A Year In The Making
I remember when I was 12 years old my father would wake me up early Saturday mornings to take me to our coffee shop to work. On our way, my dad would make sure to stop at the local bakery and get me a hot cinnamon roll before our morning responsibilities began. After polishing off the pastry, my job for the day was to prepare the coffee orders by scooping the beans and weighing out French Roast and Henry's Blend in large bags. Although I got to eat a high sugary breakfast and spend time with my dad, to be honest I would have preferred to stay home and watch cartoons. After all, I was 12, and Saturday mornings were what I waited for all week.
It has been exactly one year since I left my prior role as a manager of Sales Analytics and joined our family business. On that first day I walked towards the back of the store and grabbed an aluminum coffee scoop. It was the same scoop I had used back when I was 12. I remembered the scoop because my father had drilled a hole in the handle to hang it on the wall. "Make sure to put it back in its place when you are done," he would say. The same nail hung on the back of the desk waiting to be partnered back up with the scoop. It made me laugh and think about how creative you have to be when you own your own business. There's no time to research a new coffee scoop, you just drill a hole in it. I didn't appreciate it as a kid, but as someone who has worked many years overseeing drawn out meetings just to plan the next meeting, it's kind of rewarding to know that you don't have to let little things get in the way and you can focus on the main goal; providing great coffee.
I've learned a lot in this last year, mainly that business isn't about sales, or profit and loss statements; it's about relationships. House of Coffee has been around for 50 years because we treat everyone like family. For example, when a new customer asks for a coffee recommendation, my father can't be more excited. This is his opportunity to understand the customer, evaluate their needs, then share his expertise and welcome them to his business, to his home. He wants to make sure he understands them completely so they can get the best he has to offer. We have a sense of pride and honor when that customer returns and joins the list of others whom we have a long standing relationship with. Like family, we love it when you come back.
Our customers get so excited to know that I have joined the business and there's almost a sense of relief knowing that their coffee isn't going away. "Please don't change a thing!" is what I might hear, and I understand. This is their home and they're happy with what they have. They don't want anyone messing with their coffee. I smile and tell them that I'm helping out my father. I'm not changing anything; I'm continuing the family tradition.
A year has come and gone and I have so much more to learn. Please be assured that I will maintain the same level of passion and dedication that is being passed down from my father to me.