On the line—packing, packing, packing...

During this crazy holiday shopping season, Susan Reid (my fellow blogger) and I keep the warehouse folks supplied with daily treats, in order to keep both energy and spirits up. Our fulfillment folks (has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?) put in extra-long, hard days filling orders, packing boxes, mixing mixes, and generally moving at top speed for weeks at a time to get people’s holiday baking products on their way as quickly as possible.


40 pounds of flour, ready to go into a box... this is heavy work!

Sometimes the weather slows us down. Last week, the biggest, most costly ice storm in New Hampshire’s history spilled over into Vermont; our headquarters here in Norwich, VT is just across the river from Hanover, NH, and many of our employees live in that state. Many, indeed, came to work each day from homes without power: no running water, no light, no heat save perhaps a fireplace (with temperatures dipping into the single digits). Add to that the 24” of snow we got over the weekend, and it's been pretty challenging lately, weather-wise.

Yet here we all were, working hard. As an employee-owned business, and one that prides itself on customer service, we feel a huge responsibility at this time of the year to GET THE JOB DONE.

Admittedly, we’ve struggled at times. We were deluged with so many orders on Dec. 9 that our Web site slowed to a bare crawl, and some of our customer service reps were reduced nearly to tears by the end of the day, just from the sheer strain of trying to keep up with the phone calls and emails.


You make your list—we check it twice before packing, to make sure everything is present and accounted for.

But, as a recent email to you, our customers, put it: We’re all in this together. Anyone who possibly could—the IT folks, test kitchen bakers, our company president, Steve Voigt—manned packing stations, furiously packing boxes of merchandise so that your order would reach you as quickly as humanly possible.

And that’s where the treats come in. Susan’s baked hundreds of dozens of cookies, cupcakes, and bars over the past couple of weeks, walking up and down the packing line to provide a “warm chocolate chip cookie moment” for those packers elbow-deep in wrapping paper and bags of flour. I’ve taken the weekend shift, making sure our Saturday/Sunday crew isn’t shortchanged in the treats department. And together—we WILL get through this.


Our merchandise team pitched in, filling bottles with Fiori di Sicilia and jars with espresso powder.

The season’s nearing its end. The last holiday boxes will be going out the door this week (still in time for the holidays, thanks to 2-day delivery). For any of you whose order arrived more slowly than anticipated, we apologize. But we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you—for your patience, for your business, and for your baking.

Because after all, we believe that what feeds the body, also feeds the soul. Especially when it’s a warm chocolate chip cookie.

Happy holidays from all of us here at King Arthur Flour.


Butterscotch cake to keep us going - good to the last crumb!

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PJ Hamel
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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

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