A Breath of Fresh Air (and fresh cookies!): Treat SLO

Imagine this. It’s week seven, we’re all tired, discouraged, and disheartened after four straight weeks of dealing with difficult sources and difficult stories just trying to make something work. Then, as if by magic or some other worldly gift, we stumble upon a topic that just might work out in our favor: Treat SLO. This local business with humble origins and beautiful baked goods seemed like it might just be the missing ingredient for the perfect story we have been trying to write all quarter.

And guess what? It was.

We sent out our initial email to Lan Alcorn, the owner of Treat SLO, to gauge her interest in participating and being interviewed. In a miraculous turn of events, we got a quick and enthusiastic response from Lan (which elicited an even more enthusiastic response from the group).

Excitement filed the room after we heard back from our source almost immediately. Rachel and Divya are in awe of our early successes.
Excitement filed the room after we heard back from our source almost immediately. Rachel and Divya are in awe of our early successes.

We got right to work after receiving Lan’s response. The lack of stress and disillusionment made us remarkably productive; we sat down as a group and began to structure our interview questions, discussed our focus and even thought about what media would be best used to tell the story. I know, you’re probably thinking like “duh, how else would you begin a project if not like this?” but, alas, this was the first time this quarter we have had a moment of calm that we could use to prepare before we went out on the streets and began to work on our piece.

As the weekend began to approach, we all began to get a little more suspicious that things might be too good to be true. Would Lan actually show up for our interview like she said? Or would we be left out in the cold, yet again, scrambling to pull something together moments before the deadline was approaching, like we have been for the past weeks (oops)?

Lan's house. The scene of our first successful interview all quarter.
Lan’s house. The scene of our first successful interview all quarter.

As luck would have it, SHE SHOWED UP! And not only did she show up, she totally came through for us. Lan was sweet, talkative and passionate–the gold metal worthy, awe inspiring, trifecta of an interviewee, if you ask me.

Lan gave us just about everything we needed to write a bomb.com piece about her business, but we wanted to make sure we had some sources besides her in the piece, so I began digging to find people who had used her service or businesses who had benefitted from the philanthropy work that her company did.

I began to reach out to parents on the Cal Poly Parents page and, I swear, I got responses with in seconds of my posting. Parents LOVED treat slo, provided us with pictures of their products and–best of all–they were willing to let us use their quotes in our story.

We began to think things couldn’t get better than this, but we were wrong.

After sending out an e-mail to Woods Humane Society, asking if they had been beneficiaries of Lan and Treat SLO, I got a response within a day confirming that Lan had donated to them recently.

Kevin, seen typing at a computer, writes an email to Lan Alcorn
Kevin writes a desperate email to see if he can go on a ride along with Lan for his interactive piece (turns out no desperation was needed, but ya live and ya learn)

It was all coming together, but there was one final ingredient we were missing for the perfect story: footage of us riding along with Lan on a delivery. And, on Wednesday, Kevin hopped in the car and rode along with Lan as she dropped of some goodies–and picked up her kiddos from school.

Now, it’s Friday. The day it all comes together and, for once, things have already come together. Amazing, truly.

This project was a DREAM come true. Don’t believe me? Lets see what the critics (okay, the participants) had to say.

“I hate most sweets and am not particularly interested in the baking process. So, the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed shooting video for this project is a testament to how wonderful Lan and Adelynn were as well as their formidable baking skills. All in all, it was a pleasure covering this story!” -Divya Thirunagari, Video Creation Extraordinaire 

“I don’t have any complaints. Everything is awesome.” -Lan Alcorn (on running her own business, but I’d like to think she thinks were awesome too.) Owner, Treat SLO

“Having great sources actually made this whole process…enjoyable. Weird.” -Me, Shelby Dewberry Support Team 10, Behind the Scenes Blogger.

“Wow, thats a ton of good info.  Awesome!” -Kevin Schindler, Multimedia Maverick. 

“Actually having our sources show up was the dopest thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ve peaked. It’s all downhill from here.” -Rachel Foote, A+ Reporter

…hopefully Rachel is wrong, but if we truly have peaked, at least it was nice to be on top for a moment.