 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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Kevin, I'm speechless.  Ecstatic for you & Ralph!!!!!

Post# 1031315 , Reply# 15   4/30/2019 at 05:33 (398 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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There's just one word that comes to mind - fantastic!!

Kevin, you've created a beautiful and fun way to 'feed' the appliance and other vintage household item colletor's appetite!!

I love how you have kept the storefront display windows and what you've done with them.

I need to come see this up close.


Post# 1031323 , Reply# 16   4/30/2019 at 07:35 (398 days old) by luxflairguy (Wilmington NC)        

Drooling!  Greg

Post# 1031326 , Reply# 17   4/30/2019 at 07:48 (398 days old) by moparguy (Virginia)        

Kevin, that is just amazing! A real dream set up that you have created, a great way to share your wonderful collection. I can imagine that many area people must find it so interesting to be able to see all of this, and maybe you will also inspire future collectors... and even save some more grand appliances, radios, and other great items that people may offer to you now that they see your appreciation and care for them!

Post# 1031327 , Reply# 18   4/30/2019 at 07:53 (398 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
I am just in awe...

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Not only do you have a spectacular collection, but now it's beautifully shown. I sincerely hope I can see all those wonders someday. Congratulations!

Post# 1031335 , Reply# 19   4/30/2019 at 09:43 (397 days old) by philcobendixduo (San Jose)        

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I think I may need to take a drive to Detroit!
What a FABULOUS collection and display.

Post# 1031336 , Reply# 20   4/30/2019 at 09:44 (397 days old) by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        
Oh great!

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One more thing to put on the "Bucket List"!

Post# 1031337 , Reply# 21   4/30/2019 at 09:46 (397 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        

You are ready for retirement!!! THIS IS FANTASTIC! We cant wait to see it in person!

Post# 1031339 , Reply# 22   4/30/2019 at 10:09 (397 days old) by wiskybill (Canton, Ohio)        
Fantastic Kevin!

Can't wait to see it!

We have friends in Clawson that we visit. I'm certain they would love it too.


Post# 1031348 , Reply# 23   4/30/2019 at 12:19 (397 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Hi Kevin, it's hard to tell the best thing to like about your incredible venture... Everything is spectacular! (Especially a handy DC outlet by the window for displaying a stove...)


Whereabouts is this located? As fellow Detroit-area Michiganders, it seems to me we should have run into each other somewhere... (But I go to the Metro Area-stores for records!)


Keep up whatever work is still involved, and the best of luck!




-- Dave






-- Dave

Post# 1031349 , Reply# 24   4/30/2019 at 12:21 (397 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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Wow looks magnificent! Congratulations! In what little town is this located?


Post# 1031354 , Reply# 25   4/30/2019 at 13:24 (397 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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Wow! What an achievement! And what a collection! I hope you will make some videos sometimes to share the fruit of your work.

Post# 1031360 , Reply# 26   4/30/2019 at 15:08 (397 days old) by paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        

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We love Cavalcade and reference it all the time.

Are you going to have to tap your electric into the "third-rail" of the local train to power your shop like the Pillsbury Bake-Off?
When the lights dim in town they'll all know you're having the gang over!

Post# 1031363 , Reply# 27   4/30/2019 at 15:29 (397 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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I don't think it will take long at all for this museum/library/event space to show up on national TV.

Post# 1031365 , Reply# 28   4/30/2019 at 15:33 (397 days old) by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

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Please post the address when you're ready to have a "Grand Opening".

Post# 1031367 , Reply# 29   4/30/2019 at 15:48 (397 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Looks like a really fun and interesting place to visit. My sister lives in the Toledo area, so I'll keep it in mind when I'm up there sometime.

Post# 1031368 , Reply# 30   4/30/2019 at 15:51 (397 days old) by firedome (Binghamton NY & Lake Champlain VT)        

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That is totally mind blowing! The town is lucky to have you and not yet another tattoo parlor or empty storefront. To preserve these icons of mid-50s America for others to see is laudable! Felicitations Kevin, and can't wait for more Cavalcade of Food episodes!

Post# 1031381 , Reply# 31   4/30/2019 at 17:29 (397 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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That's absolutely wonderful, Kevin.  You guys have created a pilgrimage destination for many of us now.   Lots of hard work and passion, and it shows.   Your storefront window displays are fantastic, as is that kitchen.  Thanks for sharing your fun space!

