Four Years and Still Loving It

-A post from Carrie Neal, Booster Juice General Manager

In August 2006, Natalie Peace and I sat across from one another in a local coffee shop. I was there for a job interview and hoping that the quiet, young looking business owner I was about to deal with would be understanding of my requests.

You see, I was a mom who did not want to pay for daycare, and I wanted flexibility with my family’s schedule.  I’m not even sure that I should have been looking for a job, but I thought, “What do I have to lose? What’s the worst thing that could happen?” If they didn’t want to hire me, I would keep looking! Up to this point I had been a very happy stay at home mom but felt it was time to get back out in the work force and start contributing to the family holiday fund. Put some money away for a rainy day!

So, I was very upfront with Natalie and when I finished my long winded request list of: no working weekends, no working statuary holidays or school holidays and wanting to be off work by 2pm to pick my daughter up from school, Natalie smiled and said, “I like that you value time with your family. Balance in life is important to me.”

I remember thinking to myself, “Is she for real?” I had never had an employer who “valued family time” or thought “having balance” was important. In a standard interview your typical employer would have shaken my hand and explained that “only those short listed would be contacted”. We all know what that means…never to be heard from again!

Not Natalie! Our conversation continued for about a ½ hour with topics of health, exercise and family. She shared her story of losing a parent to cancer and wanting to have a business that dealt with health and well being. The one line that I will never forget and never realized would be such a profound moment was, “…but what is really important to me Carrie is that I am able to give back. Whether it is to my employees or my community, I don’t know, but I just want to make a difference!”

Well, what a difference Natalie has made!

In four years, I have worked my way from Crew Member to Supervisor to Manager and now, General Manager. A far cry from wanting a job that helped make the holiday fund a little fatter!

The reality is, I LOVE MY JOB! How many people can honestly say that? I wake up in the morning and I look forward to working with my crew and the managers. I enjoy being in the stores and interacting with the customers and being part of the bigger picture of giving back to the community. Whether it’s with a smile, kind words or a helping hand, I can’t wait to pitch in and make a difference!

Natalie has always taught us that there is more than one bottom line in business. Yes, money is the obvious one, but customers and contributions are the important ones! Creating a community that is welcoming and enjoyable to live in by giving back and providing the best customer service possible creates a business that can sustain itself and be proud say they serve Kamloops!

It is so rewarding to be part of a business that is able to offer the community an alternative to fast food as well as support so many sports teams and fundraising programs. In the past four years Natalie has built the Booster Juice brand into a trustworthy, reliable product using integrity and heart.

The one thing that keeps me at Booster Juice is Natalie’s heart! She takes every opportunity to find the good in people and understand their situation. She has never been a heavy handed boss, always gives plenty of chances to those who would not have lasted with a different employer. She always follows through with a commitment or promise and usually to a bigger extent than first discussed!

The old saying “Its too good to be true” does not work here! She is the real deal! She is not one bit selfish, always finding time for family and friends and encouraging the best in everyone. She is the first to encourage a crew member to go to University or take the job in the field they are truly interested in. She understands that her business may be losing an incredible employee, but what she understands even more is that she was able to be part of their growth!

Watching all of this unfold has been a gift for me. To be part of making a difference in someone’s life by just being the best boss I can be, that’s rewarding! There is no dollar value on that.

Now, don’t get me wrong…this is a business and yes, Natalie understands the importance of making money. All business owners do! However, she always wants to make sure that the outcome is a win – win! Everyone goes away happy. I can’t say that for a lot of business owners. Natalie never views anyone as competition. As long as they are bringing business to the area, we are all neighbors!

This summer, Natalie had a vision about Booster Juice being the best neighbor it can be! With my help and that of the store managers we brought to life “Act of Kindness” shifts. These shifts were for a crew member to come in and do nothing but make a difference in someone’s day. Can you imagine being part of something so monumental? It has been an amazing summer and I love it when my friends and family share their stories with me about Acts of Kindness they were on the receiving end of. Total strangers get excited when they hear I work at Booster Juice and immediately share their stories of giving or receiving an Act of Kindness! The great part about all of this…these conversations always end with “you must love working there!” You already know my answer!

Natalie has impacted my life with tremendous love and gratitude! The Acts of Kindness she has blessed me with are countless. She has always made me part of the business and it started when she thanked me in her acceptance speech for her Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007. I knew then, that the contributions I brought to Booster Juice were making a difference and that the quiet, young business owner I was working with definitely understood me!

 

One Response to Four Years and Still Loving It
  1. Lynn
    May 29, 2011 | 10:27 pm

    Hi Carrie,

    I just read your blog post and I congratualate you for your success at Booster Juice! I am intersted in working for one of the stores nearby and I would love to have any job/interview tips you can offer. I would appreciate it greatly!

    Thank you

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