I’m sitting in my shop on the eve of our two year anniversary here at Broadway Market. Our cafe is closed, lights are turned off and the only light is streaming through our front window as the light is starting to fade as the sun sets on my little town. It’s a rare moment that I’m actually sitting at our front bar. Pretending to be a customer with a cup of coffee beside me, computer in front of me.
These two years have flown by. I’ve learned so much over these two years. I’m not the same person. I’ve learned a lot about life, people, coffee, running your own business, how to pretend to be a morning person- and most importantly about Jesus.
You see, two years ago I was an introverted girl, (slightly prideful), living inside a shell. I thought I knew everything. (ha) I thought I knew how coffee was supposed to be, and that everyone would have to fall into the category of “coffee purest”.
I was about to be thrown into one of the most challenging things we’ve ever undertaken.
Looking back to that first week, and to where I am now I see nothing but the grace of God. I’m still trying to figure out how we even survived those first months. The learning curve was steep. Not only was it a coffee shop, but a restaurant and a floral business. I was putting in 90-100 hours a week those first few months. I was dying. My parents were dying. We lost weight, sleep was an afterthought. Surviving on coffee. I felt like I was suffocating. I didn’t know how to operate in my new role of being around people 24/7. I was drained. I wanted out. I wanted to escape to the mountains. Only I couldn’t. I was tied to this building. My mom cried all the time and my Dad didn’t know what to do with us. This dream felt like a nightmare at times. I was in love with coffee, not so much with having to talk to every single person that came in. I took every negative word to heart. every suggestion, every little bit of negativity felt like a personal stab at me-you see, I saw the cafe as a reflection of myself. Somehow though, we made it through the first few months, which quickly turned into a year, and without even blinking an eye two years have flown by.
We have spent countless hours remolding and working on improving our space, had people put in countless hours just to make our shop as inviting as possible.
As most people in the coffee industry quickly find out, it’s not always glamorous. You put your heart and soul into something with small monetary return for how much of yourself you put into it. It’s long hours, countless dishes, washing the same tables over and over, sweeping the floors for the hundredth time, it’s early mornings and late nights. It’s stressful- but even through all that, I’ve come to learn, it’s worth it.
Why? Because: people.
I don’t remember when it happened, but I asked the Lord to give me a love for this town. For the people that walk through our doors. He has. Oh my He has. I love this town. I love the fact that I can make someones day a little brighter after that first sip of coffee. I love watching community build over a cup of coffee as people meet in my shop.
I love watching love blossom from that awkward first date to engagement photos taken here. I love seeing the community come around our own after tragedy hits. I can guarantee any barista who is passionate about their job, about coffee AND people will tell you they could put therapist down on their resume as well. I love it when my customers come in and share their heart.
From the farmers that grow the coffee (for very little in return), to the roasters that put their heart and soul into the final product that finds it’s way into the barista’s hands-each step of the process is all for the end consumer. You.
I feel a great responsibility to put out a product that is worthy of that farmer and roasters time and effort put into those coffee beans that end up before me. I’m passionate about it. I love everything about coffee, the science, the method, the art. If you ever want to see my geeky side just ask me about coffee.
I’ve found some amazing friends within the coffee community. Friends that I couldn’t have made it through that first year without. Namely, Kiersten who not only roasts my coffee, but has been there through thick and thin praying me through and sending me scripture when I didn’t think I could take another step. Nick who taught me most of what I know, patiently teaching and guiding me. Never once being cocky, but a humble teacher. Nathan who pushed me relentlessly to step out and enter Latte Art Throwdowns (okay so it was more like yelling at me and threatening until I agreed) and giving me some of the best advice that first week of being open. I love each one of you and am so thankful for the part you have played. There are so many others who have stepped in and volunteered their time and energy into this place. I am humbled by it.
I’ve learned how to be a customer again. Over the last two years I’ve had the chance to visit countless specialty coffee shops. Some of the best in the country. I’ve had people ask me why I, as someone who spends the majority of her time in a coffeehouse working, I would want to spend my two days off in other peoples shops. The answer is twofold: 1. I love coffee. I love walking into a shop and getting the chance to geek out with other roasters and barista’s over what’s getting them excited. I need to go, to remind me why I love coffee. 2. To remember what it means to be a customer. There is no better way to realize how your customer wants to be treated, than to take a step back and be on their side of the counter. As the barista, you have the chance to make or break that experience.
In these two years I’ve learned how to survive and thrive in this role. It means getting up earlier than needed to spend time with my savior, savoring my morning cup of coffee in total silence. I couldn’t make it a single day here without Him. I’ve grown thicker skin, how to get out of awkward situations, and the fact I have to embrace the fact I’m a klutz that has a bad habit of setting things on fire. However the echoing thought inside my head is this: He is faithful. He never leaves. He’s here with me. Every step. By my side. It’s His shop, not ours.
My parents. Wow. My parents. They have done nothing but help me pursue my dream and passion of coffee. I have watched them love and invest into the people of this town. They pour their hearts out daily, putting in long hours. There have been days I’m sure my parents were ready to drop me off in the middle of nowhere (I’m not always the easiest person to work with), but there is no one I would rather have had by my side the last two years. This wasn’t their dream, yet they have pursued it like it was. We’ve cried together, fought, laughed until there were tears running down our faces and made memories that will last a lifetime. I wish people could see how much they have put into making people feel loved. I hope that one day I am half the person they are.
As I once again look out the window, the sun has set on my little town. I am filled with love. I’ll be here again in less than 12 hours after being here for the last 13. A soft smile on my face. I can’t wait to see what this next year holds.
If you walk through the doors of our shop, I hope you walk out knowing you’re loved.
Here’s to year 3.