The Tip Jar- Inspiration From a New Café Owner

Friday March 4, 2011 // By Kari Guddeck

Cafe PicI’ve given quite a few warehouse tours of our Colorado warehouse lately.  It’s always a treat to take folks through who are in the beginning stages of opening a new café, kiosk, cart, etc.  As we walk through the door separating the offices from the warehouse, I usually turn around to find a look of overwhelmed awe with a hint of ‘kid in a candy store’ twinkle in their eyes.  With over 40 brands and thousands of different products, our warehouse can definitely be a little intimidating.  “Where do I start?”, “What would you buy?”, “What is that!?!”, and “I totally forgot about that.” are common comments I hear.  In order to avoid total sensory overload, I try not to give too much info or talk too much during tours with new business owners.  Instead, I like to let them wander around, let them ask questions, and basically let them lead the direction of the tour and conversation.

This week I had the pleasure of meeting a new owner who wowed me with her preparedness and take charge attitude.  LaNita (our new Customer Service Rep./Marketing Assistant) was shadowing us on the tour, and I couldn’t help but notice how inspiring this owner was to her as well.  She told us of how life events had guided her to open this business with a family member and proceeded to tell us how exhilarating it has been to learn a whole new trade.  And learn she has!  This customer had read books, magazines, blogs, manufacturer sites, etc.  She also had sought the advice of and picked the brains of other local shop owners and roasters.  Her trek for knowledge hasn’t been limited to coffee specific subjects either.  She was also genuinely very enthusiastic about learning about leasing, licensing, and all of that red tape type stuff that most people shudder at.  Of course she said that it was all very overwhelming, but the look on her face was that of someone confidently in charge. 

On a personal level I was impressed and inspired, so much so that I went home and opened that book that had been sitting on my nightstand for a couple of weeks waiting to be read.  I also started working on an important project that had recently been pushed to the backseat.  My lesson of the week:  you never know when inspiration will hit or who it will come from, make sure you’re open to the opportunity!

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