I’m living the dream!
Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to “grow up and work for Starbucks”. When I was sixteen I got my first coffee shop job working for a little local “chain” called Cruise-N-Coffee in Marquette, Michigan. In my interview I told them that I wanted the job because in a few years I had plans to move to a big city that had Starbucks and work for them. I dreamed of managing a Starbucks store and eventually starting my own coffee shop/wine bar/venue after that.
Two years later, I moved to Texas and interviewed with a young, trendy, very-pregnant, Jesus-loving manager in the cultural district (there’s a cultural district?!) of Fort Worth. The store was newly opened in Montgomery Plaza: a restored historical building and home to Matthew McConaughey’s loft. (No, I never saw him shirtless. In fact, I never did see him before I moved stores.) Jen, my new manager, accidentally hired me in my interview. It wasn’t until later that she realized how young I was and that her hiring me was breaking her newly made “rule” of not staffing her store with people younger than eighteen.
Jen always had her bible on her desk in the back of the store and she led her team with an infectious energy (JOY!) and grace. Years later, I still remember and leverage the things that I gleaned from my short time with her in my own Starbucks experience.
I “accidentally” moved to Minnesota a year later and after finding out that my top two stores to transfer to were already full, I “accidentally” got transfered to a Drive-Thru in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. I started working for Kristen, who I now affectionately call “Nanny”, the closest thing to a “Starbucks Mom” as you can get. She raised me from a broken-hearted, wild child, with no early conception of “speed of service” to a focused, time-management-oriented shift supervisor and later, assistant store manager (Just kidding! Anyone who knows me knows how true the first statement is and how untrue is the second!).
I went on to take the assistant store manager position at the store that was at the top of my “do not want” list. I had been praying for whatever store they’d be moving me into for the last year and every time it sounded a little bit like “I know you know what’s best and I’ll go anywhere you want but please, not Roseville.”
And that’s exactly where I went.
A forty-five minute drive from my little suburban home, diagonally across the city to the farthest neighborhood from me. Little did I know, that store would be the closest location (with the exception of downtown stores) to my new home that I’d moved into months later. It also would be the store where I worked with a store manager who had completely opposite strengths, opportunities, and managing styles as me. It would be the place where I would meet some of my very best friends, work with old ones, and be surrounded by people who loved me and supported me through the hardest year that was ahead.
That crazy store in Roseville, Minnesota, the one that I never wanted to go to, ended up being the best part of my Starbucks journey so far. I was supposed to be there. I was made to live life with, work with, and grow with this group of people, and it was made increasingly obvious as the year went on.
More than a year passed, and I was sensing that my season there was coming to a close. Weeks later, my district manager came in to tell me that I was moving to the Galleria store in Edina to be with my Starbucks Mom, Nanny, as her assistant store manager. I was so happy that I burst into tears! It really seemed like things were coming around full-circle and my heart was glad knowing that God was so good to prepare me for this transition.
Leaving that store was so much harder than I had anticipated. I sat in the parking lot of the store I never wanted to go to, crying as I realized what a bittersweet transition this was. It was so hard, but it was so sweet to remember all the ways that store and those partners had shaped my life, impacted my heart and taught me through it all.
I didn’t last very long at the Galleria. On my last day of work before my birthday and my ten-day vacation to L.A. my current district manager and my (little did I know) soon-to-be-future district manager came in, sat me down, and invited me to take the store manager position at 77th & Lyndale! Happy Birthday to me, I got a store!
I had never been to this location until my first day of work after I got home from California. The store is gorgeous; all cafe, lined with giant windows, booths, and full of enthusiastic, welcoming, amazing partners! There was a chalkboard made for my first day that said “Welcome Reese!” and I got a pot of daffodils as my “house warming” gift!
The timing seems a little funny that I’m starting at a store as soon as I return from falling in love with L.A. but I’m so thankful to rest in knowing that God made me, he loves me, he’s so good at engineering everything in my life, and he’s working all things (past, present, and future) for my GOOD!
Since Starbucks, as I’ve gotten older, the dream to own and manage my own cafe has faded as I’ve fallen in love with a company that has a love for people at the heart of everything they do. Who I am today and how I do business has largely been shaped by this organization. I was raised by Starbucks. I grew up under kingdom-oriented leadership with gracious people who were committed to inspiring and nurturing me in my development. I’ve lived life in the four walls of many different stores, working with many different types of people; learning and laughing along the way.
I found myself, my strengths and my opportunities, under the covering of this company that offered the safety and commitment to see me grow and thrive through trial and error. I’m so thankful for the leaders and mentors that I’ve had along the way, people placed into my life in perfect timing, that have played an irreplaceable part in my growth as a person and a manager.
I’m starting this new season in my journey through life and Starbucks with joyful expectation, high hopes, and so much thankfulness for where I’ve been and where I’m going!
All things are being made new.