I was born and raised in Jacksonville, but it wasn’t until I’d married my wife Morgan that I’d really gotten an appreciation for the city. I didn’t explore very often and mostly spent time with friends at my house or theirs. When Morgan and I got married in September of 2012, we moved to an area of Jacksonville that I’d never expected to live: San Marco. While we were on our honeymoon, Morgan was trying to decide what to do; I had just gotten a great job in an office that paid well enough for her to stay home and pursue her photography. She ended up deciding on writing a blog that was dedicated to Jacksonvillians and their pursuits called “Somewhere in the City.” This blog was the catalyst that brought me to Maple Street for the first time. She could probably recount the story better than me, but the gist is that the first restaurant post that she had was on Maple Street, and there she met Scott and Gus. Through some photography that she did for them, and through very frequent Saturday visits from myself to pick up food for the both of us, I got to know Gus and the menu. Well, really just the Five, Farmer and Reinhold. Over time, a fellow blogger and soon to be friend Amanda started working for Maple Street, and through some urging from her and Morgan I decided to approach Scott and Gus to ask them for information and potentially permission to join in their endeavors. Although the company I worked for was voted best medium sized company to work for in Jacksonville for 2 years running, I wasn’t completely fulfilled in what I did. After talking with Scott, and forgetting the incredibly important mission statement several times, I decided that I was going to take the plunge and change my career path. In the summer of 2014, I met Chelsea Harrelson, who was to be my manager at the third community store in Murray Hill. In the year that she let me serve under her, she taught me innumerable lessons that I still apply today. It was so much fun serving that community. Even though I had worked as a supervisor at Chickfil A in the past, it felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Operationally it was familiar, but our mission was so direct: Helping people, serving others and being a part of the community; was so radically different. Although it was my personal mission as well,which is what made choosing Maple Street that much easier, it felt odd to be encouraged to live that mission out by everyone that I worked with. I spent the better part of the next year learning the business model and flow, soaking in everything that I could from Chelsea, Scott and Gus. As the summer of 2015 approached I met a gentleman named Jimmy, who wanted to bring Maple Street to Tallahassee, FL. By this time there had been five community stores up and running,and he wanted to install the sixth near FSU’s campus. I offered myself up for tribute,and after many talks with Morgan and Scott and also everyone I trusted, we decided to leave my home town and family, and move to Tallahassee to become a Community Leader as well. At this time Morgan was 8 months pregnant. We arrived in Tallahassee in May, and the next two years were an absolute whirlwind.May 27th , 2015 FSU’s community store opened, July 2015 my daughter Summer was born, and then two years later Jimmy and I opened the second community store across town in Killearn. In that time, I’d met Marianne Sauls, who ended up being a gigantic influence and help to me for the majority of the two years I’d spent at the FSU store. There ended up being an opportunity in Greenville, SC not long after that,and I was reminded again of how mysteriously powerful the Lord works in my life.He sent me Andrew Ferguson, a man capable enough to learn how to work in and then run a restaurant in only 4 weeks. Morgan’s family lived in Greenville, and the opportunity to be closer to them was too good to pass up. Tara and Scott graciously granted my request, and we moved up and opened the third community store in Downtown Greenville.I did not deserve to have the opportunity to work in this family at Maple Street. I have no degree, and minimal work experience with not much diversity. I cannot express how grateful I am to have been trusted with so much in so little time.It is because of Maple that Morgan and I have had the opportunity to pursue foster care, to support individuals in our communities who are in need, for me to create a legacy for my children and wife, and to live out the mission that I believe Jesus set before us. It is extremely tiring, but I am stronger for it. I have learned so much in the four years that I have been a part of this family, and I am stoked to learn more in the future. My position is a manager; my posture is a servant, and my privilege is to be a leader.
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