Post# 1031406 , Reply# 32   4/30/2019 at 20:03 (397 days old) by mikael3 (Atlanta)        

I’m in absolute shock.  This is amazing, fantastic—where are the words?  This belongs in a magazine spread.  The only problem with what I see is that it leaves me green with envy!!!!

Post# 1031410 , Reply# 33   4/30/2019 at 20:24 (397 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        
Thank You All!

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I appreciate all the kind words and encouragement - there have been moments along the way when I wondered if I had finally gone out of my mind with my idea. As with most projects, they take longer, are more complicated and always over the budget of when you first start out. But it continues to be a lot of fun and it brings us joy to see things take shape, bit by bit.

To answer a few questions y'all asked:

The store's floors are all hardwood on the sales floor. The back storerooms and office have concrete floors.

I'm blessed in that I love my job. I teach at Detroit's largest university and have been working there for 26 years. We have no mandatory retirement age. I love what I do and will continue to work for at least another 4-5 years (I want to hit 30 years of service) and then I'll think more seriously about "retirement" - although I see myself doing something until I'm no longer able. As long as it's something I really love. However, this means I can only get to Cavalcade on weekends and when I schedule vacation time. So when I'm ready to finally open the doors, I don't know that I'll have many regular hours of operation. Time will tell how it all works out.

The store is in the town of Croswell, Michigan - it is about 82 miles northeast of Detroit. This is close to my cottage, which is near the village of Lexington, Michigan, and that is just four miles east of Croswell at Lake Huron.

The electric service in the building couldn't accommodate running power to all the stoves - but I was able to put in a few 220 outlets (I needed two in the new kitchen). The City of Croswell has its own electric utility, so they are glad to have a new customer that has a thing for electric ranges and other appliances!

Once the kitchen portion of the building is complete - hopefully by Memorial Day - we will start recording new Cavalcade of Food episodes. When the place is ready for visitors, I will let you all know!

Thanks again, everyone!

Post# 1031411 , Reply# 34   4/30/2019 at 20:33 (397 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Stunning, all of it. What an accomplishment! Congratulations and looking forward to more Cavalcade videos.

Post# 1031415 , Reply# 35   4/30/2019 at 20:54 (397 days old) by Xraytech (Rural southwest Pennsylvania )        

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Sry impressive setup Kevin,
Can’t wait for an opportunity to see in person once you’re ready for that.
I have friends in Ferndale who maybe joy this as well.
This gives me more reasons to go to visit.

Btw I have something for your showroom.

Post# 1031421 , Reply# 36   4/30/2019 at 21:08 (397 days old) by washdaddy (Baltimore)        
one word says it all FAB-U-LOUS!!!

Hey Kevin-
I am in awe of what you have managed to put together to bring CAVALCADE to life. I never realized that your collection was as extensive as it is. I'm amazed by the shape and condition you've managed to get everything to.

I wish you all the best in your endeavor and that you are blessed with much success!
Keep up the good work. It's like taking a step back in time and it looks fantastic!

Have a Great Day!

Washdaddy aka Rick

Post# 1031442 , Reply# 37   5/1/2019 at 02:40 (397 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        
Kevin, I might come knocking on your door...

Ah Croswell - had to look that one up.  Funny, many, many years ago my brother and I would trek out to a tree farm in Applegate to get our Christmas tree.  It was an adventure scouting the field for exactly the right tree to cut.  Now days I go to Sarnia often during the summer, my cousins keep their boat in the marina there, for me it's a quick 50 minute drive - except when the bridge gets backed up.  Looking at getting a Nexus card this year so I can sail through the border.....


BTW, if you pull up Croswell on Google and go to the map, you will see your store ( still says Ben Franklin..) right along site the map with town pictures.

Post# 1031445 , Reply# 38   5/1/2019 at 03:50 (397 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Truly Magnificent Kevin.

You have re created a Vintage Appliance Store.

Yes, Great idea about announcing the Grand Opening. I for one would love to attend.

'What fun it would be to do a series of cooking demonstrations.

Just Wonderful. Congratulations again and again.

Post# 1031454 , Reply# 39   5/1/2019 at 07:07 (397 days old) by gredmondson (San Francisco, California 94117 USA)        

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I so much enjoyed your postings about transforming the Ben Franklin store into Calvacade.

Post# 1031487 , Reply# 40   5/1/2019 at 18:36 (396 days old) by perc-o-prince (Southboro, Mass)        

That's it. W.O.W.

We may be going to the Dayton OH area in a couple of months... Detroit's only about 3 hours, right?


Post# 1031502 , Reply# 41   5/1/2019 at 19:51 (396 days old) by joelippard (Hickory)        

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I LOVE what you are doing here!  So Impressive!

