CoCo Reflections from Garrett McGowan:
This Week’s CoCo: Be Urgent to the Customer
For a little over two years after being married, Lauren and I lived together in a studio apartment in Downtown Los Angeles. I worked long hours at a financial firm, and she worked nights and weekends at the hospital. We have many fond memories of that time, but down-time together was both scarce and precious in that season of life.
One fateful Saturday, the stars aligned, and we had an entire day to spend together free of any obligations. Lauren, wanting to be a responsible adult, mentioned that we had gone too long without a visit to the dentist and that we should put the free time to good use. I begrudgingly agreed but requested that she book something close by so that we didn’t waste our entire day enduring traffic. She obliged and quickly booked a location in the city that was a 20-minute walk from our apartment.
The day of the appointment arrived. We exited our apartment, and I pulled up the office on my phone. “This is a strange location,” I said as we began walking. We made our way into a quiet, gritty, industrial part of the city. We arrived at our destination, which looked like a big factory building. A single metal door stood before us with a small plaque indicating that it was a dentist’s office. We opened the door and made our way up a long-carpeted staircase into a silent, non-descript waiting room. “Where did you find this place?” I asked. I pulled up the location and, in a city of millions, the office had only a handful of generically worded reviews. I was about to say that we should leave when a receptionist came out saying the dentist was ready right away. Lauren and I looked at each other and nodded – even if we made it out with a few less organs, we weren’t going to waste our day.
The dentist sat both of us in separate rooms and began the routine teeth cleaning. There were no assistants and rather than attending to one patient before moving to another, it was clear that he was running between rooms to perform on us like some kind of human-mouth Ford factory line. The dentist was in Lauren’s room when I heard him say, “One moment, I have to go grab a package.” At this point, he completely left the building. We sat in silence for what had to be 10 minutes. The only sound that could be heard was our stifled laughing between rooms.
He eventually returned, finished the cleaning, and to our surprise we left the office whole and intact. On our walk home, we were commiserating on how bizarre our experience was. I told her that I couldn’t believe he left the building while we sat in the operation chairs. “You know what’s even worse?” Lauren asked. “He left the suction device in my mouth the entire time.”
Being urgent to the customer requires prioritization and intentionality. This urgency does not necessitate toxic mindsets like ‘the customer is always right.’ Rather, it simply asks that we provide our full attention and effort to deliver on the customer experience. We can’t always control external factors and sometimes we will be limited in our ability to deliver, but we should always maintain the internal urgency to others. We should never give in to apathy. We should never leave the building with medical devices in the mouths of our customers.
Next Week’s CoCo: Never Stop Learning
In the final weeks of 2017, Lauren and I embarked on a move from Southern California to Wisconsin. Through a set of extraordinary circumstances, my best pal and now brother-in-law (a separate story), Lucas, made the move with us. We agreed to split a U-Haul and to share the cost. Later, we found out that Lucas had a storage unit full of family heirlooms and so we had no other option than to go all in. A group of individuals, softened by the Southern California lifestyle, committed to driving a 26-foot U-Haul across the country and into the Midwest during the dead of winter. And, to our credit, we made the journey with relative ease.
On the third and final day of the trip, we crossed the border into Wisconsin. The snow was falling, holiday music was playing, and we were in top tier spirits. The whole extended family was gathered and waiting for us at Lauren’s uncle’s house about 40 minutes west of Milwaukee. The sun had set, the festive lights were on, and a thin sheet of snow covered the ground. We turned into the neighborhood and began cheering and high fiving. We had made it successfully: the journey was over.
We pulled up to the house. Lauren’s uncle was at the end of the long driveway waiving us in. Lucas swiftly turned the U-Haul into the driveway but, due to the snow coverage, he did not see that on either side of the narrow driveway was a 3-foot drainage ditch. The two left wheels of the U-Haul hit the driveway and the two right wheels sunk into the ditch. We bounced over the incline and for a good 5 seconds we were wobbling down the driveway on two wheels. There was complete silence: we had journeyed over 2,000 miles safely only to crash on burn in the last 15 feet.
