Audra – Roadmap to a Coffeehouse
What do you do for a living?
I am the owner and operator of Good Beans Coffee House & Café
What does a day at your job look like?
Everyday is different, there’s no rhythm yet; everyday is a good day though. I start with making coffee, putting out bakery goods, and getting set up for customers to come in. Different people pop in throughout the day and order coffee, cold brews, honey lavender lattes, mochas…. I create custom drinks for people and I try to get creative, especially for the kids. The other day a 5 year-old girl asked for a steamer, and then proceeded to teach me how she wanted me to make one.
At the end of the day, I clean up, close the register, sanitize everything and get ready for the next morning. Then I do paperwork, place orders, run errands, and do inventory. I’m always working but it doesn’t feel like working. This is the first job I've had where I look forward to coming in everyday.
What path did you take to get here?
After high school I did electronic sales for 5 years, but I didn’t care for that much.
I went to school for cosmetology, got into the hair industry and liked it. Then I added acrylic nails so I could do mani/pedi’s. I liked it, but also felt something was missing.
My mom bought an electronic distributorship business for the packaging industry and need help, so I started working with her part-time and then went into full-time sales in our family company. The company was very successfully until 2008 when we lost it.
I knew I had to re-invent myself so decided I wanted to work with semi-precious gemstones that have healing properties. I started my own jewelry company doing pop-ups and selling to boutiques. This business did pretty well, but it was challenging. At some point I added Life Coaching to the mix.
I had always dreamed of opening a coffee house: I wanted to open a place to hang out and have meaningful conversations with a good cup of coffee. There’s a coffee shop in Saugatuck, MI - Uncommon Coffee Roasters. Me and my hubby would road trip there just to have a cup of coffee because the coffee was so good. I made a phone call to them, I don’t even remember making the phone call, but they told me they have a coffee distribution program and train people how to be a barista. For a while I kept thinking about it and how my town had no cute coffee place. I’d think “Why no coffee house here?” There was even this building I thought would be good for a café, but I let it go.
Then I walked into that building one day and the ice cream shop that used to be there had closed and was gone. I was told the owners were looking for a coffee house to fill their space. I jumped on it, said I was interested and called back to Uncommon Coffee in Saugatuck. The owner offered to help me get set up and be my distributor. I started doing all the research and things just kept falling into place. I had to figure out finances and construction of the space, which was a whole learning experience in and of itself. I had to hold my own and trust myself through the entire process. If I had to do it again I’d have a more structured plan to get my ducks in a row (like meeting with the village first, finding out what electricity the espresso machine needs, always getting 3 quotes from contractors, etc). But for this I had to figure it out on my own. So I just did it.
What are the biggest Challenges of your job?
I was in sales for 17 years … I’ve always been in sales, I never knew a thing about making espresso! I just knew I wanted a coffee shop. I had to learn everything from scratch.
What are the greatest blessings of your job?
People who come in are happy, mostly. They come in wanting coffee and I can fulfill that need. The conversations are a blessing. I meet really cool people.
What 3 characteristics do you have to possess or develop to do your job well?
1. Trust. Trust your inner guidance and be true to yourself. Trust your own intuition even if it seems like it's nuts. If something doesn’t feel right, and you don’t know what to do, step back and give it 24 hours, even if you’re under pressure. In 24 hours it will play out different. Be able to take space when needed.
3. Surrender. It’s a dance between surrender and assertiveness. You have to say what you want, but if it’s not playing out the way you think it should, be willing to step back and re-evaluate.
What are 3 things you’d tell someone on their journey to doing your job?
1. Trust that you’re getting the right information from your dreams. Believe that what you want is possible. Trust that your soul knows the right thing for you.
2. Do not doubt yourself along your path. Lean into the energy of what you want and things will start to snowball once you’re in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing for you.
3. Go and study. Get ahold of every resource, video … anything you can get your hands on to learn how to do what you want to do.
Good Beans Coffeehouse & Café
211 W Railroad Ave.
Bartlett, Il 60103