by Jatelle Woods
There have always been strong, positive attributes at Community Grounds, including its fun community and role as a valuable third space. As manager, I am always eager to improve and strengthen the shop as well. I am often thinking about the future of the coffee shop and the ways we can develop it to further benefit our community, as well as our staff team.
Currently, I am exploring strategic efforts to offer “more” - more snacks and more substantive food options, which some customers have requested. These additions can create opportunity for people to be able to stay longer when they don’t have to leave to find additional meal options. My other hope for the shop is to remodel. Aesthetics are a big part of making visitors feel comfortable in a space. I want everyone to feel welcome and at ease in Community Grounds. So as we consider expanding the kitchen to offer more food, I am also looking forward to areas we can improve the shop along the way.
My personal background is customer service, specifically Dominoes. I began as a customer service rep, and then progressed through their track as pie maker, then driver, store manager, a regional trainer, and finally a multi-unit supervisor. I’m someone who drives cultural change, which in turn drives sales. Producing results is important, but I care deeply about how our team feels when they come to work.
My big focus is developing our staff team internally. We have been able to add new positions to our team, including a management position to help cover our back room. This advancement has been great for development of staff. We seek to hire folks who maybe wouldn’t always be given a chance, and then we train them. As I look to the future, I hope to start educating our team on topics like profits and losses to help them understand our bigger context.
My hope is they will be able to use these skills at Community Grounds or wherever they may go in the future. When you empower other people with knowledge, you gain their respect. They also develop respect for the team they’re a part of. Most of us need to feel like we’re part of something bigger. FCS is mission-based, so our coffee shop and market staff talk about how we are contributing to that mission. What does it mean to our store and to each employee?
I’m grateful to wake up every day and do something I love for a purpose that inspires me. I know that our stores, as well as our staff development, are continuing to grow and flourish. For me, it feels good to know I’m impacting people. It pushes me to do my best. Yes, I’m serving customers, but I’m also serving my neighbors. There’s a certain amount of accountability that comes with that relationship. I can’t drive away and ignore the awful product I gave. I’m challenged to make Community Grounds and Carver Market the best they can be. Then, after I check out somebody’s groceries, we can walk out together.