Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Has it been twenty years already?


Oh heck, first it embedded the video and then it didn't. I give up. Go to this link and view it, okay?

That's Hillsborough, NC mayor Tom Stevens on the left, and PHE, Inc. founder/chairman (I think his new title is since he recently stepped down from being president) Phil Harvey on the right, cutting the ribbon to the new warehouse for Adam & Eve.

That's right, the nation's premier adult product retailer. This made it official: we added 30,000 square feet to our existing 40,000-or-so square-foot warehouse.

Business is good.

We're one of Orange County's largest employers, with 300 employees. That doesn't include the people employed at our franchises located around the country.

Me? I've been with the company for oh, 31 1/2 years or so. (My supervisor's always asking me, "When are you going to retire?" Don't know what to make of that.) (And it only feels like it's been 10 years or so.)

When I was out of work so many years ago, desperate for ANYTHING, I started at a small warehouse-plus-offices building located to the west of Carrboro, NC. Previously the company had been in downtown Chapel Hill (which is attached to Carrboro like a Siamese twin). The office I worked in had windows that faced brick, a sign of the company already expanding, for that office had once been on an outer wall.

Eventually that building got crowded. How crowded? You had to dodge cardboard box mountains in the halls. They kicked us in Marketing and another department out and we moved to an ancient warehouse in Hillsborough that required a lot of fixing up before we arrived.

In those days I lived just past the northeast edge of Hillsborough, and every morning I drove past a lovely little farm. That farm was sold, and offices began to be built on the land. I told my supervisor that  it might be a good spot for us to move to, since we were looking.

Sure enough, the company bought that lot. (My supervisor snapped at me later that they'd already decided on the lot before I brought it up. That was kind of strange since she acted like she'd never heard of it when I talked to her.) Almost twenty years ago the new building opened there. How handy to have work so close when Hurricane Fran hit! Our office park, which also contains a nursing home and hospice (and vet and Sportsplex and wine company and chainsaw company and ambulance group and really, really rotten dentist, a school, a senior center…) was one of the first places to get electricity back. I recharged my laptop daily at my desk, and it was one of my primary ways of lighting my house for a week. Working in a semi-functioning office was also preferable to hanging around in a powerless house.

But eventually I moved while PHE stayed where it was. The office part is three stories high, and offices/departments are always being shifted around. Don't know why. Seems to me that would get expensive after a while. The warehouse is two stories. Someone said that five million orders go out of there each year, or maybe the new warehouse will be able to handle another five million or something, but a whole lot of orders are processed in our warehouse!

So thanks out there, for ordering from us. You've allowed me to pay for housing, a couple cars, groceries, etc. Hillsborough has not (as the opponents to our moving there warned) put up billboards proclaiming it the Sex Capital of the South. In 2005 PHE, Inc. was awarded "Business of the Year" by the Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce.

We've survived numerous court cases and raids (yes, I've been in a raid!), and are one of the few corporations that have taken on the United States of America in court and WON. (Which reminds me: I still haven't read Phil's book about his view of the events.)

Quite a few years ago (more like well over a decade) a co-worker and I were both beginning our first writing endeavors. We promised each other that our lead characters would work at Adam & Eve. Next month Stalemate, volume 3 of the superhero series "Three Worlds," will be coming out, and a sequence in it has one of our heroes touring a company that his darling bride works for. It looks suspiciously like an amalgam of Adam & Eve of about twenty years ago and the one of today. I think it's a pretty funny set of scenes. And the situation will come into play on a more serious level if, I mean when I publish Whore of the Worlds, which is volume… Oh, I don't know. Eight-ish.

So thanks, Adam & Eve and all your cousin companies, for supporting me all these years. Long may you wave! I'll try not to think about the fact that tomorrow I'll be ordering scores of vibrators again. (Y'see, along with my regular duties I also check our email campaigns, which involves tracking an order—usually a vibrator—through the ordering process to make sure there are no slip-ups. I live in fear of actually ordering one instead of hitting the "edit my order" button at the very end and then canceling. Good thing I'm using someone else's name.)

Next week: An exciting Wonder Woman column! With actual pictures! And I'll be announcing the re-release of Applesauce and Moonbeams! (Whew, finally!)

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