blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Friday, September 23, 2005

web of life in the coffee business

From my office chair, I looked at Billy, sitting in one of my other office chairs, holding his half of the tuna fish sandwich, as his dog, Turbo, jumped up on his lap, wanting to share. Billy was talking to me about the Grovewood Tavern. Steve sat in my other office chair, waiting to hear the news about Grovewood. Were they finally ready to switch? I took a bite out of my half of the tuna fish sandwich as Will appeared outside my office door; he had arrived with his tool box ready to fix the juke box. Will wants to learn how to fix espresso machines. I told him he could start on our dusty broken juke box as a tester. On my desk sat my hastily scrawled list, minutes old, of six things that had to be done in the next two hours before I had to leave the office to go pick up the kids.
  1. YT Shaker, Mike (call to tell him when the new espresso machine will be arriving)
  2. Vince (call to tell him we're not interested in the Coventry space)
  3. Paula T. (get her pricing on the refurbished espresso machines that we have in stock)
  4. Iced Tea/Coffee... Cathy (tell her about our iced tea shipment shortage and about paying our bill)
  5. Accountant (call Mitch about the tax return he's working on)
  6. Barnhart (call Don about the dimensions of the Astra 2000 and the Astra steamer)

Thank goodness for lists. The more I make them, especially the down and dirty quickies that are often completed in the near term, the more sane I feel. I completed five of the six before I left the office, but I had to bring the kids back to the office in the afternoon to complete the remaining item. Granted, as I worked on this list, my efforts were punctuated with a couple of calls from Tina C. ("bad ass barista") at the Lee Road store, a call from Kiley ("renaissance barista") at Superior, a call from Carl calling from California asking me to contact his older children for him, a call from a Lee Road customer wanting to buy a stainless steel sink and did we sell them, and several questions and messages from Dawn who is the nerve center of the Roastery and answers the phone in the office next door.

Sometimes I wonder how I spend my days. What is the stuff that makes up a small business owner's day, specifically, if you're in the coffee business? We always say that life, especially in the coffee biz, is made up of relationships. Like a spider web or a woven piece of fabric, each relationship is one of the myriad strands that make up our lives. My list of "things to do" is actually composed of people who need my attention. I think of all the customers, vendors, employees, family members and friends who each form a relationship strand that is connected to me, and to each other, a woven network all influenced by the synapse stimulating powers of caffeine.


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