Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday since I can remember. When I was young, this was probably because Thanksgiving was often at my house and mostly featured my Mom’s cooking. Today, simply, a holiday celebrating food and thanks remains my favorite, no matter where I am or who I’m with.
I have been overwhelmed with the urge to say thank you since we have started the Grilled Cheesus endeavor. During this holiday, I’d like to focus on a few people who have really helped this happen…
Luis Catala – A week or so after this idea, I was speaking with my pal Luis about action steps. I had been focused on a design patent, but Luis told me I should really lock in the trademark. This was the first bit of good advice I received, and none of this would be happening if it weren’t for Luis.
Gregg Giuffre – Gregg, offered his personal time, graphic design skills and contacts in the early stages of our design patent application. Gregg helped with the original drawings for our plate. Thank you, Gregg. (Gregg is an amazing drummer who plays with Desert Stars and Hunters, check him out!)
Johnny Cirillo – Johnny has always been an advocate of this idea, of chasing after a dream, of making something from nothing. Johnny was the first person to see the ad for the Glee episode titled Grilled Cheesus a few days before it aired. He gave me some time to prep for the buzz that this episode would generate, and to speak with some lawyers prior to the airing of the show. (Johnny is a very talented man, check out his work here.)
Patrick Sheehan, Tracy Heppeler and Sarah Amiel – these three people have never shown a lack of interest in the Grilled Cheesus. Each of them has listened to me through every up and down along the way and has never allowed me to give up. One heck of a support system. They don’t only listen… they each offer their own ideas and help, and remind me that’s what friends are for.
David and Ellen Sheehan and Eleanor Fink – My parents and my grandmother have helped define our path. Intelligent and knowledgeable in both business and religion, they have supported us in infinite ways. I am not sure I can ever express sufficient gratitude.
Ralph and Joyce Corso – Another source of religious knowledge and infinite support, Ralph ad Joyce have been interested and supportive since the very beginning. Rob and I are so lucky to be graced with their influence and their ability to make us think.
John Pahmer – thank you for helping us test a bazillion recipes and not excluding cheese from you diet during such dire times. I could squeeze the cheese out of you.
Ian Gelfand – This idea came about while I was having a conversation with Ian. Ian, you should perhaps be at the top of this list. Also supportive in various ways, Ian is a motivation and an inspiration to us both. (We also love Ian’s family.)
Jonathan Pinsky – Jonathan Pinsky is our business advisor, and the creator of www.violight.com. The more I write, I realize how often I could say, we wouldn’t be here without this person. Jono helped us source the factory that made our first prototype. He helped us work out logistics for shipping, the warehouse…. He has helped us turn every little stone. Jono, you know we also adore your family.
Daria Sullivan and Jason Jewitt – AGAIN. Would not be writing this without Dare and Jase of 13 Designs. They are responsible for the original image of Jesus you see on your plate. They are responsible for all the artwork on the packaging, the Grilled Cheesus branding, the website… (thank you Zach Feldman as well! Genius!). They are the most wonderful people to brainstorm with. They have a contagious energy that is filled with creativity that we are ever so thankful for. They each have beautiful families that we also would like to thank for their patience as we burn the oil.
Jaclyn Ciringione, Crobin and John Johansen- Thank you for your ears, encouragement and for helping us in a pinch with photos, promotions, graphics and ideas… always with a smile. If you are every annoyed by our requests, you should think about a career in acting because I’d never know. (hmmmm perhaps not CrobinJ Jussst Kidding!)
Sheila Bogan, Meaghan Frayne and friendz – this crew has done nothing but help spread the word about the Cheesus. A soul I wish I could thank in person is our friend Susan Valz. In a better place now, I’m sure she is spreading the good curd up in heaven, where all cheese is fat free and carbs are the nutritional equivalent to kale.
Doug and Beth Anacreonte – Doug and his beautiful wife Beth supported us on Kickstarter.com financially, but more so emotionally. Kickstarter was a challenge, and Doug and Beth helped us keep our chins up during those 40 days.
Family in NY, FL, TX – The Anancreontes, the Nortons, the Finks… have all stood behind this idea and offer support with endless love. We are so blessed with family.
The Sheehan Clan in Oz- I have family on the other side of the world who supported in ways that erased the distance. Auntie Cathy wanted us to succeed on Kickstarter and sure let us know it. My cousins Liz and Eloise and Elos’ boyfriend Dan retweeted and reposted every chance they had. Uncle Mark, Aunt Bridget, Cody, Dylan, Hayley… Uncle Chris, Ben, Tim never lost the sparkle in their eye or excitement in their voice when talking of the Grilled Cheesus.
Evan Hoffman and Kimmee Arndt – our neighbors are also entrepreneurs who started their own spice company (do yourself a favor and buy some Black Bear Spice here) and have sympathized through our business blunders. They love to share ideas and ways to sell … come see us both at the BK Bazaar the first and third weekends in December!)
Tracy DiNunzio – I am lucky to know this lady. Tracy is a thriving business woman, check out her latest endeavor, www.tradesy.com. She is a brilliant mind and a wonderful, genuine friend. She can speak to strangers and make them feel she has known them forever. She is one of those humans who connects well with almost anyone, and has offered me some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
Lauren Sussman –Lauren demanded I purchase the website grilledcheesus.com the instant I told her about the idea, saving an enormous about of potential headaches.
Amy Vittorio – PR guru and wonderful friend, Amy guides me to some wonderful contacts and helps the Grilled Cheesus get some eyes. Cheers girlfriend.
Michael and Carol McCarthy and Jeff and Carolyn Fowler – These two couples have given to us in so many ways for so many years. They constantly give the best gift: laughter. (Ever just laugh for no reason? xx) Together and individually, they are people we always want to be around.
The Oesterle Family – Yet another group who supports the Grilled Cheesus, right down to their 2 year old son Nate… he loves his Grilled Cheesus! They will even be carrying some machines at their awesome store, Brooklyn Plantology by Lapide.
The list could go on. If I’ve missed you, it certainly isn’t because I’m not thankful for you. It is probably because I’m tired and a tad overwhelmed as we gear up for Black Friday and the holiday season.
Thank you Rob, for talking me down, talking me up and reminding me that even in the downs, we will always find the ups.
A special and additional thanks to my parents… I admire them so. I’m the lady I am because of my mother and the person I am because of them both.
A day to celebrate food and being thankful… shouldn’t every day be Thanksgiving? Thank you all so much.