Luckily, the car slammed down on all four wheels, and we skidded to a stop at the end of the driveway. We exhaled a collective sigh of relief. Lucas, wanting to salvage his first impression, confidently strutted out of the U-Haul and up to Lauren’s uncle for a firm handshake. But, in his flustered state of mind, he did so without putting the vehicle into park. I sat in the passenger seat, wide eyed and paralyzed by shock, as our 26-foot U-Haul began rolling across the backyard. To Lucas’ credit, he athletically ran back, dove into the cab, and stopped the vehicle. The only damage done that evening was to Lucas’ ego. It was the great premature celebration of 2017.
Until we draw our last breath, our journey is never complete. We may hit milestones throughout our lives that can and should be celebrated, but the motto Never Stop Learning is a reminder that we have perpetual opportunities to live more and to live better. A fulfilled life is a life full of curiosity. It’s a life of exploring the unfamiliar, embracing experiences, and expanding one’s knowledge. It’s a life surrounded by others that share a similar passion and hunger for life. So read that book, say yes to the experience that tests your abilities, and agree to write company-wide reflections despite it feeling uncomfortable. If we are learning, we are growing. When we choose to be stagnant, we atrophy. I strive to live in a way where I can admit my limits, but I choose to not always accept them – I want to be pushing forward with my hands on the wheel, not aimlessly rolling into a backyard.
- Be Urgent to the Customer: This Core Commitment Hero comes from the Bakery Team – The Bake-Off crew – Jay, Atlas, Corina, Eric, and Noel! This crew beautifully proofs, fills, bakes, tops and packs all of our bakery in time for our amazing delivery crew to come get it by 5pm each day. Not only do they create remarkable food, but they crush the time it takes to get it ready for delivery and our customers in cafe! Thanks to these folks for their dedication to our customers.
- Never Stop Learning: This Core Commitment Hero comes from the Factory Cafe Team – Austin Grandlich! Austin may be new to coffee, but he definitely is not new to learning. Austin has taken the time since starting with us in January to not only accomplish his scholar barista certification, but also Cafe Coach Training on top of that. The team adores Austin’s commitment to learning and growing at Stone Creek Coffee, and we are so excited to have him a part of the Factory Cafe Team!
- Employee Satisfaction Survey: As you know, one of the most important things at Stone Creek Coffee is you! We care about you and the experiences that you have working here. To continue to never stop learning about areas in which we are excelling and areas that we can improve, we are conducting a super short employee survey. Your experience at Stone Creek Coffee is important to us, and this survey is another opportunity to share your thoughts. Click here to #SpeakUp and share your feedback by the end of the day on Friday, June 23rd.
Join the Whitefish Bay Opening Team: We are so excited for the opportunity to Create Remarkable Care in a new Whitefish Bay Cafe & Kitchen, with a target opening date this summer! We are in the early stages of building a team of Baristas, Line Cooks, and Cafe & Kitchen Team Leaders. If you are interested in joining the Whitefish Bay opening team, either as a permanent transfer or a temporary transfer, reach out to email@example.com!
- 6/22 TNT: Join us on June 22nd for our next Thursday Night Throwdown! This time around it is Jazz Night themed so come in some comfortable jazz club attire and be ready for a relaxing night of competition and fun! There will be two brackets, a beginner’s bracket, and an experienced bracket, food, and more! We’ll be giving away prizes for all competitive aspects of the TNT. All team members from all teams are invited. Please note that anyone who has been a barista for less than a year qualifies for the beginner’s bracket. See you there!
SCC Transportation Grant Coming Up: Hey Coffee Geeks! In striving to be equitable, inclusive, and environmentally conscious, SCC offers a transportation grant
opportunity to a handful of team members each quarter. This grant is awarded based on need. Team members who receive this grant will receive a monthly reimbursement towards a bus pass, bike, etc. If your primary method of transportation to work is something other than a personal vehicle and you are interested in participating, please email teams@stonecreekcoffee. com to request an application. All current and previous recipients should reach out to Teams to request a new application to reapply for the upcoming quarter. We will be accepting applications Monday, April 3rd through the end of the day Monday, July 10th, 2023. Q3 grant recipients will be selected by the end of the day on Monday, July 17th. Please see the 2023 Employee Handbook for additional details.
