It was love at first Five.
Seriously. I’d wanted to visit a Maple Street for a full year before I finally made the drive from St. Augustine to the original San Marco location after failing to stop in on a Sunday morning while in Jacksonville for the Florida v. Georgia game. I’m always someone who gets very overwhelmed by large menus so I might have panicked and ordered the first thing on the menu, but I really wasn’t disappointed by anything I had gotten; A Five and Hashups easily made for a solid breakfast especially since I wasn’t wrong that the Hashups would be the perfect option to share with Christian, my boyfriend.
While we were there, I had to ask when the St. Augustine store was going to open and I came to find out that it would open the following Tuesday – which was great news for me as I was a Senior at Flagler College and wasn’t going to be able to utilize the dining hall on campus over the winter break. A week later, I found myself getting a job offer from Brad, and with only one semester left in school and a passion for cooking – I didn’t think I had anything to lose by taking him up and joining his team.
I remember calling Christian after it had happened and we both were in disbelief. I’m usually a meticulously planned person so taking a job offer on a whim was oddly uncharacteristic, but since I’d been in four times that first week the store had been opened, I figured it was only a natural way to fuel my obsession with Maple Street. The plan was to work there while I finished up my Bachelor’s Degree in English and Secondary Education and then Christian and I would go wherever he could get a job and I would be able to find a teaching job.
Graduation came and Christian had gotten a job in Tallahassee. I’d really come to love Maple Street from the inside out since our guiding principles resonate with me on a personal level and I know better than to give up on a good thing. The kindness I’d been shown and the ways I had felt empowered by Brad to really just take initiative and grow as a person and a worker found me feeling very thankful that there was already a Maple Street opened in Tallahassee.
Michael luckily had room on his team for me and took me in where I got to work with Marianne and I was really challenged and pushed by both of them to develop myself as a leader. With Marianne moving upward into our Lead Mission Trainer role, I was lucky enough to rise into being Michael’s assistant after six months – and then six months after that I found myself taking over the FSU store when Michael moved to our Killearn location.
It was not easy and definitely had a learning curve to come into owning the store. I still find myself learning new things every day about management and leadership, and I constantly am discovering and experimenting with ways to challenge and push my team. It is really fun working in an environment that is centered on building up, supporting, and growing one another, and it’s rewarding when my team helps me grow as their leader.
Being a college-graduate who served as a Resident Advisor, I’m really appreciative that the community I serve is so close to Florida State University. It feeds my desire to work with young people and help them through challenges that they may face and I find myself referencing my classroom management techniques when I’m looking for ways to work with my team and find ways to motivate them to be the best that they can be. Even though I didn’t go into teaching I still get up early, I still find myself working outside of the ‘office’, I still motivate people to achieve their highest potential, and I find myself feeling far more rewarded than when I worked in the classroom through serving at Maple Street.
It was love at first Five and I tell that to everyone who comes in for their first time, even though I quickly discovered that the Squawking Goat is the best sandwich on the menu. I get to share that love with everyone and I look forward to serving so many people that come into my store as they either begin their collegiate careers, pass through on their way to Disney World, travel on business, or just want to come in and chat over a cup of coffee.
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