Post# 1031573 , Reply# 42   5/2/2019 at 12:39 (395 days old) by Jasonlittle (Southern iowa)        

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Kevin that is an amazing collection you have. That is so awesome that you were able to get that building to house all of your stuff in one location. I also love your YouTube videos. I stumbled upon your videos by accident when I was trying to find some YouTube videos on a vintage KitchenAid mixer. After watching your video I wondered if you might be a member here so I started looking through some of your other videos until I found one where you mentioned it. Congratulations on the building that’s awesome !!

Post# 1031595 , Reply# 43   5/2/2019 at 18:41 (395 days old) by luxflairguy (Wilmington NC)        

Hans!  Wanna go?  I'll drive!  Greg

Post# 1031597 , Reply# 44   5/2/2019 at 19:01 (395 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
One of these days

You bet Ill go!

Post# 1031675 , Reply# 45   5/3/2019 at 10:05 (394 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Kevin and Ralph,

Quite the accomplishment there guy's! We'll try making a day trip up there this summer. I told my sister Elaine, who knows a lot of people who like anything vintage. Her friends ran my folks estate sale, and also know many.

Post# 1031682 , Reply# 46   5/3/2019 at 11:38 (394 days old) by twintubdexter (Palm Springs)        

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I'm sure the new studio warrants a camera to replace Ralph's aging (vintage) Kodak Brownie. Congratulations on your incredible project. 

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Post# 1031761 , Reply# 47   5/4/2019 at 06:56 (394 days old) by Paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Google Earth snapshot

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I just “Google Earthed” Croswell Michigan and guess what pops up?
A little snapshot of a Ben Franklin store!

Post# 1031764 , Reply# 48   5/4/2019 at 07:41 (394 days old) by imperial70 (******)        
Open House?

I would love to visit if/when you have an open house.  I'd love to share my baklava recipe with you.

Post# 1031909 , Reply# 49   5/5/2019 at 21:48 (392 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        

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LOL! I did buy a new camera (and lights and microphone) for the kitchen studio. While it isn't quite as old as a Kodak Brownie, you will laugh when you see the camera we have been using all these years. The same one since we started in 2011!

Now whether or not Ralph will be able to figure out how to use the new camera is another story...

Post# 1031928 , Reply# 50   5/6/2019 at 07:25 (392 days old) by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

Keep us updated on the progress, I'd definitely like to come see it when it's done, only about a 3 hour drive for me!

Post# 1031993 , Reply# 51   5/7/2019 at 05:54 (391 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
It's beautiful; like a corner of Heaven!

Your RT70G is the first one I have seen that was not just a picture.  I love my RT70. The counters in the kitchen are a beautiful color.


Is your electrical service 240 or 208 volts with your location in the business district?

Post# 1031999 , Reply# 52   5/7/2019 at 06:41 (391 days old) by ozzie908 (Lincoln UK)        
What a superb way to display your collection.

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Congratulations on your wonderful looking "store" and wow what a simply stunning Christmas window. May you enjoy this and many other window displays for years to come and it is such a nice way to share your collection with others who will visit when they are able. You may need to consider buying a local B&B so those from further afield will be able to stop over :)


Post# 1032009 , Reply# 53   5/7/2019 at 09:39 (390 days old) by jmm63 (Denville, NJ)        

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This is just awesome Kevin and Ralph. So much hard work at something you love. I love the Christmas windows and all the vintage Christmas, that alone is worth a trip to see.

My Aunt and Uncle lived in Huron Shores in Port Sanilac, and we used to go to Lexington all the time. What a cute town, I've been by that store so many times.

Post# 1032027 , Reply# 54   5/7/2019 at 14:05 (390 days old) by kevin313 (Detroit, Michigan)        
Thanks again, everyone!

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I will be sure to keep you all updated on the progress of things.

Just spent the entire past weekend starting work on the typewriter and hi-fi departments :-)


Post# 1037890 , Reply# 55   7/11/2019 at 15:37 (325 days old) by PhilR (Quebec Canada)        

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That's very impressive Kevin! Wow!

Post# 1038001 , Reply# 56   7/12/2019 at 17:45 (324 days old) by dishwasherfan (Phoenix, AZ)        
Congratulations Kevin & Ralph

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Kevin, I am so excited for you and thank you for sharing your story & photos. I have corresponded with you in the past about how much I enjoy your cooking videos at the cottage. If you ever plan an (event) at your new store I will make it a priority to attend. Take care, Bob....

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