- Brewing Change Project – Guest House: Stone Creek Coffee is thrilled to be partnering with Guest House of Milwaukee for another volunteer opportunity. Located on North 13th Street between Juneau and McKinley Avenues in the King Park neighborhood. To learn more about Guest House of Milwaukee check out their website. We are looking for up to 10 coffee geeks to join Factory barista, Radar and Cafe Coach, Austin in creating sandwiches for Guest House on July 20th, from 1pm-2:30pm at Guest House. Guest House provides approximately 200-400 sandwiches daily to shelter guests and to those in need in our community. The goal is to have sandwiches available to all those in need each day of the year. Take a moment to let us know and sign up here by Friday, June 30th!
July 19th Professional Development Opportunity: We are thrilled to share another SCC Professional Development workshop with our teams! On Wednesday, July 19th, SCC team members are eligible to participate in Building and Maintaining Professional Relationships. This class focuses on the value and impact of building authentic connections in a professional environment with an emphasis on communication strategies, goal alignment, and strategic partnerships in the workplace. Together, we’ll build up our toolkit with strategies for successful interactions with team members, team leaders, and other folks we’re likely to encounter on our professional path (such as prospective employers, would-be coworkers, and vendors). Part-Time and Full-Time team members are invited to use their Paid Professional Development Time to attend from 3-6pm in the Factory Meeting Room on Wednesday 7/19. Click here to sign up for our July Professional Development opportunity. See you there!
- October 21st MKE Barista League: The Barista League holds unique coffee competitions all over the world, and this fall they’re coming to Milwaukee! Interested team members can choose to compete (free – compete in pairs; competitors are limited so sign up early!), volunteer (eligible for paid volunteer time), or just attend the event (tickets available for purchase). While SCC is not formally involved in the event, we are a community of #CoffeeGeeks and wanted to share this info with you! For more info, as well as competitor applications, volunteer applications, and ticket pricing, check out their website.
Wins & Shout-outs:
John Harvey – Tech
Thank you for showing remarkable care and taking care of your coworkers at the many SCC locations. Keep up the crushery!
Anthony Moroder – Harwood
Anthony, thank you for preparing a bunch of 5lb bags for the most recent 5lb sale. It’s super helpful heading into a sale like that (during a holiday) knowing everything is already prepped and ready to go. #takecareofyourcoworkers
Ali Nofrey – Harwood
Ali regularly thinks through what could be improved at the cafe and helps think through solutions. Most recently Ali reorganized our label bin with new folders and labels. She also thought through how to deal with a leaking Fetco while still serving coffee. Way to think hard Ali!
If you’d like to recognize or celebrate a teammate, we would love to hear about it! By clicking here, you can fill out a form to nominate a hero and choose how you would like them to be celebrated.
- 6/19 – Angeline Garvey
- 6/25 – Rachel Shea
- 6/26 – Litzel Saavedra
- 7/2 – Mara Rugen
- 7/3 – Matthew Wilkins
- 7/6 – Hailey Barsch
- 7/6 – William Thiemann
- 7/7 – Jenna Knapp
- 7/7 – Olivia O’Neill
- 7/11 – Margaret Bigler
- 7/11 – Bryan Bach
- 7/15 – Selina Domenech
- 7/21 – Meghan Gross
- 7/24 – Arcadia Schmid
- 7/29 – Olivia Aponte
- 7/30 – Amy Balestrieri
- Patricia Kovochich – 6 years!
- Brian Koznarek – 2 years!
- Bryan Kraft – 16 years!!!
- Andy Kubash – 2 years!
- Molly Persin – 2 years!
- Marie Redding – 2 years!
- Domenic Serena – 2 years!
- Mitch Stewart – 3 years!
- Karen Strange – 7 years!
- Margaret Tews – 4 years!
- Johnny Zei – 1 year!
- Adam Sack – Baker
- Josephine Bieker – Baker
- Yesenia Perez-Valazquez – Baker
- Rehaan Machhi – Harwood
- Dulce Garcia Perez- Glendale (Welcome back!)
Employee Discount Codes:
Please don’t share these with non-employees
- 20% Employee-Only Website Coupon Code
- June: Jun2023sccemp
- July: Jul2023sccemp
- 40% Employee-Only Mobile App Coupon Code
- June: Jun2023sccemp
- July: Jul2023sccemp
Ways to Speak Up:
Do you want to speak up about ideas, thoughts, and more? Send an email to Teams & People (firstname.lastname@example.org) or use the button below to send a note anonymously.